5 Things on High Sensitivity

1.  We need another book about being highly sensitive other than Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person.  We need a book like Susan Cain’s Quiet , a book that comforted and inspired the introverted and informed the extroverted.  I want to read a book about high sensitivity that is part research, part journalism, part memoir, and part manifesto.  Elaine Aron meets Diane Ackerman meets Malcolm Gladwell meets Caroline Knapp.  I want to read that book very badly. Someone please write it.  If someone is writing it, I support and salute you.

2.  Until someone writes that book, I recommend Googling Elaine Aron and reading everything she has written.  Not just because she knows more about being highly sensitive than anyone else but because she’s a great writer.  Every time I finish reading something she’s written, I feel like less of a weirdo.  It’s a nice feeling.  And, she’s a great resource for new, deeper ways to look at every day things.  Her article on HSPs and dreams was one of the most comprehensive and thought-provoking treatments on the topic of dreams and dream analysis I’ve ever read.  Also, check out her article “Why HSPs’ tendency to worry about the real meaning of our life may make us healthier”:

…HSPs are more aware than others… Being aware of certain realities is painful, but being aware in general, well, most of us would not trade it for being less responsive to our world.


… John Stuart Mill said, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.”

3.  One of the things that I always wanted to write about why highly sensitive people need a lot of alone or quiet time, especially when overstimulated.  Usually when this topic comes up someone will write or say “I need time alone to recharge my battery”, like being alone gave them energy.  Usually you hear introverts saying it but I don’t think it applies to the HSP part of me.  I need solitude and quiet time because I need to release energy, not gain it.  I’m like a taut balloon, filled with air almost ready to burst from over stimulation almost all the time. Being alone and having quiet time allows me to release some of that stimulation, some of that air.  I suspect non-HSP extroverts are like limp, flaccid balloons without stimulation and seek it out to find their tautness.  And even they can have too much and need to be alone before they burst.  It just happens to me sooner.  I need very little stimulation or air to almost burst.  A very competitive game of Scrabble could do it.

5.  Is it just me or do other HSPs have difficult and fraught relationships?  Not just romantic ones, ALL relationships.  They’re painful.  I don’t have one relationship I’m not uneasy about.  And I worry about my lack of ease with people.

Part of it is that I overthink and overprocess everything and blow things out of proportion.  And the other part is that I notice everything — every move someone makes, everything someone says and doesn’t say, the tone of their voice — and I analyze it.  That’s probably part of the problem.  I think too much.  OK, I’ll stop thinking.  Yeah, right!  I even analyze and think I can pick up the tone in someone’s email.  “They didn’t use a pronoun!  What does that mean?”

Hey, I’m not the only one:



Maybe relationships aren’t supposed to be simple and easy.  Maybe the problem is my belief that they should be.  I don’t think this is a highly sensitive person issue.  It’s a human being issue.  I just think about it more. Damn brain!

5.  I was trying to come up with a list of ways being highly sensitive doesn’t suck the other day.  I only came up with two ways I feel my high sensitivity works for me:

  • I can tolerate other people’s painful, messy, sometimes ugly feelings.  I can listen to someone tell me how bad they feel about something without telling them they should be feeling something else or ‘be positive!” I notice I can do this usually when someone else isn’t doing it and tries to convince the person to change somehow.  I find it repulsive.  I hate being told how I feel is wrong or when someone else is told how they feel is wrong.
  • Because I hate small talk and like to go deep, I actually find out interesting, endearing things about people.
    You know how I do it?  I ask.

I still wouldn’t change a thing no matter how much it sucks.


10 thoughts on “5 Things on High Sensitivity

  1. Hi M. I would love to read more on the subject of HSP’s and being bullied. There is not much there on the net. I would also like to read how different parts of the country, culture, ethnicity etc impact on HSPness. I live in the working class north of England, i can tell you it is ALOT less accepting of HSP traits than when i lived in the south.People are repulsed by it i feel, they can sense your ‘weakness’, which really is just a gentle sensitive nature. I agree about relationships. My become too deep too fast and then i feel like i’m not me anymore, but them. This happens when i meet someone even for a couple of days and we get on! .D


    1. Hi … I haven’t read anything on HSP and bullying or much on the differences in how high sensitivity is viewed by different cultures. We might have to write the books or on the topics we want to read. That’s the great thing about having a blog.
      Yeah, HSP have special issues when it comes to relationships but everyone struggles in that area. We’re just more aware of how difficult and exhausting they can be and it affects us more deeply.


  2. Dr. Ted Zeff’s has a book fur out in January 2015 that I’m really looking forward to:

    The book contains 44 success stories that have been submitted from sensitive people from 10 different countries. Highly Sensitive People throughout the world have shared their triumphs and happiness living with the trait of high sensitivity, which will empower the global HSP community.”

    Being highly sensitive doesn’t suck at all. Being an HSP and the mother of a HSC, I can only see the beauty and magic of it, despite the struggles. My son has actually taught me a lot about myself and has allowed me to appreciate this trait so much more than I ever have. Come on over to my blog and read our stories, you might to start seeing it the way I do now 🙂

    I loved the cartoon you posted. Your comments about overthinking things reminded me of a post a friend of mine write that I could really relate to: http://highlysensitivechild.net/2012/05/16/texting-and-the-highly-sensitive-teen/

    I really hope you can start to see how wonderful sensitivity is and what a gift it is to the world.


  3. I love that cartoon! I’m an HSP. I’ve totally taken emails like that the wrong way too! lol I’m getting better though I’ve stopped trying to analyze them. Every now and again I have those thoughts though.. I just tend to brush them off quicker.


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