Wednesday, July 26, 2017

“I Call the Shots” Challenge for Sensitive Souls

The Strength of Sensitivity Podcast Episode 1 Transcript  (You can listen at

Hello everyone! Thanks for joining me in my inaugural episode… I’m your host Dr Kyra Mesich, author of The Strength of Sensitivity and creator of Empathic Empowerment Therapy. It may be the first episode of this podcast, but it’s a keeper because we are going to be addressing an issue that is of paramount important for your comfort level as a sensitive soul. Is your experience comfortable or uncomfortable?  Well, in many situations that depends upon whether you yourself are willing to Ask for Something Better.  All sensitive souls struggle with this to one degree or another.

A phrase I like to think about is “Hey, I call the shots around here.” Ah, wouldn’t that be great to feel like YOU call the shots in your life? Whether you’re at a restaurant and they don’t get your order right, or you’re in a room and the air conditioning is way too cold, or a colleague is not treating you respectfully, we are being given opportunities to ask for better, to call the shots.

The question, though, is whether we do it. Do you ask for better? Sometimes it doesn’t even occur to us that we can.

I’ve narrowed it down to 3 primary reasons that we sensitive souls often do not ask for something better. I’ll list them first then we’ll delve in a bit more to uncover the antidote for each one.

Three reasons we don’t ask for better:

1.     Feeling like an outsider
2.     Tolerating discomfort
3.     Conflict avoidance aka living in the worst case scenario

I recently had a personal experience with this one. Yes, even though I am an expert in sensitivity and I’ve grown, and evolved and become much more comfortable in my own skin over the last 2 decades, I am human. Sometimes we put ourselves in new situations that bring up old beliefs and responses in new interesting ways.

In my case, this happened at karaoke. Long story short, karaoke is a relatively new hobby for me. Never thought of myself as a good singer, so it has been fantastic to express myself in this new way, and surprise, I’m becoming a better singer as I practice singing more often.
Anyhoo, the “ask for better” situation came about one night at a bar where I had been for karaoke many times before. On this particular night, the volume was up way louder than it had been before. There was a new host, or kj as they are called, and I thought that perhaps he intentionally turned the sound up because someone else had asked for 
the volume to be turned up that night. But it was really loud and uncomfortable, so I sang a song or two then left.

Then I went back a few days later, and the sound was up way high again, so loud that it hurt my ears. So I moved, and sat back further away from the speakers, but it wasn’t as fun to sit there and be further away from the karaoke crowd. So I sang a couple songs and left.

The next day I messaged the kj on facebook and told him that the volume was up too high. I had liked the levels where he had it in the past, and I wondered if he purposely had it louder for some reason. He responded with an apology, said that he usually walks out to hear the levels and should have, but he was really busy. He replied, that no, he did not intentionally turn up the volume so loud. And then he said, the next time you are there if it is too loud for you, please come up and tell me so I can turn it down.

My external response to him was thanks, and my internal response to myself was, “Why the #$$%^&* didn’t I just do that? Why didn’t I go up and say “Hey, the volume’s up too loud, please turn it down.” I was most disturbed with myself that I sat there with painful ears – twice! - and didn’t do anything about it. Then the only solution that occurred to me was to move where I didn’t want to move, and then to leave. What?!?

Here I am, the expert sensitive lady, and I was definitely not living in the strengths of my sensitivity. Oh well, I cut myself some slack and decided to chalk it up to “old habits die hard” and tend to reveal themselves in new ways in new situations.

Although this had a twinge of number 2, tolerating discomfort, what really was going on this situation for me was number 1, feeling like an outsider.  Although I like karaoke, I don’t like going to bars to do so. I don’t identify with a lot of the people there, and apparently the energy of this brought up old patterns from memories of school and such of always feeling like an outsider and “no one else thinks the same way I do.”

