Episode 9 | Self-care for Highly Sensitive People – Katie McDonald
Self-care can often fall to the bottom of our lists but for highly sensitive people self-care is vital to sustainable performance. There is often a resistance to self-care because some can interpret it as selfish… but it’s really just the opposite. We all are much better humans when we make self-care a priority. Here I’m speaking with Katie McDonald, self-care strategist and founder of b.nourished which offers “concierge coaching for high achievers who take care of business at the expense of taking care of themselves”.
B.nourished was born out of Katie McDonald’s own experience in trying to keep up with the growing demands of her corporate career. Katie found herself spiralling in the wrong direction and knew she was seriously at risk. She abandoned her C-Suite corporate job and stepped into self-compassion. She started applying her knowledge of self-care, alternative health and plant-based nutrition. For the last 10 years, Katie has helped countless numbers of people find their way to better self-care. With her brand of tough love, she has inspired, empowered and challenged her clients and audiences.
I agree with Katie about how important it is to reframe self-care. If it can be fully embraced we can stay on the path self-compassionate and impactful life. Enjoy our chat as Katie delivers up some thought balms.
I invite you to listen as we speak about:
00:08:18 Sensitivity as a superpower
00:10:00 How to leverage our sensitivity
00:12:04 How Katie committed to self-care
00:13:34 Our addiction to busyness
00:16:15 The challenge of the transition from work to home
00:18: 58 Self-care requires self-awareness
00:20:30 Curating your home for self-love and self-care
00:22:51 Liberating ourselves can come from being deliberate
00:26:51 Social media and how to show up with self-care
00:28:00 Trusting the resistance with social media
00:30:55 There is no “one way”
00:32:58 What’s wrapped up in gender and the ability to express
00:34:56 Find the voice that says “I matter”
00:37:42 Advocating for self-care
00:32:00 “Love yourself” what does that mean?
00:41:55 Seek the soothing of self
The Light Workers Manefesto Karen Walrond
This podcast is hosted by Clare Kumar. As a productivity catalyst, highly sensitive executive coach, and speaker, Clare cultivates sustainable performance in busy professionals so they can keep making rich contributions in all areas of life and achieve greater fulfillment. She inspires leaders, professionals, employees, and entrepreneurs to respect humanity and boost performance through marrying productivity and pleasure. After all, why shouldn’t you have fun while getting things done? If you're a visual learner, we’ve crafted a version for YouTube as well.
Ready to learn more, or want to find out more about coaching with Clare or hiring her for your next engaging event? Contact Clare here.
Clare invites you to leave a review and a five-star rating wherever you listen to this podcast! Don't forget to tell your friends to listen as well.
Want to learn more about Clare and/or her guests? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a happy space.
Song Credit: Cali by Wataboi from Pixabay
Production: Judith George: To Be Reel
Podcast Art Design: Sharoline Galva
Episode 9: Self-care Strategies for Highly Sensitive People
You're listening to episode nine of the happy space podcast. We're exploring self-care strategies for the highly sensitive person with Katie McDonald.
Clare Kumar: In giving talks about sustainable performance and coaching. So many hardworking people over the years, I've really come to understand it's a real struggle and challenge for a lot of people to really be able to put self care first. There's a lot of resistance to that and it's, it's a profound topic. So it's, it's, it's also easy to understand.
Highly sensitive people filled with empathy are really driven to take care of others. And so it can feel quite natural to say, oh, I'll look after everybody else. And put myself further down the list. I'm currently reading a book, which, which also tackles this topic for anyone that's interested in activism.
It's by Karen Walrand and it's called the Light Makers Manifesto. I'm hoping one day Karen will join me on the show, but she makes the point that. If an activist is going to sustain their performance. They really have to make honoring self a priority to be able to keep showing up and doing that great work.
So I know it took me some time to realize this. It wasn't until 2016, where I really kind of came to terms with a fuller understanding of what self-care looks like. I will say that some of my clients have joked that it's, they call it self Clare now, instead of self-care, which kind of cracked me up one day, that just kind of bubbled into conversation, but whatever worked for you to keep.
