You are never completely powerless in life, and you certainly are not inadequate. When something about yourself makes you feel that way, you need to remember that there is always a better, sweeter side to things. Every weakness has its own strengths. With being highly sensitive, the strength is in your ability to have a heightened experience of the world. Everything you sense and perceive becomes richer. The ability to feel pleasure is much stronger. The world becomes more: more beauty, more surprises, more mystery, more passion.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Milana Perepyolkina. Healer and spiritual guide, Milana Perepyolkina became a writer in order to share the ancient wisdom and magic of her Romani ancestry that she uses every day to make a difference in the lives of others. Having suffered throughout her life from countless physical and emotional ailments, Milana found that reconnecting with the energetic world allowed her to completely heal, transcend her troubles, and live a happy and more fulfilled life. In sharing that wisdom, Milana saw the powerful impact that the simplest techniques could make in transforming the lives of others. She wrote Gypsy Energy Secrets and Dark Chocolate for the Soul with the hope that her valuable knowledge could be spread to all those whom she could not personally reach.

Milana continues to embrace a lifestyle of consciousness, spirituality, and happiness, and seizes any opportunity to share her wisdom with others through personal consultations and readings. She presents a comprehensive approach to heightened well-being, focusing on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements. It is the mindful attention to each element that turns any day, no matter how bad, into a good day.

In addition to her two books, Milana created many products to help you live your life to the fullest. When was the last time you smiled all day? Would you like to turn your life from ordinary to extraordinary but don’t have time? She is offering shortcuts to happiness and wellbeing.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally?

I have two jobs: a day job where I review cutting-edge biomedical and social-behavioral research at a major hospital and a weekend job where I help people heal and discover their life’s purpose.

Thank you for your bravery and strength in being so open with us. I understand how hard this is. Can you help define for our readers what is meant by a Highly Sensitive Person? Does it simply mean that feelings are easily hurt or offended?

It is not just about your feelings. The TV volume is too loud for your ears. The light in the office is too bright for your eyes. The soup at the restaurant is too salty for your taste. The sweater is too scratchy for your body. The perfume is too strong for your nose. You may be highly sensitive in all areas of life: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Does a Highly Sensitive Person have a higher degree of empathy towards others? Is a Highly Sensitive Person offended by hurtful remarks made about other people?

Highly sensitive people are empaths. We feel what other people feel, both the positive and negative emotions. Hearing someone cry is unbearable, but seeing someone laugh or smile is infectious. You can’t help it. And no matter how difficult this makes your life sometimes, know that this is a gift. As an empath, you have the ability to feel more connected to the people around you and to help those who are suffering.

Does a Highly Sensitive Person have greater difficulty with certain parts of popular culture, entertainment or news, that depict emotional or physical pain? Can you explain or give a story?

Highly sensitive people don’t watch a movie as just a movie, it becomes a part of our lives. If good characters are suffering, we are suffering with them. If they fall in love, we fall in love with them. Their emotions become our emotions. A good movie may change our lives similar to a peak spiritual experience.

Can you please share a story about how your highly sensitive nature created problems at work or socially?

I don’t like being a highly sensitive person. It’s hard, having to always worry about the things that irritate me. Most of the time, I try to hide it from people. It makes me feel inadequate. Weird. But when I have to deal with it every day, it becomes impossible not to tell people. I have to tell my friends and coworkers that I prefer they don’t wear cologne or perfume or use that scented lotion that they like so much around me (which always gives me a reputation as the weird one). I have to ask the waiter to leave certain ingredients out of the dish and to absolutely not salt the food (which is always met with questioning looks). I have to ask people to turn off the light, turn the TV volume down, or to not make any noise when I’m trying to sleep (which always made it hard to share a room with my brother when I was little and with my roommates in college). I have to request that my hotel room is not by an elevator or ice machine. I have to tell my daughter that she can’t paint her nails in the house or that she has to go outside if she wants to put on perfume. I have to ask the sales clerk if there is anything cotton in the store and explain to her that I’m not just looking for something soft.

When did you suspect that your level of sensitivity was above the societal norm? How did you come to see yourself as “too sensitive”?