OK, so reality check, just because I identify myself as a unique individual in a situation that does not equal that I don’t count. We often have a knee jerk reaction of taking it that far…something along the lines of I’m not like the rest of the people in this group, so my vote doesn’t count. And we believe that so much that we disregard evidence to the contrary.

For example, in my karaoke experiences, I noticed that some of the other regulars where I go also started singing happier, different songs because that’s what I usually do. 

Evidence right there that being the sensitive soul in a group brings a new light into that place, and others who also want to feel lighter will enthusiastically join in.

So what’s the antidote for number one, feeling like an outsider? Remembering these statements: Even if I do feel like an outsider someplace, I still deserve to be here. I ground into my surroundings. I claim my space, and I allow myself to notice when others are on my wavelength.

This one is about our identity as a sensitive person. We are prone to think, “I’m sensitive, which means I’m uncomfortable most all the time. That is just my lot in life.” Whoa, Nellie. That’s taking it too far.

Being a sensitive soul means you are highly perceptive, caring, creative, empathic & aware, and that’s where we need to end the definition. Do not include uncomfortable in your definition of what it means to be a sensitive soul.

Now, again, this is something we all to do varying degrees. If you grew up in a chaotic or abusive family you may learned to tolerate a tremendous amount of all types of discord and discomfort. Others of us tolerate discomfort simply because it doesn’t occur to us that we don’t have to. If you are asking for better, if you are calling the shots, then in 95% of most cases, you actually do not HAVE to tolerate any type of discord or discomfort.

The antidote for number two, tolerating discomfort. Here’s your new mantra. I can be sensitive AND comfortable. That’s a new one, huh? Replace the word sensitive with perceptive or different if you need to, so that you can actually believe the statement. I can be perceptive and comfortable. I can be different and comfortable. I can be sensitive and comfortable.

And last but not least number 3. I was going to title number 3 old-fashioned conflict avoidance, but what is conflict avoidance really? It’s living in the worst case scenario before it ever even has a chance to happen.
What is it the conflict we are trying to prevent? Well, 99% of the time, it’s an imaginary one. We’re trying to avoid whatever worst case scenario our neurotic mind has envisioned.
Most of the time we’re avoiding our own FEAR of the worst thing that could possibly happen (and therefore isn’t going to happen) because we let our mind run amok and let it dwell on the worst thing that could possibly happen.

We don’t ask for better from someone because our mind says, “No, don’t do it… I’ll be humiliated because they’ll laugh at me, or They won’t care, so they’ll just say no. Or They’ll be mad at me. Or I’ll hurt their feelings if I say anything.

So it comes down to a fear of being hurt or hurting someone else. And again, we take this too far.

Now the antidote for number 3, conflict avoidance and fear of being hurt or hurting someone else…Stay in the NOW of the moment. Right here, right now, and say to yourself, “I call the shots.” Then take 5 seconds to guide your thoughts into a positive image. Jumping to the worst case outcome is simply imagination without guidance, right? So instead of going to the worst fear-based outcome, gently guide your imagination, and see yourself confidently asking for better, and experiencing the desired outcome. 

It’s time for you to say, “I call the shots around here.”

So it’s the I Call the Shots Challenge!

For the next week, the next 7 days, embrace every opportunity you are given to ask for better, to be the person who calls the shots in your own experience. Of course, these types of challenges often are more fun and we stick with them when we have a partner in crime as it were. So ask a friend, sibling, or colleague to do this challenge with you, and you’ll both have a fun time supporting each other and sharing how you called the shots!

Feel free to let me know how your week goes with the I Call the Shots Challenge.

My “ask” for you is to share my blog and my podcast (it's on itunes, podbean & youtube) with your social media friends as much as possible, so we can create The Strength of Sensitivity Movement!   Viva la sensitive revolution!

Dr Kyra

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

One Click to Peace & Calm

All is Well Meditation Video

Welcome to the Lily Pond! This is a fantastic meditation to center yourself anytime you're feeling stressed or worried, or just need to quickly rejuvenate. Click the video above for this latest meditation video. I recorded it at the peaceful water lily pond at Maplewood Nature Center. In the first minute of the video I explain how to tell the difference between a water lily and a lotus. Then I let the pond speak to me and guide us through a lovely meditation.