The notion and the principle that taking care of yourself is a priority. However you keep that close to heart is, is my wish for you to find what that is so you can hold onto it. And that's really what this podcast is about this episode. Like I said, it took me some time to get to it and it wasn't really until 2016 where my kid's dad was laid off.
And so he was able to be really more engaged and hands on and taking care of the kids. And I was doing finishing my executive coach training and decided to go down to Panama to work. I was in school about 25 hours a, a week of school, but also I thought I have a chance here with no other demands than school, to learn more about what my mind, body spirit needs.
And so I dove into some measuring, if you will. Assessing what was going on. And I paid attention to what I drank, what I ate, how much I moved, how much social interaction I had. And given that I didn't know anyone there that took some figuring out, but the most profound thing I paid attention to was sleep.
And I figured out how much sleep I need to feel rested within a 24 hour day. And. It was tuning into the feeling I had of doing all these things that were nourishing and nurturing to myself and how profound the effect was on my sense of energy, clarity of thought, overall wellbeing, happiness. If you will pure contentment, there was so highly correlated.
I thought this. Some of these things have to now become non-negotiables in the way I live. And, you know, I, I was exploring this topic further. Um, some of you may notice, know that I hosted a podcast before starting this one and, and still am finishing a few episodes with NAPO’s podcast standout and NAPO is the National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals.
And it's through that association that I met our guest for today, who is Katie McDonald. And she is. Self care strategist. Now I met her through NAPO and fell in love with her language. It's a very loving language. In fact that she uses to describe. How she's ended up believing that self-care is so powerfully important.
And she embodies that in her work with her clients as well. She's the owner of a company called b nourished. The letter “B” nourished and her design aesthetic is exquisite. 10 years ago, she was really struggling to manage the demands of her corporate career. And she was spiraling in the wrong direction down mentally and physically, she was depressed and depleted and she, she will say she was seriously at risk.
And so she had no choice but to decide, you know, what, I need to transform the way I'm living and come to terms with a new mind, body relationship and level of respect. And she's fully stepped into that. Now she left her corporate job. She says she abandoned her C Suite corporate job. And she's really living a life now of really stepping into knowing what she needs and making sure she has it.
She provides for herself. It's in that fear. Self-compassion. Kristen Neff talks about it's protecting it's that protector energy she's got it. She leads with tough love. She describes her way of working with clients. Tough love to inspire, empower, and challenge audiences. She speaks on stages as well, like I do.
And so this is wait till you meet Katie. This is why we get along. I hope you'll really enjoy this conversation. Stay tuned for. Just delighting in Katie's loving language and also stay tuned to why this is so important and, and a reframing of self care as to, to something that you will be excited to adopt.
And also listen in for the times of the day where it's more important than ever to pay attention to how we take care of ourselves. Enjoy.
Clare Kumar: Katie, I'm so thrilled to have you and to dive into a discussion with a self-care strategist on a topic that's really important, especially for highly sensitive people. And I thought first off, we might talk about how it is that you view sensitivity as a fellow HSP.
Katie MacDonald: Ah, what a great question. I'm so glad to be back with you.
So, I think a sensitivity as part of my journey has become a superpower, but it really was an obstacle. I was like so many of us, told I was too sensitive all the time in a world that is largely very insensitive. And, I was also raised in a culture where needs were inconvenient. So, I think sensitivity really requires us. It's an invitation to get to know ourselves and to understand and respect what our needs are. To even ask the question, “What do I need?”, and then having enough courage to actually honor that need that is likely gonna inconvenience someone else. It's definitely often going to inconvenience you in some ways. So let's say for an example, “What do I need?” It's like, “Oh I need a nap.” Well that may not be a convenient answer and it might interrupt other people's plans. And selfcare requires us to tolerate inconveniencing others in service to ourselves. And I think that's one of the greatest gifts of the sensitivity, which is that we learn who we are, what we need and then we actually show up for ourselves the way we are so ready to show up for everyone else.
