Turn highly sensitive characteristics into a power tool for your writing career.
“I’m a fraud!”
“I’m not a good enough writer.”
“What am I thinking? No one will be interested in reading my work.”
Any of these self-deprecating mantras resonate with you?
Mantra. There’s a word. If you’re thinking it’s one that doesn’t quite gel with the negative connotation preceding it, then you’d be right. Words like ‘self-deprecating’. A quick squiz at Wikipedia will inform you that the word “mantra” denotes a sacred meaning, a numinous sound or utterance — ‘A group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers’.
No, I’m not delusional (yet!) nor am I messing around with your head. I’m not attempting to spin a dark twist on an ancient practice rooted in the divine, either, but I did choose the word ‘mantra’ for a reason.
Still uncertain about my intentions? Read on, skeptic creatives, as I attempt to dissect our self-sabotaging inner-demons and pave a way to eliminate those bad boys forever.
Imposter syndrome (IS) is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. In a nutshell, IS boils down to lack of self-belief and self-confidence. This upbeat, feel-good phenomenon isn’t just reserved for the creatives of the world. We’re not so special in that regard. It affects people in all walks of life. However, are you aware that creatives are almost always highly sensitive people who respond to the world in a more reactive way? Nuances like IS are always lingering beneath the surface, ready to pounce.
The nature of writing is an extremely personal practice. Through our words we purge our souls, bleed our hearts, drown in our experiences and flirt with our innermost fears and desires.
We draw on those cards; writers write about what obsesses them.
But finding the courage to go there doesn’t always equate with the fearlessness required when the time comes to share our gift with the world. For highly sensitive people, this is the moment when imposter syndrome strikes like an old relic you cannot shake.
You know what I’m saying. It’s that moment of truth. You’ve just spent countless hours banging on the keyboard and drinking endless cups coffee. You are a writer — committed to story and dedicated to producing your best work and all that entails as you’ve persevered through the long journey. You’ve plotted and outlined. You’ve developed and argued with your characters; you’ve spent more time procrastinating than you’ll admit, and there were times when you succumbed to resistance. Afterwards, you probably paid with a hefty side of guilt. You’ve gnawed, screamed and knuckled down. Then you’ve pushed through the creative blocks and rejoiced when those sweet, magical bouts of inspiration arrived to flow into your words.
Ah, the life of a writer — fascinating yet frustrating all at the same time. And rewarding, because all those hours accumulated to produce your baby, and now that you’ve cleaned, pampered and typed the last words on your preciousness, other people are going to read your work. People are going to judge your intellectual labor too. Cringe.
Brace yourself, dear writer, as you battle those rancid nerves and sometimes forget that you need to breathe. I’m not sure this feeling will ever completely subside but I can offer you a few tools to combat those inner brutes as well as provide suggestions for turning highly sensitive characteristics into a power tool for your writing career.
So, take a deep breath as we get into the guts of this article.
High Sensitivity is a Superpower
Science has confirmed the existence of high sensitivity (did we really need it validated?). In fact, research has showed about 20% of the population are highly sensitive by default. What I mean is that people don’t choose to respond to the world in a sensitive way, they just do.
Before you go brushing this trait away as a sign of weakness, think again. Studies reveal that highly sensitive people (HSP) are often intellectually gifted and are extremely empathetic creatures. They have a heightened sense of awareness too, with an uncanny ability to pick up on the emotions and vibes of those around them. Additionally, highly sensitive people are more likely to cultivate and trust their ability to become attuned and communicate with their higher-mind, AKA their inner-guidance system. Superpowers!
Being a highly sensitive person can mean pain. Quite literally. You may experience acute physical, mental or emotional responses to many situations. These triggers may be external or internal (damned those intrapersonal feedback loops!) While some people want to accredit high sensitivity to the shy at heart, this is not always the case. They can be introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between. However, the traits making you highly sensitive can also be a magical gift for being an amazing writer. Let’s look at how we can use sensitivity to enrich our creative writing.
Embrace your Super-Sensitive Qualities.
HSPs are aware of details. This characteristic is invaluable as a writer. Often, the small details in our stories can be overlooked or drowned in the bigger global story. Whether it’s story structure and plot or character development, paying attention to detail can provide the qualities and insights that will enable our manuscripts to shine.
This mystical resource is critical to the success of every fiction writer. However, the best fiction taps into the minute details that brings characters and scenes to life.For example: An unexpected character thought, reaction, oddity or flaw; the paint flaking as a door opens; the slight limp in his swagger; the way her eyes glaze when she becomes whimsical. You get the drift. Without extreme sensitivity, these details might be impossible to capture.
Writing is sharing information and giving to the world. This is particularly true for non-fiction writers. Our true intentions stretch beyond literal recognition or other desires. The act of being an author is generous. Non-fiction authors spend hours tapping into their most sensitive parts — downloading their brain, coordinating and cataloging their thoughts to produce their most useful information to benefit others.
Now that we’ve plunged into why imposter syndrome may be a prominent factor affecting writers and covered a few ways high sensitivity can positively impact our creative work, it’s time to break open the shell, reach within and circle back to those mantras. It’s time to explore the Solar Plexus, discover its key characteristics and how we can make the most of this powerful energy center.
The Solar Plexus is part of the sympathetic nervous system.
This complex system of radiating nerves and ganglia is found in the pit of the stomach. While it plays a vital role in the functioning of the stomach, kidneys, liver, and adrenal glands, this bunch of nerves is also responsible for anxiety symptoms.