Dr Kyra Mesich,

Black Sheep No More!

Are You Tired of being the Black Sheep of the Family? 

by Kyra Mesich, PsyD
The highly sensitive person often winds up being the scapegoat or black sheep of their family. This can range from feeling like you don’t fit in (problem child/teen, chronic illnesses, being picked on, etc) all the way to being severely abused in the most dysfunctional family systems. As a matter of fact, it’s likely that you’ve become your family’s Identified Patient.
The Identified Patient? What’s That?
It’s a classic term from family therapy, used when a family comes in with all fingers pointing at one member in particular who “has problems.” That one family member is the Identified Patient, and is typically the sensitive, empathic child/teen.
A dysfunctional family uses the Identified Patient, or IP, as a distraction at best, scapegoat at worst, to maintain the false belief that the family system is healthy and that the IP is the one who is troubled and needs to change.
Even if your family growing up wasn’t “dysfunctional,” you may have taken on an IP family role in response to a messy divorce, unresolved anger, or the like.
The IP is the one member of the family who shines a light on the parents’ family secrets, inner conflicts, and deeply held pain (often multi-generational patterns which have been passed down the family line). You may not have consciously intended to expose these dysfunctional patterns, but you did so by: 
Refusing to keep quiet about abuse and actually desire to heal, rather than cover it up. 
Or expressing the family pain through behavior such as substance abuse, chronic physical illness, rebellion, or depression/anxiety.
You Are a Mirror
As the sensitive, empathic child/teen in the family, your actions or symptoms were a mirror, reflecting destructive, unbalanced behavior (be it narcissism, sexual abuse, secret family shame, alcoholism, seething anger toward one another, etc) for all to see. 
Unfortunately, when you carry this mirror, others in the family seize the opportunity to interpret the reflection not as themselves, but as you being the source of the problem. It’s you holding the mirror, right? Remember, from their point of view needing to maintain the status quo, the IP is the one who is troubled and needs to change, not the family.
That’s how you, as the sensitive family member, became identified as an unstable screw-up at best, or at worst as the cause of all the family’s difficulties, the scapegoat.
It’s Time to Release the Role of the IP
As long as you are willing to carry that mirror and contain the family’s issues, your family will happily allow you to stay in the IP role…for your entire lifetime. Did you read that loud and clear? 
A family system with unresolved pain will work to keep the status quo at all costs. As long as you are the IP, no one else has to admit to any wrongdoing, no one else has to honestly confront deeply seated pain, no one else has to remember painful memories of the ways the dysfunction began with grandparents and great-grandparents, no one else in the family has to honestly, openly communicate with one another…ever.
The shame, guilt and low self-worth that you carry as the IP is not yours, as much as it is your parents’, elders’ and their parents’ before them. Like everyone else on this planet, you were born or adopted into a family which is downstream in a flowing river of ancestry.
As a sensitive, empathic child you noticed any dysfunctional, uncomfortable energy from your parents and the generations before. No matter what the adults tried to hide, you felt the truth, which may have been an empathic feeling of sadness, anger, or chaos. It made no sense to you as a child, but on some level, you couldn’t help but be aware of your loved ones’ pain, and couldn’t ignore it. You wanted to bring balance and harmony to your family system.
As a child/teen, the only way you knew of to try to relieve that discomfort was to absorb the family pain. Maybe you took on the role of the IP in order to carry the pain for your parents so they wouldn’t be as burdened, or in a hopeful effort that if you absorbed the pain, family members would no longer need to hurt you or each other. And long into adulthood, you are likely still holding that mirror and empathically carrying that pain.
Put Down the Mirror
It does not help anyone else to carry their wounds for them, and you cannot prevent multi-generational family dysfunction from being passed down to your own children until you put down the mirror and step away from the role of the IP. Don’t worry, it’s never too late. Even if your children are already adults, you will make a big difference by letting go of your responsibility to hold the family mirror. It’s time for you to embrace a new identity.
I suggest finding a private, quiet place to repeatedly say these kinds of statements out loud to yourself. Choose your favorites that really speak to you:
“I take on a new identity. I am no longer the black sheep. I am the wolf (or insert your favorite animal here) who lives by my own rules”
“I am free to step out of the family river. I observe without being knee-deep in it”
“I release the family emotions I took on as an empathic kid”
“I return my family’s freedom to make their own choices about their issues. I no longer carry it for them.”
“I respect myself for attempting to bring balance to my family’s situation, but from now on I only concern myself with my own wellbeing in my own life”
“I was never the cause of my family’s issues. I only brought light to what was already there.”
“I return my family’s emotional energy to them so they may learn what they need to learn from this life.”
(These statements work no matter whether key family members are living or deceased. You can still release the energy)
Meditation of the week from Dr Kyra - No Longer the Black Sheep!
Release what you never thought you could and define yourself in liberating new ways this meditation! 13 minutes. Listen and follow along with the Youtube link above. Soundcloud version at (scroll down the page) 
Envisioning You Standing in the Strength of Your Sensitivity, 
~ Dr Kyra,

