Why True Accommodation is Sweet Relief For Highly Sensitive People

Have you ever received the gift of true accommodation? The feeling of being welcomed and accepted into someone else’s home. Where your presence is not only tolerated, but celebrated as a contribution to uniqueness of the moment? Needs, preferences, and choices are catered for and gladly embraced with a spirit of collaboration in service of life-enhancing human connection.

It’s a rare and beautiful feeling that can’t be demanded or contrived.

You’ve probably experienced the opposite too, sensing you are an unwanted presence amidst an awkward series of negotiations. Needs, preferences, and choices are judged with eye-rolls and sighs. In the end, you just want to get out of there as soon as possible. If possible.

Accommodation At The Level of Being

To accommodate means to adapt and make somewhere fit for the presence of something or someone else. We stay in suitable accommodation. Restaurants accommodate for babies by providing high chairs and changing facilities. An organisation might accommodate employee needs with flexible working hours.

Such accommodations are the proverbial rising tide that lifts all boats. In other words, they are horizontal partnerships that work for the good of individuals and in recognition of the values and vision underpinning the whole.

Accommodating Our Sensitivity

When I talk with highly sensitive people, we often explore the characteristics of ideal environments and routines that provide conditions to flourish. Whether the objective is increased productivity and wellbeing at work, progress on creative pursuits, improvements in their relationships, or being more relaxed at home. We think about what would give them the conditions to tune into their senses and thrive without suppressing, censoring, or overwhelming the needs of their sensitive nervous system.

These conversations can sometimes lead into frustrations with other peoples’ behaviour. The tendency to point fingers of blame and to wish for people to change is strong. It’s also natural and understandable. It’s clear that certain places and people are not very accommodating of different needs and preferences.

Reorienting Sensitivity In an Unaccommodating World

We shouldn’t think of sensory processing sensitivity as something we want the world to put up with or reluctantly tolerate. It’s a biological trait that has evolved WITH humanity as a part of our collective nervous system and social survival strategy. So “accommodating” it is a case of the rising tide that lifts all ships. In this context, we can think of accommodation as developing awareness as early as possible. Shaping environments and routines. Communicating to assist understanding. And experimenting with different ways of doing and being.

One of the interesting findings in a recent study about sensitivity signalling points to ways accommodations have been demanded in the name of sensitivity.

Significantly, this goes against a community-minded vision that lifts all ships. Rather than creating conditions for the beautiful, deep, and nuanced potentials of those with the trait to contribute to and flourish within their communities, it appears to be about using the label to get away with separating themselves from the collective ocean.

Accommodations are agreements we collaborate on to make things work for everyone involved. They can’t work if they become a fight for domination and control.

Rising Sensitivity Lifts Human Potential

Clearly, there is a need to accommodate sensitivity in many areas of the world where it’s missing right now. Not to stop others from living life in their way or forcing people to be less than what they’re capable of. But to bring as yet unknown potentials into view, where we can all be so much more than we’re currently experiencing.

Accommodations are opportunities and possibilities rather than concessions and limitations. When everyone is able to not only exist but explore their potential, the whole hive benefits. It becomes alive to something new. It also requires time, patience, and good faith.

As we communicate and collaborate to co-create this proverbial rising tide that lifts all boats, we will gain a better view of new possibilities awaiting us on the horizon. And on we go, on our perennial quest towards, into, and around our ever-evolving individual and collective potentialities.

Have you ever received the gift of true accommodation?