I am a highly sensitive person across all five senses. Number one: smell. Any time there is a strong smell, I get a headache. Doesn’t matter if it’s the natural flowers outside in bloom or the chemicals in gasoline and cleaning supplies. I can’t stand to be in the room. I can barely function. So many times I’ve found myself leaving the place, going somewhere else, telling people that I don’t feel well. I can’t stand perfume, cologne, tobacco, scented soaps and candles, nail polish, paint, lilies, hairspray, air freshener — the list goes on and on. I have to buy unscented alternatives for all my soap, shampoo, cleaning supplies, lotions, and laundry detergent. The less smell something has, the better.

Number two: touch. My skin becomes very easily irritated by all sorts of things. Unnatural fabrics, anything scratchy, clothes that are too tight or have a weird texture to them. I have to cut all the tags off my clothes and wear things that are only made out of natural fabrics — cotton, silk, wool, or linen. The amount of choices I have in a store are always limited because I can’t wear anything synthetic, no matter how great it looks on me. All of my clothes have to be washed with natural detergent. I’m also very sensitive to temperature and can’t be too hot or too cold. I have to spend a long time heating up my car in the winter before I can even sit down and start driving. I have a radiator in my office to keep me warm even in the summer because the air conditioning is too cold. I can’t stand to sit in front of a blowing air vent, even for a few seconds. My skin can’t handle a lot of pressure, so I feel pain easier than most people. All it takes is for me to stub my foot a little and I cry out in agonizing pain.

Number three: taste. I can detect even the smallest pinch of salt in my food and I can’t stand it. I’m unable to handle anything spicy. I can’t eat food if it has just come out of the oven or freezer — it always has to sit there and wait for several minutes before I can put it in my mouth. The more processed something is, the harder it is for me to eat it. I pick up on all the chemicals and preservatives in my food. This makes it a lot harder to eat out at restaurants or even to buy groceries at conventional supermarkets. I typically have to go to special health food stores where everything is much more expensive.

Number four: sight. The lighting always has to be just right. It can’t be too dark, otherwise I put too much strain on my eyes trying to see. I never watch TV in the dark and always have to turn the light on in the room in order to read a book, even if it’s still light outside. It can’t be too bright either. Fluorescent white lights are too harsh on my eyes. I always have to wear sunglasses when I go outside or drive, otherwise I can’t see or it hurts too much to squint all the time. And when I go to sleep, there can’t be any light on, anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s all the way down the hall from my room. It still keeps me from falling asleep.

Number five: sound. I can’t stand loud noises. Movie theaters and concerts give me instant headaches, and the TV and radio can never be on too loud. I’m unable to stand by someone who’s shouting. And on the opposite side of the spectrum, I pick up even the slightest sounds. Cars passing by on the street, the refrigerator running in the kitchen, whispers in the neighboring room, water gurgling in the aquarium. The house has to be absolutely silent while I’m asleep, otherwise I will wake up at the slightest sound. If I travel, I always have to bring earplugs with me so that I can sleep.

I’m sure that being Highly Sensitive also gives you certain advantages. Can you tell us a few advantages that Highly Sensitive people have?

It’s hard, being a highly sensitive person. So much of the time it made me feel powerless and limited in what I could do in life. But just like with everything else, I found a way to deal with it and make it into something not just manageable, but also enjoyable. I found stores that sold mostly cotton and natural fabrics, and I have absolutely loved every piece of clothing I’ve bought from them. I found natural essential oils that help block the smell of chemicals and purify the environment from harmful substances. In fact, these essential oils helped me with my friends and coworkers too. Once I started using them, everyone would ask me what that wonderful smell was. And when I told them that it wasn’t just for scent but also had purifying and healing properties, everyone wanted some. Soon I went from the weird overly sensitive one to the cool one with the amazing essential oils.

It didn’t take much. As soon as I put in the effort to find alternative ways of dealing with my high sensitivity, everything became easier. I stopped feeling inadequate and powerless. Instead, I embraced my sensitivities and decided that being highly sensitive just meant that I was more connected to the world around me. It meant that I could experience everything on a much richer level, with more feeling, sensation, and perception of the world than most other people are able to have. And that is just what I do. It feels incredible.

Can you share a story from your own life where your great sensitivity was actually an advantage?

