Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandria Thibodeaux.
Alexandria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m commonly called Lexi, but I prefer Alexandria – I’m owning that now; personal development does that to you.
I’m a 28 years old, bubbly and exuberant multicultural Cajun living in Denver with my darling, HSP husband, John Malley, and our fur babies: Zuni & Theodore, our little lions, & Herman, our little wolf/dingo. Life is good here amongst the mountains.
I am also the poster child for HSPs. There are 27 questions on the HSP assessment and I scored 26! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
My HSP Story
I learned I was a Highly Sensitive Person about a year ago. I’ll never forget that moment. My entire life, I was frustrated with who I was because I thought that I was difficult – difficult for others to deal with and difficult for myself to understand and deal with. I felt like something was always wrong with me because I reacted, thought, and felt so deeply and so strongly about so many things and it confused and frustrated me why others didn’t empathize with me, validate me intense emotions and reactions, understand them, or quite frankly, feel and react the same way I did.
It wasn’t until I was venting to one of my friends about how frustrated I was with myself that I literally could not keep a job, any job, in any field, in any career path, that didn’t make me completely and utterly miserable and depressed. At this time, John and I had just moved to Denver for his job and I had finally quit my 3-year hellacious, corporate career six months earlier without anything lined up in Denver. Out of financial desperation, I broke my promise to myself that I would never, ever work a traditional job again because they didn’t align with me in any way and made me miserable, I took a desk job at a staffing agency. The second I started working there, I absolutely hated it. I knew I would. I should’ve listened to myself and protected my peace. I should’ve honored my boundaries. So, within two weeks, I had a breakdown and quit. I was so mad at myself for not being able to cope with the world like everybody else.
Why am I so difficult!? I’m crazy!”, I said to my friend.
And then, she said the words that would change my life forever: “you’re not crazy, you’re just ‘highly sensitive’”.
When she said those words: highly sensitive, they immediately resonated with me. STRONGLY. They sounded familiar but I couldn’t pinpoint why…
Since my B.A. is in psychology, I thought I must’ve learned it in school. But after much thought and perusing of my old textbooks, I realized my classes weren’t the origin of my familiarity with this term.
But I confidently thought, “this is a thing. I swear this is a thing!”
I gave it a Google and to my pleasant shock, it sure was! It sure IS!
I instantly felt validated in who I was and everything finally made sense – soooo much sense.
This immediately shifted my self-attitude from negative to positive. From limiting to expanding. From diffidence to confidence. From flawed to sound. From unhealthy to thriving.
At that time, I had just completed a career coaching program, in which I discovered my career that “felt like home”. I discovered being a coach was what totally aligned with me, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to coach on.
Once I discovered I was an HSP, that was it. It was a no brainer. I was going to help my fellow HSPs and those who know and love them. It felt right. And it is. I feel it every day. Mmmm… that is such a beautifully overwhelming feeling.
With my realization and positive life change, my goal is to help you change yours, too, and to create a global understanding and compassion for our under-known, under-appreciated, magnificent trait.
I’ve ALWAYS been extremely passionate and sharp about love and relationships and am thrilled and humbled to be part of others’ journeys to creating lives enveloped in healthy, happy relationships without having to change who they are.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh my goodness, this road was ANYTHING but smooth! Truly understanding who I have been my whole life coupled with trying to embrace who I was WHILE living in a society that rejects my￼ temperament for being highly sensitive has been a constant, uphill battle. I’ve wrestled with anxiety and depression my whole life and that just added to the misery, confusion, and frustration of disliking who I was and struggling to belong in our harsh society that’s unaccepting of￼ sensitivity and champions stoicism and toughness.