That’s right; after the initial rush of excitement accompanying a book release, how often does that high suddenly fade into an internal slide into self-doubt and belief? If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then you’ll know it’s a bad case of imposter syndrome that’s making you feel like a walking scam.
Considering it is the Solar Plexus in our physical bodies that lies at the center of these discordant feelings, we’re going to push beyond the flesh, nerves and ganglia to explore this part of ourselves in a somewhat intangible sense. We’re going to get a little esoteric and discuss the Solar Plexus Chakra.
You’ve probably heard about the seven chakras that exist in our subtle etheric bodies. They are often referenced in the context of emotional healing or meditation. However, you may have found the concept confusing, or not quite figured out what place it might have in your life. But don’t fret, it’s not just the experts that can work with chakras; you can too.
The Solar Plexus Chakra is the third chakra. It is located just above your navel, resonating with the color yellow. This is the energy center associated with self-belief, self-worth, ego, courage, confidence, and personal power. It is vital for this energy center to be balanced so that we don’t experience negative emotional issues.
Let’s examine some of the main elements correlating with the third chakra before moving on to talk about a few alternative approaches we can take to ease our anxiety when it comes to those jarring feelings imposter syndrome can produce.
Key Meanings Associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra.
· Willpower and personal power
· Taking responsibility for one’s life, accepting self-control
· Mental abilities — the intellect
· Forming personal opinions and beliefs
· Making decisions, setting the direction
· Clarity of judgment
· Personal identity
· Self-assurance, self-confidence
Signs your Solar Plexus Chakra may be Imbalanced.
· Excessive control and authority over your environment and people
· Or the opposite in case of blocked energy: Feelings of helplessness.
· Being obsessed with minute details, seeing life through a filter of negativity which may cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture
· Being manipulative
· Misusing your power
· Lack of clear direction, purpose or ambition
· Self-sabotaging behavior and feelings
The Solar Plexus Chakra plays an important role in our self-confidence and self-worth. When this area is out of balance or blocked, we can experience feelings of depression or anxiety, lack of self-control and low self-esteem. These symptoms can also manifest physically and may include:
· Irritable bowel problems
· Reflux problems
· Binge eating
· Overweight or underweight issues
· Diabetes and stomach ulcers
As we move through life, it is important for us to maintain our health in all facets — mind, body and soul. Given the nature of our hyper-connected world, sometimes this can be a challenging state to achieve. If your personality leans toward the highly sensitive side, events like book releases can become overwhelming, particularly when facing deep-seated, self-worth issues fanned by the frenetic flames of imposter syndrome.
By focusing on clearing the Solar Plexus chakra, we can find balance in those moments when dissonance becomes a prominent emotion. Here are a few tools to get you back on track and back to the page.
Crystals for Third Chakra Balance.
Did you know that crystals vibrate with specific frequencies of color and light? There are many crystals and gemstones that help to balance and clear the Solar Plexus Chakra of blockages. Solar Plexus Chakra crystals include:
Happiness and confidence, emits large amounts of positive energy. This crystal encourages you to maintain a positive state of mind to attract everything you want in life.
A crystal of positive energy. Helpful for negative thoughts fixed on misfortune and despair.
Helps to increase your vitality and strength. It can give one new hope and a renewed sense of optimism.
Helps to release fears and anxieties. It is a great stone for giving courage and self-confidence. Particularly helpful for those who experience lack of self-worth.
Now that we’ve lined up a few crystals, you may be wondering how we’re going to use these gem-babies to help balance our energy center. I have two words for you — meditation and mantras. Yes, this is the part we turn those self-deprecating “mantras” into something positive. So, grab your crystals and let’s get started!
Meditation and Crystals for Third Chakra Balance.
Meditation is an extremely effective way to balance and clear your chakras. The following is an example of how to combine crystals with meditation and mantras when your Solar Plexus Chakra feels out of balance.
1. Hold your crystals in your non-dominant hand while sitting or place them on your body above the naval while lying down.
2. Inhale deeply and imagine a white light coming into the top of your head, allow the light to fill your entire body.
3. When you exhale, imagine any negative energy releasing from your body through your breath — consciously release any low energy vibes and stress.
4. Envision a golden ball of light below your naval spinning clockwise. Every time you inhale, imagine this light growing bigger and brighter. As you breathe out imagine all the blockages and negative energy leaving your being.
Mantras for Third Chakra Balance.
· I am a great writer
· Through my words, I have much to offer the world
· I can make a difference
· I believe in myself
· I am confident
· I am worthy of success, happiness, love (or insert desirable outcome here)
· I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me
· I am a creative writer
· I have the courage to keep going and conquer my fears
· I am everything I wish to bring forth
I’m certain you’ll agree these affirmations sound more like the sacred mantras Wikipedia told us about earlier, right? The greatest thing about practicing mantras is that you can offer yourself any positive outcome you desire. Your thoughts and words have power beyond the ones you release to the world in the form of your stories. They also form the essence of who you are, so choose them wisely.
Now that you’ve become more acquainted with imposter syndrome and high sensitivity and discovered ways to balance your all-powerful Solar Plexus Chakra, it’s worth remembering how important it is to practice self-care.
When you balance your Solar Plexus center, you will feel lighter and confident, and recognize your true potential. You are a creative being, here to spread love into the world through your words and creations. Keeping yourself balanced and cultivating your self-belief will not only improve your quality of life, but also reflect in your work.
Give it a shot sometime; what have you got to lose other than the demonic imposter syndrome?