I  had never changed a tire by myself.

To be more self reliant and independent I want to learn how to. I learn best when someone shows me how to do something, instead of googling it. Because patience isn’t one of my strengths.

It was a cold snowy winter day and I really needed to change my tires for a trip. I expected to know how to do it on my own after doing it once before with help. Quite an unrealistic expectation, yet it was there.

I felt overwhelmed, trying to remember everything at the same time. I was nervous even though I had help from someone who is great at explaining things and is very patient.

I wanted to show off how independent I am and how much I remembered. I was afraid to make a mistake. I was worried to do the wrong thing and break something.

The first step is to put something behind the other three tires to stop the car from moving.Then to loosen the bolts that hold the tire. I asked about the names of the bolts and the machine we used to loosen them.

I felt uncomfortable on my knees holding the heavy machine. Pressing the button that tightens the bolt instead of loosening it. Pressing the other button too hard and loosening the bolt too much. Tightening a bit more. Loosening the remaining bolts. Feeling uncomfortable with the machine. Noticing the sound of the machine.

A nosy neighbor approaching us, wanting to chat. My fear of him telling me I am doing this all wrong. Just focusing on what I am doing, giving short answers. Hoping he gets the hint and leaves. Feeling bad for wanting to focus on the task and not chatting with him.

Next step, jack up the van. Worried about finding the right spot. Afraid of the jack. Always afraid of making mistakes. Afraid of being laughed at. Even though he wouldn’t do that. The old fear of being criticized. Mistaking kind instructions and explanations for criticism.

Feeling frustrated with myself for feeling all those things.

Finally taking the bolts off, lifting the tire of the van. Barely being able to lift up the heavy tire and putting it on. I want to do it on my own. Tightening the bolts. Breathing, relaxing a bit. How do I lower the jack slowly again? My mind feeling empty. Feeling embarrassed to ask again.

First one done. Take a deep breath. This is not so bad. Feeling happy. Whats next? Noticing that part of my head is thinking about how I can use this experience in a blog. Worried that I won’t have the right names for the tools, bolts  and all the parts. Realizing that it doesn’t matter if I don’t know all the correct names. That it is more important now to change the tires. That it is okay to ask questions. I push my need to know everything aside and focus on what is really important. Getting these snow tires on before it starts to snow more and before it gets dark.

Second tire.

I am focused. Talk less and take my time to think through the steps I need to do. I describe what I need to do next. I feel comfortable asking for validation.  My busy mind wants to wander off and write this blog while I am still changing the tire.

More questions come to mind while I am doing one step at a time. Valid questions, but not important to the task at hand. Those questions want to have my attention, when my attention needs to be focused on my work. I reign in my busy mind and I focus.

Third tire.

Some of the bolts have a different size and we need to change the thing on the machine, otherwise it won’t work. I automatically assume that I am dumb for not noticing this right away. For rightly assuming that they all should be the same. Being mad at myself for using the wrong one and grinding down on the bolts, thinking that they are just rusty. The ground down bolts are more difficult to loosen and I am becoming nervous again.

I am mad at myself for not expecting trouble. We manage to get it done. I blamed myself for not knowing that something was wrong.

Fourth tire.

I feel confident. This one should be easy since I managed to do the first three. I put the machine on to loosen the first bolt. Nothing moves. I check if I accidentally tightened it.

No. I try the next one and the next one. None of them budge. I get mad at myself for not being strong enough. Yet when he, who is much stronger than I am tries, nothing happens either.

I was so quick to find fault with myself never considering that sometimes it is entirely out of your control. It took our combined effort and strength to loosen those bolts. When we put the tire on and lower the jack we see that the tire is losing air.


It’s getting darker as we quickly replace the broken tire. Feeling frustrated that there is an unexpected step to be done. Yet I am also feeling very proud of having done most of the work myself.

What did I learn?

1.Focus on what is really important to do. Don’t get sidetracked with additional information. Our natural inclination as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) to deeply process information can lead to unnecessary overwhelm and stress. Focus. Focus again and again

2.Overthinking creates over-stimulation and worry for HSPs. Fear of what others might think about our lack of knowledge. It’s normal not to know what I don’t know. I remind myself to be okay with asking questions until I get it. Everyone forgets things and needs to ask for help.

It’s important to give myself the benefit of the doubt and not to be so hard on myself.

3.I am so quick to think that I am the problem. I am quick to acknowledge everyone’s progress and accomplishments. I take my progress and knowledge for granted.Jumping to wrong conclusions.

4.I have unrealistic expectations, wanting to be perfect before even getting started. This creates a lot of unnecessary fear and stress.

This experience was a great reminder for myself that as a Highly Sensitive Person it is very beneficial to be aware of my feelings, and my environment so I can respond in a way that is most beneficial for me.

Blog and Photo by Karin Goldgruber

Karin Goldgruber writes about life as a Highly Sensitive Person HSP, how to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm and how to find authentic answers to your life questions.
She is a Certified Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner who specializes in working with Highly Sensitive People who experience problems in their relationship because of this innate trait.
As a Highly Sensitive Person herself she has overcome many challenges and obstacles and encourages and empowers others to do the same.