Clare Kumar: So, I love that and I get that in terms of self-awareness, but as highly empathetic people, we're also so wrapped up in the needs of others that I find a lot of people. And I find that in my own practice is that there's a lot of people who are like, “Oh, but I just need to do, I need to make the kids lunches before I go to bed, I need to do this.” They put themselves still at the bottom. So you'll have this awareness, but still sometimes an inability to act on it, to really step into that self-care moment.
Katie MacDonald: Absolutely. So the way that we use that is we leverage our sensitivity. Right? So, knowing that we are super vigilant and conscientious about other people's needs, we tell ourselves, in order to be of service to them, I must take care of myself, I must take this nap, I must get the sleep I need, I must feed myself in a way, I must tend to my needs and, we start leveraging our sensitivity or our proclivity to overgive, for over-functioning for everyone else and underperforming for ourselves because we make the very clear proven, demonstrated link between our wellbeing and our ability to be of service. And that's how we circumvent our tendency to neglect ourselves.
Clare Kumar: Yeah. So there's a little personal inventorying to do, right? So mining your experience for the last time you lost it and maybe weren't your best gracious self and sort of deconstructing what led to that, what might have prevented it and how can you architect it differently going forward?
Katie MacDonald: Well, absolutely. And, the thing is when we're highly sensitive, we have been told we have too many needs, that we are too sensitive, that we're broken, that we are too much. So it's very hard when we've had decades of that messaging to actually tell ourselves I am enough. That I am worthy of my own attention. That my needs are inviting me to go inward, to show respect for myself in a way that the world hasn't really mirrored back often for us. So it can be a beautiful opportunity to go inward in a way that people who don't have that level of sensitivity are never called.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, exactly. Now tell me a little bit, connect this to your own journey and how you came to really commit to self-care. Can you share a little bit about that?
Katie MacDonald: Sure, so I, as a kid, was super sensitive, paid attention, I was always observing dynamics and, very sensitive to tactile, so I had a baby blanket till the end. Actually, I still sleep with my baby blanket, I'm gonna tell you right now.
Clare Kumar: I still have my bear from when I was 17 and I went away to school. I still like every nap, every night.
Katie MacDonald: It's tactile, you know, I was very aware of my senses, couldn't tolerate strong senses, couldn't you know strong smells, anything. So I knew, I felt different because the world felt rough and I needed it to be softer. And I didn't feel empowered as a child. I didn't know how to do that. I just knew I was always uncomfortable. And, then as I got so, and the message was too, that needs are inconveniences that, you know, I was the baby of four and it's just like, come on, everybody just you know, heard mindset, everybody go in this direction and, and I always felt off. I always felt unseen. And then I carried that energy into my own adulthood. I didn't see myself. I saw myself as inconvenient. I saw my needs as just weakness. And so I did everything that I could to divert my attention from my own needs.
And I did it primarily through an addiction to busyness. Absolutely, earning my place in the world. And trying to make me mold to the world instead of the world mold to me. And that's a shift I've made. I had to get sick. I got really sick from the disease of doing and had to, I was forced. And I think often it does take a crisis for us to wake up and step up and understand once and for all, like, “What does it take for me to be thriving?” I know how to strive and I certainly know how to survive, but the thrive piece requires a deep respect and appreciation for who we are. And, I had to reframe, I'm not broken, there's nothing wrong with me. And that is a piece that took a long time. and often I'll bump up against it like a bruise.
Clare Kumar: Okay, there's so much in what you just said there. I wanna come back to the bump up against it piece. But I'm thinking back to your family of four children. And you felt like the world was very rough and you needed it to be softer. With your siblings and your parents, just curious, whether were you the only one that you thought was sensitive? Cause it often is genetic-wiring. What do you think was, do you think anybody else got you and was just in denial of it? Or how did that play out in your family?
