Monday, April 14, 2014

Being Highly Sensitive is BAD for Business

I have been hiding from this blog.  I have been scared to share this because I wanted and wished for so much more than has been happening lately.  I know with my past personal focus and great hope, I found Crush.  Now, I have to work on all of the other areas of my life that require deep concentration.   

I am horrible at transitioning and I am still processing a bunch of change.  Lately, I have been enjoying my time here in Charleston. But, do I love it?  I actually don’t.  I like it very much, but I am excited about moving to a smaller place where I can hopefully feel a bit more a part of things.  My feelings about Charleston have been hard for me to accept and it has been a bit of a let down. Embracing the reality of life versus what I imagined it would be is a tough lesson for me to muddle through.   I take everything hard and extra personally.  I am over feeling attacked and like a victim at every turn. 

I struggle with being happy.  I don’t always feel good about myself.  Recently, I have accepted that I am highly sensitive.  It is just the essence of who I am.  I don’t see the world the same way most people do and I am trying to use my fragility as a tool to help me be a better person.  I have always reasoned that I have an issue with being too sensitive. It wasn’t until I ventured into the raging waters of owning my own business (and broke up with Awful and then had a breakdown) that I truly accepted how thin my skin is.  This is an area that has been holding me back my entire life and I am sick of not being able to be a present and active part of this world because I am so afraid of not being liked.

As a wedding planner, one of the main things I have to face is blame. Clients want to blame vendors, vendors want to blame clients, brides/grooms want to blame their in-laws and in-laws want to blame their child for putting them in a situation that they often would like to stay out of.  The cycle of blame continues through families like a raging forest fire until it gets to me.  When all of the blame has been shifted and allocated and there is still a bit left, it becomes my problem.   I once got blamed for the City of Chicago doing construction five blocks away from a host hotel.  The client thought I should have told them that there was construction “in the area” because they wanted to take their families on a walk and the streets “didn’t look nice.”  Because of the construction, they threatened not to pay me.  This shit is real.

I get exhausted all over again just thinking about how I once let myself be roped into madness.  As a way to appease the crazy, I almost always bended over backwards and did not keep my limits.  I wasted thousands (like $20,000 at my last accurate count, thank you taxes) of dollars paying for blame (mostly created by clients) that I didn’t create. This included such shenanigans as clients contracting vendors independently of me (like finding the vendor themselves and wanting to use this person/company, often because of a low price) and paying a deposit directly to the vendors and then hating the initial product (photography and hair and makeup often come to mind) and looking at me to fix it.  Hard to admit, but sometimes the vendors wouldn’t return the money and I would pay the client out of my own pocket to look like the client got their way.  I just wanted my clients happy and I sometimes needed peace.  There often wasn’t enough time in my day to debate $500.00 relentlessly and listen to empty threats from both parties, so I paid it to shut everyone up. I created little monsters by not sharing reality.  I made my clients think the impossible was possible.  I just didn’t have the balls to confront things head on when they were small and then I let the avalanche of missteps bury me whole.  I would grow resentful of clients I felt taken advantage of and it showed.  When I got wind of bad client practices (they exist just like how bad business owner practices do, it is all a 2 way street) I didn’t want to call the client and have the tough conversation of ending our contract and parting ways.  I waited for them to call me out on something and then I folded time and again.  I people pleased my way back in, even when I wanted out. The few epic clients disasters that happened to me….often I had a hand in creating because I didn't cut the cord when the cray first came into light.  Where was my common sense?  My pride?  My integrity?  My ability to stick up for what is right and just and sane?

This has been super hard for me to come to terms with and it was a terrible and maddening way to do business.  I WAS NOT THINKING CLEARLY OBVIOUSLY.  Please know that I have changed every single detail in the way I now do business and I updated it all: business plan, contracts and most importantly how I charge and collect payment.   I realize that creating limits brings respect.  I have to take my business seriously and practice a strict standard of practices without exceptions or it will never work. 

Here I am complaining about Charleston, my sensitivity and my business.  What do they all have in common?  I feel like a failure.  I feel like I don’t have what it takes to be the person I should be.  I live in fear of the few people I should have never gotten involved with, including Awful.  I am sick of hiding out, but I am also terrified to put myself out there again.

I guess I wanted to tell you how AMAZING life is here in Charleston.  How I am popular, thin and wanted.  How getting a job has been easy.  Aside from my incredible relationship with my man, things here haven’t been a cakewalk.  I have few friends and all of the “let’s get togethers” never turn into anything more than unanswered emails and texts.  I feel like a huge outsider.  Job rejection is my norm.  I have lost over 20 pounds, but I still struggle with binging (even if I don’t do it much anymore, the compulsion to do it is a daily battle) and I still can’t get into my pre-Awful clothes although I am getting closer. I am dragging my feet to get back to planning because I am scared, even though I know I am good at it.  Even though I know that the mistakes I made, I mostly brought on to myself for not being stronger. I give too many people too much power over me.  I agree to costly things just to feel accepted and wanted and don’t even realize I am being used, until it has already happened.  I did this again only a few months ago and it was a costly and annoying mistake.  I vowed to myself that this was the LAST time.  I take a lot more time than most to process important decisions and if I feel pressure, it is because I am being pressured.  I should always trust my instincts. 