My father was an incredible man. He wasn’t just a father figure to me. He was also my mentor, spiritual guide, and best friend. He taught me everything I know about energy exercises, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. He shared with me the secret practices of the Romani people and told me how to get through any physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual troubles. He was the reason I danced Gypsy dances when I was a kid, the reason I stared at campfires in search of a spiritual connection to the Higher Consciousness, and the reason I looked at the stars for messages from the Universe. He taught me how to be patient and creative, to love others unconditionally, and to live each day with an incredible passion for life. He was always there to lend an ear to me and listen to my problems. He always had a solution and answer to my troubles. When he passed away, I was devastated. But since I have heightened senses, I am able to pick up on the subtle energies around me. I decided to use this in meditation. I tuned into the energies surrounding me such that all my senses were enhanced. I allowed myself to relax and find my inner peace. I then started asking my father questions. And started hearing the answers.

There seems to be no harm in being overly empathetic. What’s the line drawn between being empathetic and being Highly Sensitive?

Not all empaths are highly sensitive in the physical area. It is possible to have only emotional sensitivity and not care about loud noises. It is possible to have only spiritual sensitivity and not care about hurtful comments from others. We are all different and the term “highly sensitive” can be separated into only physical, only emotional, only mental, or only spiritual sensitivity. It just happened that I am highly sensitive in all areas.

Social Media can often be casually callous. How does Social Media affect a Highly Sensitive Person? How can a Highly Sensitive Person utilize the benefits of social media without being pulled down by it?

Social Media is a two-dimensional reality but the same rules apply as for the real world. Learn to set your boundaries. You may look at someone’s newsfeed and get too involved, too engaged, too affected. Limit your social media time to no more than one hour a day. Then leave your phone at home and go for a walk. Highly sensitive people need much more time alone in nature than anyone else.

How would you respond if something you hear or see bothers or affects you, but others comment that you are being petty or that it is minor?

I am now used to explaining to others that I am a highly sensitive person. I explain why I feel what I feel and share my story.

What strategies do you use to overcome the perception that others may have of you as overly sensitive without changing your caring and empathetic nature?

I share the strengths of being a highly sensitive person. I share my near-death and out-of-body experiences that helped me understand that we are all one and caring about others is the same as caring about myself.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a Highly Sensitive Person? Can you explain what you mean?

The biggest myth is that we choose to be highly sensitive. We are born this way and can’t change even if we try our best.

As you know, one of the challenges of being a Highly Sensitive Person is the harmful, and dismissive sentiment of “why can’t you just stop being so sensitive?” What do you think needs to be done to make it apparent that it just doesn’t work that way?

Giving people this interview to read.

Can you share with us your “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive As A Highly Sensitive Person? Please give a story or an example for each.

You are never completely powerless in life, and you certainly are not inadequate. When something about yourself makes you feel that way, you need to remember that there is always a better, sweeter side to things. Every weakness has its own strengths. With being highly sensitive, the strength is in your ability to have a heightened experience of the world. Everything you sense and perceive becomes richer. The ability to feel pleasure is much stronger. The world becomes more: more beauty, more surprises, more mystery, more passion.

1. If you are highly sensitive to touch, you are able to pick up on the subtle energies around you. Use this in meditation. Put your hands on your lap and focus on the warmth of your skin or the softness of your clothes. Try to tune into the energies surrounding you such that all your senses are enhanced, in a good way. Allow yourself to relax and find your inner peace.

2. If you are highly sensitive to smell, find natural, non-synthetic essential oils and incorporate them into your daily routine. You can diffuse them in your house or office, put a couple drops into your morning water, or wear them like you would wear perfume or cologne. These oils have been used for thousands of years because of their incredible healing powers. Use them to promote your own wellness and stimulate your own healing or well-being. Share these oils with your friends and see how you can make a positive difference in their lives too. Trust me, they’ll love you for it.

3. With taste, try to find the simple pleasures in eating pure, natural foods. Savor a bite from a fresh juicy peach or a cool unsalted cucumber. Start cooking at home with fresh, natural ingredients. You know your taste preferences and sensitivities better than anyone else. Become your own five-star chef and make sure that your order is cooked to perfection every time, with all the necessary modifications.

4. With hearing, even though you can’t go to loud concerts, there are still plenty of wonderful things you can listen to. Have you ever sat outside at night and listened to the crickets? It’s like your own private concert right there in your backyard.

5. With sight, you may have to always wear sunglasses outside on a bright sunny day, but that also means that you see more colors around you. Go outside at sunrise or sunset and look at all the different hues you’re able to pick up with your eyes. You might even be able to see people’s auras, depending on your sensitivity and how in tune you are to others around you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I think the most important movement would be to teach children about highly sensitive traits. Those who have them would feel that they are not “weird.” And those who don’t have them would not bully highly sensitive kids.

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