Katie MacDonald: I don't think anyone really, you know, got themselves. I mean, I wasn't raised in a family that valued a lot of self-reflection, we were doers, you know, you just do. And I think I watched my father who's incredibly accomplished. He owned his own company, ran a hospital system, you know, all of this and he was a quiet man, totally an introvert, but the world saw him as an extrovert. He challenged himself to become an extrovert so that he could navigate in the world and get what he wanted.And in his generation being an introvert would not get you what you wanted. If you wanted to achieve professionally, you had to put on the mask/the suit. Yeah, all of it. And I watched that discrepancy play out over and over again, and, I'd see him in these public ways and in these parties and he was the, you know, the center of the room. And, um, and then at home I would see him sitting on the porch, smoking his cigar, having his drink, watching him transition. And, it's fascinating cause in my concierge coaching practice, I see the biggest challenges my clients have in terms of the flow of their day is the transition from work to home, even if they're working from home. And that's when we drink, that's when we eat. That's when we do all sorts of things to soothe ourselves, as we transition out into another space
Clare Kumar: Oh my gosh. Yeah, I mean, I saw that with my kids being in daycare and the transitions were the toughest part. And one of my children was described as being silly and sensitive at three years old and I thought, okay. That probably was the first I heard the words sensitive being applied to anyone in my family. So I thought, ahhh! and it stuck with me and I thought that's a very apt description.
And so yeah, interesting. right? Because there is, and it's very prevalent that we do mask to fit in. And, you know, within the HSP community, we have 70% introverted, 30% extroverted and different experiences based on that. Because if you're extroverted, you wanna go out and be in the center of the room and then boy, do you need to come home and crash and just like hide away.
That's certainly what I feel is like, yeah, bring me to a good party, but, oh where's the quiet room? Where's the quiet] room so I can go and restore. Right. So, yeah interesting. And then you said, now that you bump up, you bruise, you get bruise and you bump up against this, knowledge or certainty that self-care needs to be an anchor. Tell me a little bit more about what happens now and how that translates into what our listeners can think about in terms of their relationship to self-care.
Katie MacDonald: Yeah. I mean, the relationships with self-care is the relationships we have with ourselves and it really is till death do us part, it is the one relationship that will endure our entire lives. And yet it's the one that we tend to neglect and take for granted and dismiss. And, that's why I think the sensitivity piece is beautiful because it draws us into this relationship with ourselves. It challenges us to refine it to, tend to it in a way that we don't want to, that's not expected and celebrated in our culture. But that we really are called to because otherwise it's like wearing, you know, it's like being covered in poison ivy, right? We have to learn how to befriend ourselves in a way that we're not taught. And, so I think that's the biggest, it self-care requires self-awareness, right. There's no question. And that's not something that people spend a lot of time on. As we talked about, we are more interested in the postured, posed lives of people and strangers on social media, then we are curious about ourselves, our drives, our needs. And then when we do articulate those needs, we often dismiss them, call ourselves high maintenance, shame ourselves. Like what's the matter with me? I don't see other people having these kind of accelerated, exaggerated needs. There must be something wrong with me.
Clare Kumar: Well, it's certainly tiring. I went out on the weekend to two different restaurants, one in the evening and one in the morning and they were both so very, very loud. And sometimes I feel it too. Oh, I just wish it didn't get to me so much. I wish I could just be, oh, let's do whatever, let's sit wherever. It's like yeah, but you know what? You've gotta take care of yourself. And it's an act of self-love to step into that design place of where you curate your space and, for anybody who's watching YouTube right now, check out Katie's space. This is Katie's office. We're looking at and for listeners who aren't looking at it, I'll just describe it. This is an inside corner of a building with brick walls and beautiful windows. And there's white furniture background, pops of color with flowers in the background. I know one's a peony. And there's, you know, this idea of curating your space to promote self-care and self-love. You've got such a design-sense and design-savvy in your marketing materials and your website in the way you use language and the way you present. Can you talk a little bit about the effort that goes into how you sculpt your interactions and your presence and how sensitivity has played a part in that?
