As Annemarie Roeper explains:
“To understand any human being, any child, and certainly any gifted child, we need to focus on the Self, the inner core. The Self has no choice but to pursue its inner goal, the way a flower must follow its inner destination.“
Consequently, a pluralist and personalized model of health is essential to a highly sensitive child in order to foster positive perception of higher sensitivity or overexcitability, and to develop individual differences and autonomy from the group (Aron, 2006)[i].
A self-realization process can be understood as a psychological and/or spiritual process, which leads people to find and walk their own path.
In psychology, this process is called autopsychology (Dąbrowski, 1967) [ii], a way to develop our own self-growth and find our own self-expression. Self-realization is similar to the process of enlightenment found in most spiritual traditions.
Self realization happens over time. The integral theory model[iii] suggests a personal development progression through levels (or waves) of reality. In the figure below, we see levels or waves in each quadrant demonstrating a holarchy, a kind of hierarchy wherein each new level transcends the limits of the previous levels but includes the essential aspects of those same levels. Each wave inherits the wave of the past and adds a new level of organization or capacity. As a result, each level of complexity or depth is both a part of a larger structure and a whole structure in and of itself. In the subjective realm, sensations are transcended and included in impulses, which are transcended and included in emotions, which are transcended and included in symbols, which are transcended and included in concepts. Likewise, in the intersubjective realm this dynamic occurs from archaic interpretations to magical explanations, to mythical stories, to rational views, to integral understandings. In the objective realm this movement occurs from atoms to molecules, to cells, to tissues, to organs. And in the interobjective realm this occurs in the movement from galaxies to planets, to ecosystems, to families, to villages. A general pattern of evolution or development occurs in each quadrant: depth enfolds (i.e., folds in on itself) and complexity increases (i.e., expands out and includes more).”
Figure 18. Some levels in the four quadrants.
This spectrum participate in the general movement of a widening identity: from “me” (egocentric) to “my group” (ethnocentric) to “my country” (sociocentric) to “all of us” (worldcentric) to “all beings” (planetcentric) to finally “all of reality” (Kosmoscentric). This general trajectory of expanding awareness can bring us closer to who we are.
While in this model, a linear sequence of stages is identified, it seems more likely that we jump from one level to another, sometimes forward, sometimes backward, depending on our personal growth development. While in this model, the sensitive self is positioned in the highest levels of development, for a highly sensitive child, it is the base. From this notion of self, the rest will derive. When connecting to ancestral knowledge, an individual can move backwards in time, increasing familial and cultural knowledge, which will alter the notion of “self” necessary for self-realization. Once these processes are moving through us, we can begin to participate in sharing our knowledge and help younger generations adapt to their environment.
This can happen once a highly sensitive child has learned to re calibrate the senses, train the mind to positive approaches to perceive and analyze the world, developed sensory insights and understand himself or herself. And, eventually, as adults, they may become able to pass on the sensory knowledge they have acquired to others and help them on their own journey to self-realization.
Figure 19 HSP Health Model
E= Environment & Social Life
[i] Aron, E. N. (2006). “The Clinical Implications of Jungs Concept of Sensitiveness”. Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice 8: 11–43.
[ii] Dabrowski, K. (1967). Personality-shaping through Positive Disintegration. Boston, Mass.: Little Brown.
[iii] Esbjorn-Hargens, Sean (2009). “An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. An Overview of Integral Theory”. Integral Post. Integral life. March 12th, 2009. https://www.integrallife.com/integral-post/overview-integral-theory