Fleetstreet is thrilled to offer this excerpt from The Sensitive Ones, by Heather Nardi.
Finding your voice
When we go against the social norm in anything we do for ourselves or our family, we are courageous. The courage to speak up, the courage to ask questions, and the courage to take a different path should be honored, not dismissed.
You might think you cannot change the world canvas, but the fact is, you can. I know this truth from personal experience.
Speaking up and telling your story as an empath
We can do this by speaking up and sharing our story – I hid my daughter’s mental illness in the beginning. I was concerned of what others would think and if she would be accepted. By not being open, I was telling Ellie I didn’t accept her, and I played into the stigma. When I shared our story openly with people in conversation, it was amazing how many others knew someone who was experiencing mental illness or had a child with mental illness. This led me to meet some amazing families with similar struggles, women I can call my friends who are also trying to make a difference in mental health.
Along the journey, I learned to speak up and share more. This took time and I started by sharing with safe family and friends. Expanding my voice to others in the arena of mental health, holistic care, and spirituality allowed me to embrace and trust my voice. I took courses in speaking on my topic, being focused on holistic care and mental health. I was once a young girl who was afraid to raise her hand in class because she did not want to be heard, and now I was speaking up and sharing my story. The story is more important than me and my fears of being seen.
Share your sensitive self and your perspective
Do not be afraid of having your voice heard or your words read. This shows there is a person behind the story, allowing for empathy. Share emotion. If you challenge someone’s emotional attachment to a belief, you can move their support toward your perspective. Introduce evidence of what has worked or not worked for your family. The nurse from Ellie’s doctor’s office knew I was a safe per- son to ask about her medication. I was open about our experience, which allowed for her to share. Being open is a kind of invitation to others. What you share about yourself should encourage others to come in and contact you. To involve themselves with you. Being open can be difficult in the beginning. It makes us feel vulnerable. But it also is important in terms of really letting others get to understand what we are experiencing, and our beliefs.
Author, speaker, coach and Empath Mama Heather Nardi dedicates her career to supporting highly sensitive and empath moms in living healthy, empowered lives. She draws from her extensive education as a holistic life coach and spiritual practitioner to create specialized tools and programs for sensitive mothers. Her writing has appeared in The Highly Sensitive Refuge, Thrive Global, Elephant Journal and Medium. You can follow Heather on Instagram @theempathmama and learn more about her and her work at empathmama.com.