Katie MacDonald: I love the way you phrase that. When I got stressed, when the world felt too much, when I felt/feel overwhelmed, I organized a drawer. I mean, I know you understand this, right?
Clare Kumar: I do.
Katie MacDonald: I organize a drawer because I didn't know how to calm the chaos outside myself. And I had to learn how to calm the chaos within me. And so the way that I did that was through my space, through my tactile sensory experience. So through candles, through essential oils through, I mean, really my entire career is a result of my trying to learn how to soothe myself. I didn't know how to soothe myself. We don't know how to soothe ourselves. We know how to numb ourselves, but that's very different. Soothing ourselves is a very different thing. And what I found is that if I could soothe my environment, the likelihood that I could soothe myself was far greater, that I could exhale when there wasn't clutter. I could exhale when there was space for me. I think that's what it is. I think when I have a home that’s simple, a space that is clean and minimalist, I feel like there's room for me in a way that I didn't feel. And what I observe in my clients is, these are high achievers. They're taking care of business at the expense of taking care of themselves. And their calendar does not allow for them. Their lives do not allow for them. There's no room for them. And so I keep bringing them back to their environment to ask them to curate, to ask them to be discerning, to be intentional and deliberate because the word liberate is in the word deliberate.
Clare Kumar: Oh, that's good.
Katie MacDonald: Right? Liberate set free. Yes. So when we do that in our space, when we do that in our calendar, when we do that in our wardrobes, in our kitchens, we're doing that for our mind and we're doing that for our souls. We're making room for ourselves.
Clare Kumar: and in the calendar too. We need, you know, we need breath in our spaces. We need it in our calendars too. I love that liberate is in deliberate. I'm like, oh, yeah. It's really profound to make that connection. And yet, so many people struggle with it. And I think there's an element of, there's a couple of pieces that I like to try and understand, a better part is cultural pressure to be doing. We talk about hustle and grit and we don't know when to quit. Right. We just keep striving. We celebrate striving, we celebrate hunger and pushing for more. We don't celebrate and talk up rest at work. I talk about this in my workshops. I'm like, so as a leader, how about you talk about the last time you had a great afternoon nap before a meeting?
Like, have you ever heard anybody say “Oh, I'm really pumped up now cause I just had a power nap.” Have you ever, right? So, it's just this opportunity that I think exists. So we've got cultural pressure, but we also have our own inner drive that you were talking about, right? And highly sensitive people have this inner drive and conscientiousness, this tendency sometimes towards perfectionism and deep-thinking over-processing. Any part of your journey? Is there any part of your journey that you'd like to share about how you might have dealt with that part of things that's within your control? And I think a lot of it is really getting comfortable with FOMO and being able to let go, and I think you've done something. I don't know if it's in the last year or so with respect to social media and just making a decision for how you show up. So maybe, in that big, very rambly question, can you give us something to share how you've approached this?
Katie MacDonald: Yeah, so the social media piece I'll start with is I give my clients homework in their journey with me. And, every client is asked to get off social media for a two-week window. And,what I do is I simply provide homework, suggestions, strategies, tools, and say “experiment for the next two weeks between this appointment and the next. What do you notice about yourself? How clear is your thinking? How is your digestion? How is your energy levels? How are you sleeping?” I ask them to go inward right? in the age of a pandemic, we couldn't go outward. And so many of us avoided going inward. We numbed ourselves with alcohol, and TV and food. But this was an opportunity to go inward. And so when my clients study them, so I say “Don't worry two weeks from now. You'll get it back. But you might change the way you do it, you're the expert on you”. And that's another piece that we forget. We forfeit our power away all the time cause we're told that we're not enough. We're told that there's something fundamentally wrong with us. But when I say to you “For the next two weeks, I want you to get off social media. And I want you to ask yourself, do you like this version of you better?” and then, what I found without 100%, I mean, and I've been doing this for 13 years, every single person reports being happier, they haven't fallen prey to comparisonitis. Right. Where we're comparing our messy insides that we know so well with everybody else's perfectly packaged outside. When we go off social media, we shut that down and we actually become curious about our own lives. And, so what I discovered without fail is that everyone is happier. Some people stay off social media, although they often drift back or we say, “Okay, to what degree do you want this in your life?” And we decide.