I WILL learn to deal with the sensitivity.  I have dealt with so many other struggles these last few years: my honesty, my happiness, my food addiction, emotional abuse and being true to myself.  Putting yourself back together isn’t instant.  I want to live my life on a deeper level than most and I am learning that I hold myself to a different standard, too.  All part of the sensitivity cycle.

I thought that everything would be perfect when I met the man for me, just like how I used to think that being thin was the answer to all of my problems.   Life is so much more than a perfect engagement ring (I LOVE mine, but I would have been fine without it) and single digit clothing.   I guess that when you finally find the prince you have always been searching for that you forget that life isn’t really all a fairy-tale.  Some things are harder than others.

Everything is not okay and that is okay.  No one is judging me. Are they?  No one thinks about me as much as I imagine they do.  I know this.  I want to find the balance between love, happiness, personal fulfillment and honesty.  I need to change a bit more to get there and I don’t know how exactly.  But, let’s start with really sharing my life again, all of the good and all of the bad.

Here goes…..


  1. The part that really stood out to me was "I thought that everything would be perfect when I met the man for me, just like how I used to think that being thin was the answer to all of my problems."

    When people say that happiness comes from within, they are not bullsh*tting. Even though I used to think that. I used to think if I got into the best school, got the best grades, lost weight, found the 'right' job, got married, etc, I'd be happy. And sure, all of those things CAN contribute to one's happiness.... but they can very much create unhappiness too. So it really comes back to how you feel inside.

    I'm glad to hear your update, I'm sorry that Charleston has been harder than you thought, but I'm glad to hear that things to continue to improve (they will!). And you're doing awesome on your weight loss.

    1. Thank you! It is so true, I always thought, "if I was just thin" and then I got thin (on 3 separate occasions in life) and it never solved a thing. I know that I am not the happiest person inside and I WISH I could be. I love being happy. My sensitivity, anxiety and over-thinking hold me back. I am working on being able to live in the moment…whew, it is tough!!! I appreciate the wonderful comment, thank you!

  2. Nothing is every as easy or great as you imagine it will be. Once you accept that fact, life is easier to handle. That haircut you dream about? not gonna happen that exact way, will probably look good, but it isn't reality, its the minds eye. Some of your clients need to hear that too.

    I'm a sensitive person that's developed a thick skin. I do my best not to care about what people think because what someone else thinks about me is none of my damn business. I think you wanted out of Chicago so badly that you put Charleston on a pedestal. Knock it down. Accept it for what it is and keep on with your life.

    The things that matter, yourself, love, family, are going great for you, so don't let the flakes get you down. Congrats on the weight loss!

    1. I admire you so much for the thick skin. I am working on it and it is really one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It is true, I really need to focus on more of the good and less of the bad. I needed Charleston to be magical in thought and I created a little fantasy world! Thank you for the terrific comment!

  3. Hm. Left a long comment but it didn't pop up. Maybe it on comment approval...let me try this one as a trial.

  4. Oh great. So the damn comment is gone. Well. Screw that. Will do again.
    I would say what previous commenters said fits the bill. Unfortunately having the prince doesn't give you the automatic happiness or kingdom. I just blogged about that myself in more general terms. It seems there is always "something" in life that is not perfection....we wish to just have a few "normal" non worry days, but there is always something. the relationship might be awesome, but then there is work, health, parents, fertility, infertility, money. God knows. So, one area in your life is great now and that is something to treasure.

    Now. Please remember that you went through some major life changes in a short amount of time, particularly the move. When I moved to a new town after my divorce I was 30 and it took me a good 5 years to feel that I had finally created something great. So cut yourself some slack, keep working at it and over time you will create a community in your new home. I have no doubt. Just don't give up.

    The work thing, when I first read the first few paragraphs I thought "Holy shit, is that the right career for her?" but I hope the new safeguards you put in place will protect you! :)

    1. There is always something. I love this comment, thank you so much for your support and thoughtfulness. I am still debating the work stuff. I will be sharing about my job hunt here soon and I am getting excited again about the idea of planning events, but this time with a lot more boundaries. I am hoping that I lived and learned and can do it in a safer way for me this time around.

  5. I am glad to read an update! I was just starting to wonder how things were going for you. I'm sorry it hasn't all been sunshine and kittens, but it seems like you're digging deep and being realistic. You're getting there.

    1. Thank you! I am wishing you lots of good luck with the house hunting!


Tell me your truth and I will continue to tell you mine......