Crybaby! Quit your whining! You are too sensitive ! Too sensitive? Thanks for the compliment! Seriously, if you have been told this in a negative conatation, You have a gift! Yes a gift!
A few years back, I read a book about Highly Sensitive People or “HSP’s.
We all go through adolescence where our hormones are changing, both body and mind are like the Polar Express train going off the rails just trying to make it to the station of adulthood. During this time period, experienced parents know, this is a only phase (this is also called the graying of hair phase for them). This phase is not the the topic at hand.
As a society, if memory serves, about 30% of society are considered to be HSP.
If you wear the mark of an HSP you may ask, “how can this be a gift?”
Indulge me for a moment,
As an HSP, You see things differently than most others. Standing on a crowded bus, an elderly man struggles to catch his balance and while most others are totally oblivious to his plight, you stand up to render aid. Almost on queue another HSP takes action with you. During that moment not a word is exchanged (let’s call it “HSP vision”), and you know you see the would through the same lenses. This is not to say non-HSPs are insensitive and unfeeling but rather let’s consider the contrast like that of two types of animals, an armadillo and a frog. The “non-HSP armadillo”, it trudges through life, able to endure heat and drought. It has poor vision and not keenly aware of what is going on around it. When the world throws rocks at it, it has plenty of armor shall we say a thick skin.
The HSP is like a frog. By taking in oxygen it needs to breathe through the pores of its skin. As it’s environment becomes toxic, it’s struggle becomes evident. Ever on on guard for predators with its large watchful eyes. When the environment is a pristine clean pond, with minimal chaos, it thrives.
Of late “suck it up buttercup” “go to your cryroom” moments coined in abrasive news feeds poses the question, if this is a gift, how can we a a human race benefit from it? Take heart my super sensitive human being,,historically, we would have known HSPs as noblemen/women. Advisors to kings and heads of state. It was their ability to quickly assess risk in the political environment that earned them their place in history
Not to say HSP are better but rather play a different role
The book also talked about one of the burdens that come with being an HSP was to be “overstimulated”. Not being able to shut off your radar is inherent.
The key to managing this is to withdraw, find a place of quiet and peace until you are able to process all that you have taken it. Just as the thought and acceptance of high sensitivity being a gift rather than a detriment spoke to my inner being, I hope that in some way, it would enlighten others of the same disposition. And for my armadillos friends , all the best!
Thank you to Elaine Aron for exploring The Highly Sensitive Person in the spirit of understanding.