Clare Kumar: Back as the boss, yes. And deliberate to bring that word back. Yes. Or intentional, right? About the use.
Katie MacDonald: It makes the world of difference. And, then I discovered I don't like it at all. I don't feel good when I'm on it. I feel inadequate when I'm on it. I feel like I have to continually strive more, put that next award up, this next meeting and, it was a positive, I mean, people are, oh, you're everywhere. And then I realized, I don't want to communicate that I'm everywhere. I have to walk my talk. I need to teach that the place I am in, is inhabiting my own life and not the life that they can observe on social media. So I went off last July and it was great. And I was down to like five minutes a day, but my head was still there. My head was, I even paid somebody to take my content and push it forward and I resented it and I trusted the resentment. I trusted the resistance and said, this I'm gonna honor this. This is legitimate. This is my soul saying, I don't want this. This is not the elevated state.
Clare Kumar: Tell me what you were resenting in that moment?
Katie MacDonald: Well, it was resenting that no matter what I did little old me peddling my hardest would not get the return on investment that I did from a financial standpoint. There's little me compared to, you know that piece. And I was resentful that society tells us we have to, that in order to exist, we have to exist online and I resented that. I don't like being told how I have to inhabit the world. So I decided I'm going off till the end of the year and I'll decide again, and that's something I do with my clients all the time. Like we're gonna pick a date and then we're gonna renegotiate our relationship with whatever it might be: alcohol, it might be sugar, it might be you know some external commitment and then we're gonna decide again. So I gave myself till December and I was like, my life is better, it is better. And I'm willing to take a professional hit if that's what I take, I have not. My business is soaring, so I dismantled that myth too.
Clare Kumar: Which is interesting, right? Because then messages tell us that we need to be everywhere and we need to take one piece of content and disperse it in 75 ways. Well, right? It's quite exhausting, I think. But I liked your point about, you know, some of the things we've chosen to do; organize our space, better design or arrange something, curate. It's an act of self soothing when what's socially acceptable is so many forms of numbing or jacking up and then numbing. So caffeine, sugar and then alcohol and no wonder we're in cycles of not sleeping well and cortisol building, you know, at chronic levels, it's like we are in a system. If we have systems thinking here, we're in a system that is really counterproductive, giving us cues that we really need to build our own, we need to build our own playbook.
Katie MacDonald: Mm-hmm yes, absolutely. I mean, I think one of the earlier points that we said is, you know, good girls in particular and good boys are taught to sacrifice themselves in service to what we perceive as the greater good, which is the social norm and, sensitivity and self-care require us to say, “I need the world to adapt to me”, in a way that I think we all need to advocate for ourselves. All of us need to advocate and to say that, you know, one way isn't the way and then to learn it, to do it. What I notice is when people start getting/finding the words to articulate their needs and then they bring it to the world, they bring it with aggression and rage and like there's a battle. And then the next evolution is to say, there is no battle. That battle is within themselves saying “I'm not sure I feel confident enough advocating for my needs, so I see the enemy outside me.” Then the next evolution is to simply say, at a restaurant, say, “Excuse me, would you mind turning that music down? You know, may I have a different, you know, may I have another napkin?” or whatever it's gonna take for us to be comfortable, because our needs are legitimate and we have to stop framing them as high maintenance.
Clare Kumar: And I think you're right. This is something I work on with clients too, is on perfecting the language and practicing it, right? Cause the first time it comes out, it might not be a winning formula. I have so many stories on that. But we can play and if we have, you know, one of the greatest gifts from the coaching-training I went through was looking at life as a series of experiments, right? Isn't it great, we get to try again. because when things don't work out, it's like, okay, but the commitment to self-advocating with grace.
