5 Things on High Sensitivity #2

1.  How has the holiday season been for you?  You may have noticed from the posts of the last few weeks that I have been cranky.  I reached peak crankiness last week.  My crankiness is waning now and will be over by January 1st.  The last two weeks of December are my least favorite weeks of the year because they’re always full of stuff I try to avoid:  small talk, shopping, stress.  The only time I drink is during the last two weeks of December.  Alcohol doesn’t touch my lips at any other time.  The idea of drinking alcohol doesn’t occur to me at any other time of the year.  I don’t drink to be festive.  I drink to take the edge off of my crankiness.

As I have written many, many times I don’t like to be told how or when I should feel certain things like having goodwill towards your fellow man and pretending to want peace and pretending to care and all that jazz because the calendar says it’s December.  It’s so oppressive to me.  The one thing we all have that is ours is our feelings and even that our culture tries to control and manipulate.  You may be thinking “Just go with it, Mel”.  No.

2.  Ane Axford has finally re-emerged with a post on Facebook and she has again written something so … there’s no word to describe it.  It just makes me say YES:

…Maybe there is no discrimination, only exploitation that we allow because we want to be fixed…our true weakness is the belief that we need to be fixed, rather than the belief that all we need is currently available to us. And if we can reveal the areas in which we feel sick or weak then we open them rather than allow them to become buttons for exploitation. I don’t want to exploit HSPs…”once your awareness becomes a flame, it burns up the whole slavery that the mind has created. There is no blissfulness more precious than freedom, than being a master of your own destiny.” OSHO

…maybe freedoms is technical. Maybe it’s about allocation. Maybe it’s about not being exploitable. Not settling. Not settling for something you don’t really want now so that you can have the fantasy of something you want in the future instead. Not allowing the false situation that arises from my button being pushed. Not paying the price of the button. Letting the button break. Push it so hard that it shatters….”My mother said I broke her heart…but it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it’s all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us…but within that inch we are free. I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It’s small and its fragile and it’s the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.” V for Vendetta…”it’s useless to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” Jonathan Swift

This is more powerful and inspirational to me than a thousand positive affirmations.
I was never reasoned into so many things I have come through this year. And I have my inch. I was scared of losing it. Maintaining it was a tricky game for me within my work and what calls me. Things are burning down right now. My sites are down. But it’s not defeat or disappearance. It’s burning. I am burning. And I wanted to let you know that. I don’t have anything else to say but it felt important that I let you know that sensitive leadership has led me to a deeper place of sensitive leadership. This burning IS me. This space IS me. This silence IS me. More and more and more and more. Right now, I am moving slowly. It feels miraculous that I can move slowly. I am dancing slowly. It is a revolution. This is still the sensitive revolution. “A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.” V for Vendetta…”Zen says truth has nothing to do with authority, truth has nothing to do with tradition, truth has nothing to do with the past — truth is a radical, personal realization. You have to come to it.” OSHO

I am. I have. I do.

Why don’t I “just go with it”?  That inch that says “no” is all I have.

3.  Speaking of saying “no”, I’m saying no, again, to getting out of my comfort zone.

comfort zone
I don’t agree with this drawing by Kaitlyn
Seeing this drawing just reinforced my beliefs about comfort zones which I wrote about here. This drawing has close to 800,000 notes on Tumblr.  It seems to resonate with people.  It is just plain wrong to me.  It espouses the idea that things that are worthwhile and interesting are outside of you.  The worthwhile and interesting things in my life are inside.  This drawing suggests that you can’t have worthwhile and interesting things AND comfort.  Why can’t you bring worthwhile and interesting things into your comfort zone?  Why can’t you grow your comfort zone instead of always leaving it?

3.  I found a research paper that looked into HSP and careers titled “The Integral Being: A Qualitative Investigation of Highly Sensitive Persons and Temperament Appropriate Careers”  by Tracy Cooper, Ph.D.  I didn’t read the whole thing because:

1.  It’s boring (Why does academic writing have to be so dull?)
2.  There’s very little new information.

I skimmed.  Cooper only interviewed 35 highly sensitive people. Anyone without a Ph.D. could have written this paper and arrived at his conclusions which could be summed up as “HSP have a hard time finding fulfilling and appropriate work that fits their temperament”.  Really?