Throw Out Your Obligations!

You Do Not Have to Meet All Your Obligations!

What?!? That’s right. The very best thing you do for yourself might just be to let an obligation go. For those of you who are exclaiming, “Are you kidding me, Dr Kyra? I have to meet my obligations - have to - that’s why they’re called obligations!” just stick with me for a little longer on this.
As sensitive souls, we have a tendency to over-obligate ourselves: 
“Hi, friend. Oh, you’re inviting me to your home shopping party? Well, I guess I could fit it in between volunteering at my child’s school and covering my coworker’s yoga class. She’s out of town, and I told her I would teach it for her, but, yes, of course, I’ll be there.”
That’s just one type of example. There are many others way in which we might over-obligate ourselves and then pin ourselves in believing there is no way out of it.
“Sarah,” who read my book, recently sent me an email in which she described her obligation experience: She had coordinated a big work-related event and was overwhelmed with fear about it as the date was approaching. Sarah knew there were aspects of the event she was going to find not only draining and uncomfortable but detrimental to her health, yet she saw no way out of it.

But then she had an epiphany!

I’ll let you in on what she shared with me…
For Sarah, the resistance to letting the obligation go was all about not disappointing others.
I saw that I didn’t want to let others down in not going. That I was willing to risk my own health in making others happy. In the end, I stepped out of the event, putting myself and my own health/needs first. I faced the fear, and really accepted "me” in the process.
So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed by the thought of meeting a certain obligation, stop and meditate upon it. We’re often not as stuck as we think we are. In Sarah’s case, another employee was able to step up, and the event went off without a hitch.
Sarah summarized the experience beautifully: "All is as it should be. It’s like I’m free to celebrate me.
~ by Dr Kyra Mesich,