One of the most common and￼ difficult challenges that comes with being an HSP is finding the right career. Many HSPs job/career hop because eventually, we realize that most conventional workplace environments and standards do not suit our needs and does the opposite of protecting our peace.￼￼￼￼
Since I was 16, I knew that I wanted to be a marriage and family therapist. So, I followed that trajectory, got a BA in psychology in undergrad and planned on going to graduate school right after. But my senior year of college, the worst timing, I decided I no longer wanted to do that because I now wanted a career in nutrition. For years following graduation, I wrestled with how to make a career in nutrition and realized it wasn’t feasible for a number of reasons. I couldn’t become a registered dietitian because I have a math disability and couldn’t pass the coursework. And I didn’t think that I could be at Health Coach because I didn’t think those credentials would suffice for people in the Midwest, where I was living at the time. Lots of limiting beliefs ￼ puncturing my brain.
For the time being, I had been working at infant and toddler Montessori school for a year and a half after graduation, and out of desperation trying to follow my passion for nutrition, I quit the school and got a job at a local health/wellness retail store making $8.50 an hour. That lasted about two months because it was miserable and I made no money.
Out of desperation to make money and have a “legit” career and doing what we are all “supposed” to do in our society, I connected with a college friend and got a corporate entry-level job where she worked. ￼My first position was entry-level, working in a call center, and that was one of the most miserable, debilitating times of my life. A year later I got promoted, and then I got promoted again the following year, climbing the corporate ladder, making more money, gaining more prestige – ￼doing well by societal standards. But those three years were incredibly taxing, debilitating, miserable and truly life-sucking. ￼None of what I was doing in my career was authentic to who I was or what I wanted.
￼But I stayed because I didn’t think that I had any other skills to work in a different career, I was making good money and I had tons of bills and I just was so lost and felt so defeated.￼￼￼￼
I finally quit that job, that career, thinking I was going to finally follow one of my passions and work in animal welfare. I had nothing lined up but signed up for a volunteer program that rehabbed wild animals. Thought about working at an animal shelter but realize the compassion fatigue would destroy me. So, I was stuck yet again.
Three months later, I enrolled in a career coaching program because I was so lost and so done with being miserable. My life was at stake.
Fast forward six months, in the midst of my program, ￼my husband gets an incredible job opportunity in Denver and we moved from St. Louis to wonderful Colorado. That’s when I got a job working at a staffing agency out of pure desperation to make money in this expensive city.
As previously stated, that lasted two weeks because the second I got the job offer, I KNEW the environment, job structure, standards, and requirements would absolutely not suit me. I actually told myself I would never work a conventional, standard job ever again after I quit my corporate career, ￼and I broke my promise.
And then, two months later, I had that life-changing conversation with my friend about my high sensitivity￼￼￼￼. At this point, I had completed my career coaching program and discovered that the right career for me was to be a coach, but I didn’t know what to focus on in my practice.￼ once I learned this about myself, there was no turning back – this was right.
The incredible thing is, I’ve circled back to my foundation – working in the helping professions, counseling people, making an impact in their lives, and truly helping people thrive. What a whirlwind! Took me 5-6 years to get here but I got here!￼￼￼￼￼
￼￼But there is also lots of self-doubt and limiting believes because I didn’t think being a nutrition coach would be valued, especially in the midwest, where I was living at the time. ￼￼￼I realized since I was 16, I knew that I wanted to be a marriage and family therapist. So, I followed that trajectory, got a BA in psychology in undergrad and planned on going to graduate school right after. But my senior year of college, worst timing, I decided I no longer wanted to do that because I wanted to focus on nutrition. ￼
Please tell us about Alexandria Thibodeaux.
I am a relationship/communication coach for HSPs and I’m known as the go-to source for relationship guidance.
HSPs are people who possess a personality trait called Sensory Processing Sensitivity; it’s not a disorder or condition – it’s just a personality trait – a temperament. ￼HSPs possess a combination of acute sensory and emotional awareness. We can be easily overwhelmed when they’re over-stimulated or can notice small changes in a room before anyone else. We can easily tap into their emotions but are also astute and perceptive individuals. We may feel out of place in a society that doesn’t tolerate or accommodate their heightened sensitivity, but they’re highly capable people.
