Stages of Cultural Awareness and Acceptance

What Does it Mean to Acknowledge, Affirm & Promote our Sensitivities?

The following definitions are from Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1996.
The examples following the definitions may help us to rethink what we have been taught, what we have internalized, and what we can do differently when it comes to being a Highly Sensitive Person.

1. Disparage

To belittle, demean, ridicule, discredit.

Believing: “HSPs’ are weak, irritable, inferior, fearful, too emotional, too nervous, too intense.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

Feelings often associated with this stage:

2. Deny

To refuse to recognize or acknowledge.

Believing: “You’re too sensitive, you need to toughen up, bite the bullet, suck it up.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

Feelings often associated with this stage:

3. Acknowledge

To admit being real or true; to recognize the existence of.

Believing: “Yes…your needs and mine are different … help me to understand you, so I can help you to understand me.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

Feelings often associated with this stage:

4. Affirm

To state or assert positively.

Believing:  “HSPs have a unique way of being in the world, we have a more finely tuned  central nervous system, and we process things deeply and purposefully.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

Feelings often associated with this stage:

5. Promote

To further, advance, or exalt; put in a higher position.

Believing:  “HSPs are not “better” than non-HSPs, nor are we superior…yet, knowing that HSPs have unique gifts, talents, and skills and much to contribute to the world around us, our families, our workplaces, relationships, etc.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

Feelings often associated with this stage:

Stages of Cultural Awareness and Acceptance Questions for Reflection

  1. Which state of Awareness & Acceptance do you identify with?
  2. What keeps you from moving forward to the next stage?
  3. What kind of support do you need to move forward?
  4. What is your biggest need as an HSP?  What kind of support do you need to address this need?  Who can help you?
  5.  Finally, an interesting and important question for journaling: “What am I actually afraid of?”
jacquelyn strickland

With you on this journey.

love,
Jacquelyn

From: Dr. Evonne Hedgepeth, Ph.D. “What Does It Really Mean to “Affirm” Versus “Promote.” A handout used in cultural diversity training.
Modified for HSPs by Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC.
Use only with permission.

Jacquelyn is committed to harmonious personal and social transformation aimed at creating inclusive environments of mutual respect; individuality and belonging; self-discovery and healing; positive regard and goodwill.