And, you know, there's so much, I wonder if you've experienced this too. There's so much resistance to a woman speaking her mind clearly, and assertively that it becomes interpreted as aggressive, even if it's just highly clear. Right. You're being hysterical. Why are we using the foundation of Hyster, you know, feminine body-parts to be, you know, the antecedent to hysteria. I mean, it's, it's, there's a lot wrapped up in gender and the ability to express. So, while men and women are both sensitive. I think it's difficult for probably both, for men who are sensitive to be able to express their sensitivity clearly and then for women to be expected to express clearly. It's not even, it's just really? Do you really need to claim your space? “Oh yes, darling, I do.”
I remember being in an elevator where somebody, you know, there's okay. Don't if you're listening to this, don't misappropriate this information, okay? In elevators at the very top, there's a toggle switch. And if you, being short like me, jump up and hit it, it will actually reverse the direction of the elevator. So people in high rises who are in the know and who are not thoughtful about their other residents will flip that and claim the elevator and take it whatever direction they want. So they wanna go down, but they press up and they take that elevator and they flick it and that says, “Screw you” to anybody that was above them, right? So this one fellow in the elevator does that. And I say, “You know, that was a very entitled move”. And he looked at me, “Well don't get hysterical”. And I said, “No, I was just stating a fact that that's not thinking about anybody else, but you” and he thought about it. We had a few floors to ride together and he thanked me on the way out of the elevator. But it was sort of standing and saying, “No, I'm gonna make an observation here and hopefully invite some reflection.” And, that one went well, there are other ones that have not gone well, but that one went well and it's like, you know, so there were, you know, it's interesting because yeah, as sensitive people, we need to find the voice to say, “I matter”, I actually wanna make t-shirts with, I matter on it. And at the same time, I am so aware that other people really think they matter a whole lot, enough to disturb everyone else.
Katie MacDonald: Everyone disproportionately you mean?
Clare Kumar: Yes. Well, the jet skiers that one person's joy is in fact creating noise for 30,000 people and, the modified cars and the amount of a sensory assault that we have because of you know, the people that think they are quite deserving to make their noise and take their space and so on. So there's this conundrum. And, one of the things I'm looking at with the happy space movement, and really my big goal is to, like you, see this empowerment, especially of sensitive people, because I think our gifts are so powerful, but to invite that self-expression and then to go further and, and be these activators and people acting in allyship for all the sensitive-souls out there that we can go and we can try and influence the kind of world that we're actually living in. That's like, that's the big call to action here.
Katie MacDonald: And well, that's our responsibility, right? Our responsibility is to advocate for our needs and in doing so we grant permission that we all had and didn't know. In order to do the same for the people that are standing in the sidelines, watching and wondering, where's my place.
We need to be the ones, the courageous ones, that advocate for our needs in a respectful way. And, you know and be discerning about where we allow ourselves to be. That we seek out supportive environments. We seek out supportive people. I just went to this festival and I was very excited. We're living in our new city, in Providence, Rhode Island and this massive festival. And I was like, “Oh, it's so exciting”. And we walk a few blocks. And there were thousands of people, 30 bands playing. Like it was incredible people dancing in the street, food trucks everywhere. And I just looked at my husband and I said, “I really wish I was someone who could enjoy this, but I simply don't.” And he is like, “Let's go.” and thankfully he is of the same mindset, but I was glad I saw it and then I said, “This isn't for me”. And I was happy that other people were having fun. I had this moment of like, I wish I could be that person dancing in the middle of the street. And then I like go and said, “You know, it's not who I am. And I like who I am, I really like who I am.”
And so I owe it to myself, just that we owe it to all of us, to understand who we are and then to advocate for ourselves once we understand what those needs are, to show respect, instead of diluting them to actually create opportunities for us to be successful, because the fact is the world needs us at our best. We have to suit up now. And for sensitive people suiting up doesn't mean going into battle, suiting up means asking ourselves, “What do I need?”, honoring that answer and then acting on it in a way that helps other people remember that they too have a space in the world where they need to express their need and create space in their life to do that.