How to Tell If You Are an Empath

ARE YOU AN EMPATH?   by Dr Kyra Mesich,
I’ve dedicated my holistic psychology career to helping sensitive people. It shouldn’t surprise you that I’m highly sensitive; part of this quest has been to understand myself. I used to be a typical sensitive kid and young adult. I cried easily, got overwhelmed in loud or crowded environments, and the emotions of other people would sometimes exhaust me. Even after attending grad school for psychology, I still had no better understanding of why I was so sensitive and uncomfortable much of the time. Although we may go to universities to learn, it is life that presents us with our biggest lessons.
Early in my career as a young psychologist, it became all too clear to me that I was empathic. The standard definition of an empath is an individual with the psychic ability to perceive, absorb, and directly experience the strong emotions and/or intense physical sensations of others. Guess how that went over as I worked with many varied clients in the throes of emotional pain and confusion? I had to stop working for a while in order to figure out what was happening to me, what empathic ability was all about, and most importantly, how to regulate it.
On one hand, I was lucky to be a psychologist, because it gave me the opportunity to sit with each client and know exactly what they were thinking and feeling. I was therefore able to confirm without a doubt that I was indeed empathically picking up on their energies. It can be challenging being an empathic healer.
But it is also challenging being an empath anyplace else—in the office, at school, in your family—because in those situations, people often hide their true feelings. So how can you know when you are experiencing your own emotions vs. empathically picking up on the feelings of others?
This was the big question I wanted to answer, and through interviewing hundreds of people, I made the connection that sensitive people are empathic. If you consider yourself to be sensitive, or if you’ve had to hear people tell you that “You’re too sensitive,” then you are also an empath.
It’s this misunderstood empathic ability that often leads us to feel overwhelmed or overly emotional as sensitive people. We try to figure out “what is wrong with us,” when actually we are feeling what’s wrong with everyone else.
The first step to regulate empathic ability is to accept that it exists. It isn’t unusual or spooky. It is simply a nonverbal way that we communicate with each other, which has been buried in modern society in favor of intellectual communication.
The next step is to take care of ourselves by healing our own wounds and issues, so they do not get entangled with the emotional energy we sense empathically. I discuss more about this in my book The Strength of Sensitivity. Empathic ability is actually a lot more common than you might think and provides very useful information when it is balanced.

Say No and Feel Good About It!

Say No and Feel Good About It: A 3 Step Game Plan for Sensitive People
by Dr Kyra Mesich,
Are you the person others come to when they need a favor? Have you ever felt resentful because people seem to ask you for favors without reciprocating? Do you have a habit of agreeing to requests, then regretting it later? Wish you knew how to say no?
If you have these experiences, then you are a sensitive person. Sensitive people are perceptive, caring, compassionate, and highly aware individuals. As such, we tend to be a little too worried about how our actions might affect other people. This leads to our classic challenge: difficulty saying no. We aren’t very good at looking out for our own best interests.
Why is it so difficult for us to say no? One reason is that we value cooperation and harmony above all else. Our first instinct, therefore, is to agree and say yes to any request. We want to believe that no one would ask anything unreasonable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.  Some people do take advantage of our generosity. We may feel resentful toward the requestor afterward, but more often we get mad at ourselves for not saying no.
Here are three new ways to approach the situation when someone makes of request of you that you really don’t want to do.
Take Time to Respond
There is no hard and fast rule that dictates we must give an immediate answer to any request. Sensitive people tend to overthink things. Multiple thoughts go through our heads all at once. We’re experts  at worrying too much about how others will react. So let’s take away the immediate problem by rehearsing the following types of responses:
“I can’t give you an answer right now. I’ll need to think it over.”
“I have so much on my mind at the moment, I’d better not give you an answer right now.”
“I can’t answer right now. I think I’m forgetting something I already had planned for that evening.”
“I need to check my calendar first to see if I have time to add that to my other responsibilities.”
These are non-answers, which is fine in this circumstance. We’ve already established that you have a really hard time saying no. So, if you can’t say no, at least don’t say yes either. You have the right to request time before giving an answer.
Get a Wingman/Wingwoman
A wingman is someone who supports you and helps you navigate your course. Find someone (spouse, sibling, friend, counselor) who will be a good support as you resolve to say no more often. Your wingman is the person to go to after you’ve given the “I need some time to respond” answer above. The next step is to talk it through with your wingman and come to a decision together about what is in your best interest. Your wingman also needs to have the okay to push you past your comfort zone. You will likely need accountability to your wingman to follow through and call someone or set up a meeting in order to refuse an unreasonable request. The wingman may be a temporary position, but is often required until we have had several successes saying no.
Visualization: Saying No Meditation
Many professional athletes learn to meditate and visualize their game strategies. It’s been shown that athletes’ performance improves when they practice through visualization. This “Saying No” meditation is much the same. Practice, even in your mind’s eye, prepares you to be at the top of your game.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and imagine someone making a request that you really don’t want to do. Now say, “no.” Don’t give any excuses. Just say no. Pause and take time to feel the empowering energy of saying no to the request. The person in your visualization accepts your response and says something such as, “Ok, no worries, I should probably hire someone instead.” You shake hands or hug and part.
Do this visualization at least once a day until it feels very comfortable and easy to say no in the meditation. Then start changing up the meditation a bit to make it progressively more challenging. Sometimes make the request smaller or larger, have a different person ask you, and then have the requestor ask you if you are sure after you say no. When you get to that point, respond, “Yes, I am sure. You will have to find someone else to help you with that.”
Success saying no during meditation will alter your tendency to always default to a yes answer. It will feel much more natural to say no when it’s in your best interest to do so.
Here It Is!!! The 3 Step Request Refusal Game Plan
Now we’ll combine all three tactics above to say no to an unreasonable request. For this example, imagine a friend who works with a small non-profit organization asks you to fix their virus-ridden website. You instantly know this would be a time consuming project, but you do want to help them. You feel the pull to say, “Okay, I can probably do that,” but instead remember the game plan and start with Step 1.
Step 1: You resist the temptation to give an immediate answer by responding, “I can’t give you an answer right now. I’ll need to think it over.”
Step 2: You call in your wingman! Together you answer these questions: What is the requestor really asking of you? How much time will that request require of you? Does the requestor seem to understand the complexity of what she is asking of you? Even if it’s a simple request, does this requestor have a habit or asking you for favors too often? Taking away what you feel you “should” do, how do you feel about the request? Who else could do this request instead of you?
In this example, you and your wingman decide that this project is far more involved than the requestor realizes. In your opinion, the organization should hire someone to fix the problem or create a new website.
Step 3: You practice the Saying No meditation before calling the requestor back. You bask for a moment in the liberating energy of saying no in the visualization. Then you make your call and feel composed as you tell your friend no and the reason why. She accepts your expert opinion, and says she will present other options to the organization’s board.
Stick to this game plan, and you will overcome even a lifelong tendency to place others’ needs before your own. Some time, a little help, and preparation are all it takes to kick the habit of being a doormat. “No” just might be the healthiest word you’ve said in a long time.
Join The Sensitive Revolution! Be comfortable, grounded & entirely you! Join at

