This Thanksgiving, I’m especially grateful I am to all of you—the folks who have subscribed to and read The Listening Post since I began writing it nine weeks ago.
Gratitude carries much deeper meaning when we can express clearly the needs of ours that are met. That’s why, as I enter my ninth week of publication, I’d like to take time to tell you exactly why I’m feeling so grateful for this opportunity to write for you.
Like many HSPs, I have a deep need to experience growth and meaning through the work I do, and to know I am contributing to others in a meaningful way. As you read, what I’ve written, I invite you to consider the ways your own needs for growth, meaning, and contribution are being met…and how you’d like to meet those needs as the year unfolds.
Articles have composed themselves in my head for years, but I rarely wrote them down. And it certainly never occurred to me to commit to a regular writing schedule. Even after it did occur to me, I was scared it would take over my life. Or I wouldn’t have useful things say. Or no one would be interested.
I’m so glad I somehow got past all that, because I have found the whole process intensely satisfying! (A big thank you here to my Focusing partners, my partner Duke, and Carl, my web developer, for their support. And to Kaitlyn for her amazing photos.) Equally important, I’ve gotten the feedback that that what I have to share contributes to your well-being.
In short, writing The Listening Post meets all three of the needs I hold most important: growth, meaning, and contribution.
For those of us who are born sensitive, these three needs are paramount. Without growth and learning, we feel restless or dissatisfied. Without a sense of contribution, our actions lack meaning. Without meaning, we feel empty and disconnected.
All kinds of growth and learning
The Listening Post exists because I had a vision of it and kept doing whatever was needed next to make it happen. This sounds simple, but I found it very challenging. I was afraid to put myself out in the public eye, so “doing whatever was needed next to make it happen” often meant sitting with something in me that was very scared, sensing what it needed to be able to go on.
I call this process the “introspection/action loop.” I went through many rounds of it to get to this point. I found it intensely challenging at times. But the scarier the terrain I managed to pass through, the bigger sense of accomplishment I felt.
Case in point: I’ve had to master a lengthy list of technical skills to compose and publish The Listening Post. At first I’d completely freak out when weird tech glitches turned all my text green or made the titles ridiculously huge.
Then my wonderful web developer, Carl, taught me how to cultivate an attitude of amused curiosity when “s— happens.” Thank you, Carl. It’s incredibly satisfying to calmly field something that used to get my blood pressure up.
I’ve also learned a lot about the infrastructure of writing. For example, I created a cool template two weeks ago to track the time I’m spending on all the different aspects of The Listening Post, from tech glitches to title creation to video editing.
I found out I was spending a crazy amount of time editing, so I sat down to figure out why. Turns out this happens when I let myself get hijacked by a part of me that is too worried what others think. This kind of insight is really exciting to me as it is widely applicable: in this case, it helped me write emails way faster.
Meaning and contribution
I love to learn new skills and to create new materials, templates, and systems: it feeds my curious, active brain, which makes me really happy.
But what makes this writing project truly sustainable is the feedback that it contributes to you, my readers. That is deeply meaningful to me. And meaning means sustainability.
And the writing process helps me reframe my own past challenges as meaningful: I see how those challenges pushed me to find the information and gain the insights I share with you here.
As I said earlier, I believe that most sensitive, creative people have deep needs for meaning, contribution, and growth. It is a rare gift to find work that meets all these needs.
Thank you for helping to make this writing that kind of gift for me.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Hi Emily. This article was so helpful to me this week. My son is having trouble fulfilling his requirements for creativity, activity and service (CAS) in his International Baccalaureate program at school. I realized when I read your article that this program is set up for extroverts! At least at his school. Now I have some framework for helping him and for talking to the CAS director, if need be.
I also recognize these needs in myself. That is one thing that I love about what you share — I might “know” something about myself but I don’t have words for it. There is something very grounding and satisfying about having the words 🙂
Belated happy thanksgiving and I am looking forward to next week’s announcement.
How wonderful to get this very specific feedback of the helpfulness of someone else’s messy personal examples:) I’m sorry it took me so long to respond–I calculated we prepared, served, and cleaned up from 75 person-meals and snacks over the few days around Thanksgiving, among many other things??!! My HSP self is requesting twice-a-day naps to recover!