Our nervous systems are wired to be more sensitive than most others. As a result, we experience increased arousal as a reaction to various stimuli within our environment – this results in overarousal.
According to Elaine N. Aaron, Ph.D., the psychologist who discovered the trait and coined the term “Highly Sensitive Person” in 1991, says, “The difference in arousability means that HSPs notice levels of stimulation that go on observed by others.” This, of course, results in the personality trait of being highly sensitive.
15-20% of the population have the HSP trait, which was likely inherited, and it equally affects both men and women. ￼
I help HSPs first cultivate and maintain a secure and beautiful relationship to self. I help them to ￼truly understand, accept, embrace, and become empowered by ￼their temperament and the unique and beneficial gifts innate to the HSP nervous system and brain. ￼￼￼I help them use these incredible gifts to self-regulate during times of overwhelm. I help them to heal from HSP trauma, ￼build a toolkit of￼￼￼ useful, productive and helpful practice￼￼s to ￼demonstrate and help them use this newfound knowledge, empowerment, healing, and toolkit to thrive in relationships.
Because HSPs notice subtleties in our ￼ environments, react more strongly to various stimuli and think & feel very deeply, relationships tend to be more challenging for us. This includes friendships, familial relationships, colleague, and of course, romantic partnerships.￼￼
And the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our relationships – most importantly and foremost, our relationship to self, which is the most important and significant relationship of all.
In essence, I help HSPs thrive in relationships!￼
I do so through my signature program called “HSP Serenity￼” that lasts 12 weeks. It’s an online program that encompasses written work, deep reflection, 1:1 virtual sessions with me, and mastermind virtual sessions with others in the program. Each week, a different module is presented to my clients to work on and at the end of the program, their growth process comes full circle. ￼￼￼It’s a truly transformative process that caters to everyone’s individual needs and goals￼.
The program also covers common HSP dilemmas such as enmeshment, codependency, and insecure/disorganized relationships and how to resolve those issues and prevent them from happening again.
My other goal is to create global awareness and start a global conversation on the temperament of sensory processing sensitivity and HSPs in an attempt to educate the world on this beautiful trait and attempt to foster a more sensitive world.
In the future, I plan to expand my business to work with those who are not HSPs themselves but want to better connect with and understand their HSP loved ones.
I also plan to work heavily with HSP & non/HSP men in the future in an attempt to foster more sensitivity in men, since in our society/culture they are not supposed to be, show or execute sensitivity. I want to help them embrace this natural part of them because everyone is sensitive on a spectrum, HSPs are just higher on that spectrum.
I’m so incredibly proud of myself for starting a business that truly honors who I am, how I want to make an impact, how I want to live, and that truly honors 15 to 20% of the world population who is not getting the specialized attention, love, and guidance that they need in order to thrive – this is what truly sets me apart. ￼￼Most HSPs don’t even know that they are an HSP! Most have never even heard of this trait! I was the exact same; until I spoke to my friend, I didn’t know about this trait. And once I found out, everything made sense and I was validated in every. People, not just HSPs, need to know about this.￼￼
There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
What’s worked well for me is finding mentors and networking via:
– Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette: it’s a podcast and that’s where I discovered Jacki Carr, my now friend! She’s also an amazing goals coach! She has these free events called Goals Hikes, and that’s where I’ve met some incredible friends, mentors, inspirational women, and muses. And also through the podcast, I have attended a Real Talk Retreat hosted by Nicole, and now I am able to call Nicole and other podcast listeners, my friends, and inspirations!
– Facebook groups: I met my coach, Susan, via a facebook group called, “Coaches helping Coaches”. It’s also where I found my business coach, Caroline Soldo.
– Instagram: I DM people all the time to give them praise, my support, or ask questions. It’s a great way to network and learn from other people and to make new friends.
- Website: alexandriathibodeaux.com
- Phone: 6306968647
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/alexandriathibodeaux
- Facebook: facebook.com/alexandriathibodeaux
John Malley and Anna Pupillo