Past Life Regression for Seasonal Depression

Past Life Regression for Seasonal Depression

“The storm came on suddenly. We were not prepared. I’m surrounded by a whiteout with blizzard winds. I can no longer see the others in my hunting party. My only option is to seek shelter up against the rock face and pray”…No, this isn’t the opening scene from the latest historical mini-series on PBS. These are the words uttered by a past life regression client in a relaxed, hypnotic state.
Sara (not her real name) suffered from debilitating seasonal affective disorder after a job change moved her residence further north. She had tried many of the classic SAD remedies including a light box, vitamin D, and SSRI medictation, all to no avail. She was at her wits end, and didn’t want a repeat of the overwhelming symptoms this coming winter.
Sara was interested in hypnotherapy, so we began with body-focused meditations to explore her physical symptoms. As it so often goes, Sara’s subconscious knew exactly what she needed, and she spontaneously went into a past life regression! As she recalled the past life events of getting caught in a sudden winter storm and subsequently freezing to death, she felt her fear of winter begin to release.
Sara has reported an amazing turnaround this winter. In addition to the past life clearing, she uses flower essences, a sunrise simulator alarm clock, and finds it much easier to get outside and stay active.
This case is a fabulous example of how hypnotherapy and past life regression can shift even seemingly unsolvable problems. Happy winter, Sara!
-Dr Kyra Mesich,

Thrive this Winter: 6 Step Anti-SAD Action Plan

Holy moly winter arrived early and intensely this year here in MN!  I’ve heard similar reports from my friends and family around the ...