Clare Kumar: Beautiful words to close out our conversation. I love that you said “This is not who I am and I like who I am.“ Right, and what you've just done is light a spark I'm hoping in our listeners to really stand there with you in self-appreciation, self-love, and a beautiful, graceful way of saying what you need. Right, and you took it further and you said “In a way that really honors the space that we all deserve.” Yeah, Katie, is there anything else that you'd like to add? Because I think that was gorgeous. And, you just bring to life, deep self-respect and self-respect for those around you.
And, I think, that's gorgeous. Is there anything else you'd like to say before we close?
Katie MacDonald: I would like to say Don't wait until you feel worthy because that might take a while. So act, act first, right? Behave, believe, become, right?
Clare Kumar: Say that one more time.
Katie MacDonald: Don't wait until you feel worthy. Because that may take a while, right? I mean, I spent years thinking like everywhere I'd go, therapist to therapist, like, “Oh, you've gotta love yourself.” Thank you very much, what the heck does that even mean? And I use more colorful language than that. Like if I heard that again, I mean, what does that mean? Well, you know what, we act our way into it and the way that we love ourselves is that we understand what our needs are and that we create enough space in our lives to actually bring those to life, to honor them, to make room for them. And so,then all of a sudden, we actually can say something like, “And I like who I am.” And instead of making it an outside job, a proclamation, it's these little tiny acts that we tend to dismiss that tell us that I'm worthy of having a space in this world. And I have needs that might be different than yours and mine are no less legitimate. And I'm here to set everyone else free, the ones that don't know, they also have the choice and the duty.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, so the next time that something happens and our listeners come into some kind of resistance or struggle, there's an opportunity in that moment to know that you're worthy, to step into that and consider what do you need in that moment? Right? Just take a pause and figure out what, what will help you be more comfortable? Is it leaving that space? Is it resting? Is it having something to eat? Is it, you know, putting your hands over your ears? or putting sunglasses on in my two bright elevators? What is it that you need? And, can you ask for it?
Katie MacDonald: And don't debate it, don't judge it. If you could not judge it and just trust it, like I clearly have a need and I'm not going to label it in anything other than a legitimate need. And I'm not gonna question the what I'm simply gonna figure out the how.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, go to it. Go more quickly to the action that's going to soothe you. Exactly. Seek that soothing. I would say “Seek that soothing” is maybe the big call to action. What would you do? And one of the things I've done when coaching clients is, and coaching myself, think of myself as three years old and bring my three year old self through what would I do to take care of little Clare? What would I do? Right? And so sometimes we dismiss our grown up selves, but we would never dismiss a three year old.
Katie MacDonald: Or our dog, like bring a dog to a fair, you'd bring water. If it got too loud, you'd remove the dog like you would do. You probably wouldn't bring the dog to the fair in the first place.
Clare Kumar: Right? Yeah, my dog was a miniature dachshund and it would get crushed. We like, no. You'd have to bring it in a carrier. You know, it's just not gonna be good. Oh my gosh, Katie.
Katie MacDonald: And you might get crushed too and that's the piece. Right? So yeah.
Clare Kumar: Well, that's it? Yeah. The commitment to self soothing, and standing in the assertion that you deserve a space in this world, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful messages for our highly sensitive friends.
So listeners out there, if this resonated with you, please reach out. Now Katie's not gonna see it on social media, but we will be putting it on social media. And if you'd like to share it as well, because this is such a beautiful conversation that I think a lot of people need to hear, please feel free to share and get back to me.
You can find Katie, we'll put in the show notes. Her company is B.Nourished. And so we'll put in the show notes, how you can find Katie as well. And, let us know what you thought. And if you are inspired to stand in that place of seeking your soothing out there and asking for what you need.
All right. Thank you so much, Katie. It was wonderful to be with you. I'm gonna close this off now and just wish you an amazing rest of your day.
Katie MacDonald: Thank you, Clare.