Tidying Up – Sensor Style
Understanding a Sensor's need for order & beauty
Understanding a Sensor's need for order & beauty
In the spirit of Spring, I’ve been tidying up. A lot. I moved house while my baby was young and hadn’t really organised the place and then suddenly he’s a toddler! So things became pretty untidy. And it’s been really, really bothering me. Even though it’s a dream home, I’ve been tense and frustrated with it, unable to really relax and enjoy it, finding problems with it.
Then I had a mental breakthrough.
Keeping your environment tidy is the key to keeping your mind tidy.
I know, I’m late to the game here. “Tidying up” is already a thing, it’s on Netflix, and it’s so 2018. (I missed all that while I was busy..)
But I’m bringing it up with a different angle. I wrote this for the Sensors Facebook group, but really, the concept is relevant to everyone. (Just not in the specifics…don’t try make yourself be a Sensor if you’re not one!)
Tidiness is a demonstration of order. Sensors NEED order. It’s not just a nice thing, or something to do to gain social approval. It’s a requirement for optimal mental function. While other types can function in varying levels of order (or what might seem like disorder to a Sensor) Sensor minds MUST have order around them to have order within. Crusaders also need very high levels of order.
Consider a bird’s nest. It is incredibly neat and delicate. And it’s not just to look pretty (though the aesthetics are just as important as its function.) It must be held together in an intricate, perfectly balanced weaving so that it can support the bird’s weight, and any eggs and young, whilst not falling out of the tree, while also providing adequate protection from the elements and predators. It must be perfectly balanced to meet all of its requirements. They can’t just slap it together or leave it half done. It MUST be perfect. This isn’t “perfectionism” on the part of the bird. It’s survival.
This is the key for Sensors. We want things to be perfect, not because we are “fussy” – we want perfect form for perfect function. Aesthetics is tied to functionality. They are not separate. Form informs function. So if the form of something is messy, incomplete, illogical, or unattractive, it’s functionality will be messy, incomplete, illogical, or unattractive. That is how our minds function. They crave order, neatness, predictability, and aesthetic beauty, because all those states improve functionality. Crusader minds are very similar in this regard, with the emphasis on order for efficient functionality. Diplomat minds need aesthetics for the comfort and security it brings. Sensor minds need both beauty and order.
Order saves unnecessary expenditure of mental and physical energy. This is crucial for Sensors, as we must constantly balance our energy outputs. We can’t afford to expend energy filtering through clutter, disorder or disharmony. And Sensors notice everything. When we want to create, we can’t have our systems loaded with extraneous stimulus. Creation is what our minds are made for. Everyone’s mind is, but Sensor minds are exceptionally so.
When a Sensor is immersed in a harmonious and beautiful environment, their nervous system is calm. As “over the top” as this may seem to other types, something out of place, a typo, a wonky line, a flickering light or humming machine, is all noticed by a Sensor’s nervous system, and needs to be filtered. If their system is overwhelmed with too much to process and filter; too much disorder, too much unpredictability, too much intensity, they lose the ability to function optimally – which is to focus and create.
The need for harmony and order extends to all aspects of a Sensor’s environment, and benefits all aspects of their functionality. Of course a tidy workspace and house increases your ability to function in those spaces. The cleanliness also supports immune function, which can easily be compromised in a Sensor by the myriad of factors that are constantly being filtered. Well tailored clothes are beautiful, and also help maintain a stable body temperature for Sensors, which is critical for a body that easily loses warmth. Beautiful fabrics have an aesthetic appeal, but equally are critical in minimising unnecessary sensory stimulus – wearing uncomfortable clothes can contribute to an overwhelmed mood faster than you could even realise. Yoga or ballet doesn’t just make us look pretty while we do it; the perfectly focused, predictable and flowing movements settle our nervous systems down. It all makes sense – outside, and within.
It’s about focusing your energy expenditure. Sensors are in a constant state of attentiveness, which is what can easily tip us into sensory overload – which we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we hit this point all it takes is someone chewing too loudly and we can lose it. This is why other types can think we are “SO sensitive” – why would we find someone chewing such a big deal? What they don’t realise, and sometimes we don’t either, is that our nervous system has been processing an infinite amount of stimulus from the moment we woke up (and while we were asleep) and it’s saying it just can’t process any more right now.
We can’t make other people not chew, and we can’t always be on our own, (sigh), so we need to do everything we can to minimise our sensory processing.
Keep things orderly AND beautiful. Your house, your computer files, your lists, your garden, your clothes and accessories. Your life.
Immerse yourself in harmony.
Then when things come along that are disharmonious, like…another person, or a sudden change in circumstances, you can process it effortlessly. You’re not flustered and overwhelmed. Just as you can find everything in your tidy house or workspace, you can find everything you need in your mind. You can easily find the “patience” file and pull it out to use it. Then you can find the “sensible solution” file and apply it.
Then you can go back to what you were focusing on, which is creating something wonderful.
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