The best parts of the paper were the personal stories shared by the participants.  Here’s one from Samantha on her mission in life:

I have a very primal motivation that I don’t want other people to have the childhood I had. I don’t want people to have the life I have had. That underlies an enormous amount of what I do. I was treated in very unfortunate and unpleasant ways and I will be damned if I will let that happen to anybody else. There is a huge protective streak. There is huge sense of wanting to make life better and there is a huge sense that each of us has something of importance. I spent a lot of time being told that I was over sensitive, and that I was immature, and that I was this and I was that. To look back on all of that and say all of these things have created a person who generally speaking is pretty damn empathic and is able to walk in other people’s shoes and help other people out and let other people see another perspective. That is playing to the world that I have created. My whole motivation is that I don’t want other people to live the life I have had to. I want them to have a better shot. I sort of fight for at least my little corner to be a nicer place. 


I don’t think we need more people doing studies on HSP.  We need more HSP to become revolutionaries like Samantha.

4.  If you want to read something on the HSP experience that is not boring, read Kim Clair Smith’s touching and vulnerable article about being HSP and travelling and friendship, A Social Butterfly I Am Not.  Great photos as well.

5.  I was re-reading one of my old notebooks and I came across a list I started writing on lesser known ways to figure out if you’re highly sensitive.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • You wouldn’t be the CEO of a corporation.  You’d be the whistle-blower.
  • You feel weird but you think everyone else is weird and they don’t know it.
  • No one listens to you when you give them a warning or suggestion but then later (sometimes 20 years later) they admit that you were right.
  • You’re still trying to find yourself well past the age that this is appropriate or acceptable.
  • “Doing nothing” is a scheduled event.
  • Something bothers you.  You try to come up with ways to prevent that something from bothering you.  You get cocky and think you’ve found a way to handle the bother when you’re blindsided and bothered all over again.
  • You know you have a tremendous ability to be close to people and for intimate relationships but, you still have few of those relationships.
  • You want to live in a cave.  A cave with Wi-Fi.

Maybe those only apply to me.  Especially that last one.


15 thoughts on “5 Things on High Sensitivity #2

  1. Melene, I get what you’re saying, and can identify with much of it. I’ve just returned from a whirlwind of family visits and am savoring my alone time right now.
    I don’t agree with the drawing #3 either, and “doing nothing” is something I schedule often. But I don’t think I am as introverted or highly sensitive as you. And yet, I am definitely on the spectrum.


  2. Melene, I’m thrilled you thought my post was worth sharing here–thank you for that validation. I can definitely relate to your list at the end, particularly this one: “You feel weird but you think everyone else is weird and they don’t know it.”

    Sending you wishes for much peace and fulfillment in the new year.


    1. I liked your post a lot, Kim. I love reading about HSP who travel because I don’t travel much. I find it so fascinating that HSP have such similar experiences and reactions to certain things.
      I wish you well in the new year as well, Kim.


      1. Great post, Melene. I don’t like drawing 3 either. Things I really love are IN my comfort zone. Also, I am sick of those “studies” which show/indicate results that I seriously question. A study of only 35 HSP!!! If somewhere between 40 to 50% of the population are HSP, then she should have used official scientific sampling tables to determine the size of a random, representative sample of the general population. This would have been considerably larger. Also, glad that December is just about over. Also, sick of all of those fake “Santas” in the malls and elsewhere.


      2. I think HSP are between 15 and 20% of the population but it doesn’t matter. It meaningless to make conclusions or try to find solutions when your sample size is small and it isn’t a diverse sample.
        I’m with you: I love my comfort zone and worked hard to create one.
        Only 3 days left… I managed to avoid the mall this whole month! Victory for me.


  3. I also completely disagree with diagram 3. I find that the most rewarding things are found within me, I don’t need to find them outside myself. And I always schedule time to “do nothing”! Thanks for sharing all those links and articles, I’m definitely going to check them out 🙂


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