Why I love labels; How we transcend them ~ after they helped us live more authentically.

Why Self-Identity? Why Labels? Why transcend them?


“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.”
– Rachel Naomi Remen

I have always loved labels, yet never knew why until I began to immerse myself in learning, understanding, and practicing my two favorite, helpful personality assessment tools: the Myers Briggs Personality Assessment, and The Enneagram.

By overlaying my 20 years of exclusive work with HSPs, I have come to understand the many differences and similarities we all share as HSPs, but also as individuals. I understand how family of origin, work environments, geographic areas, culture, and varied life experiences can influence, hinder or block our quest for self identity and knowledge.

Since part of my background is in cultural diversity, I was challenged to understand how, tensions, misunderstandings and hurt feelings can often be attributed to a lack of knowledge about one’s temperament. These same tensions or hurt feelings can also be caused by holding too tightly to a predetermined sense of self, or by judging or resenting differences instead of honoring them.

Imagine Yourself in the middle of a lake

Imagine yourself stranded in the middle of a very large lake, treading water, without a life jacket. … Even if you enjoy the water , and the temperature is comfortable, you soon grow tired, very tired, because day after treading day, you realize you are going nowhere, or the places you do find yourself are unpleasant, draining or tiring.  You become aware of how easily a sense of fear or anxiety can set in. It is easy to become frustrated and weary, and sometimes you  sink to the bottom, only to struggle, on many occasions, to find your way back up looking for a deep breath of fresh air.

Now Imagine being thrown a life jacket

Perhaps your first life jacket is called “Myers Briggs.”  Then one day, you are given fins called “the Enneagram.” Finally, you are given a compass, called HSP.   This compass, added to the other life jackets, offer you a way  of finding a shore, one which will allow you to rest and recover; one which will allow you to start understanding your needs.

With a new lens, you can enjoy envisioning a different way of living, a different way of being… and you realize you can discover and start to make even the slightest changes.  With enough shifts, you begin to realize you are being called to put down roots … The seeds of your self-identity have been chosen and planted with care.  With sensitive attention and love, these seeds will begin to grow and bloom … It is almost as if you can see and feel their roots growing deep and their unique foliage beginning to bloom and reach for the light …

Imagine these seeds producing deep roots
Imagine the seeds growing deep into the Earth as they become strong roots. These will be roots that you trust; roots that you depend on for comfort, or when the wind starts to threaten your stability or well-being.   Your unique foliage will start to offer its unique beauty to those around you ~~ and you will hopefully be more confident to “Let your own light shine” and share your true gifts with others.

Transcending our Labels
You can now relax, while learning to allow your DOING to be inspired by your BEING. There is no need for labels now…as you have slowly transcended them without even realizing it. Yet, you do realize your labels have served you well, they have been your friends, and you will always be grateful for what they have shared.

Picture of Jacquelyn Strickland

Jacquelyn Strickland

Jacquelyn became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 1993, and began working exclusively with highly sensitive people in 2001, shortly after the first HSP Gathering Retreat in May of 2001. Her private psychotherapy practice has now transitioned to mentoring and coaching, which is not therapy, yet definitely therapeutic for most clients. She also offers consultations and accepts speaking engagements about the trait of Sensory Processing Sensitivity. She is a member of ICHS – International Consultants High Sensitivity, a professional, national, and international group of HSPs who were trained by Elaine Aron in March of 2018. She makes a cameo appearance in the 2015 documentary film: Sensitive: The Untold Story, available at sensitivethemovie.com.

Although not always able to accept new clients, please do inquire here about how and if we might best work together.

Depth of Processing

Depth of processing is the most basic aspect of our SPS trait, and results in the deep, rich inner life most HSPs experience. Research has shown more brain activation in the prefrontal cortex and in a part of the brain called the insula which has sometimes been referred to as the ‘seat of consciousness.’ This creates the tendency to reflect more than others about the “way the world is going or “the meaning of life.” By integrating information and experiences, from both past and present, the HSP’s unique depth of processing can enable a sense and understanding of longer term consequences and may be able to influence future decisions with more creative and expansive thought.