5 Things on High Sensitivity #3

Some interesting reading material/experiences related to high sensitivity this week:

1.  Elaine Aron gave an interview to Lynn Stuart Parramore some time last year but I was made aware of it this week via Ane Axford.  In the article “Are You Highly Sensitive?  Here’s the Science Behind the Personality Type?”, Aron discusses some research related to the trait as well as research she’d like to see done in the future.  In her opinion

HSPs need to see the research in order to believe the trait is real. Believing it is real can be difficult, because it is invisible and because the majority don’t have it, so we often grow up thinking, well, I should be behaving like everybody else. Or I shouldn’t be overstimulated right now. No one else is. I don’t know why I’m so tired. Why do I notice these things that other people don’t? Gee, I really have this great idea but nobody else really gets it. I’m pretty sure we should do this but nobody else seems to see why. Should I insist? No, I won’t, because I don’t want to make people mad. Now it turned out to be a mistake, and I knew it would be a mistake. So all of that self-talk makes us squash our sensitivity, especially men (there are equal numbers of highly sensitive men and women), and maybe not even think we have the trait.

2.  Ted Zeff, author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide and The Strong, Sensitive Boy has written a new book titled The Power of Sensitivity. He sent me (or someone doing his promotion sent me) some information on the book:

Dr. Ted Zeff has compiled 44 uplifting 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 help the international HSP community to learn new ways to manage their trait and thrive in our non-sensitive world.
After each uplifting story, additional advice on each vignette’s theme is given, which frequently includes specific information on how to integrate that story’s success into your life. So sit back and enjoy reading these delightful and inspiring stories from HSPs as you learn new methods to empower yourself.

I look forward to reading it.  If someone out there wants to read it first and tell me if it’s worth reading, I’d really appreciate it.  I have so many books to read.

3.  Last December I posted a series of Venn diagrams:


It took me five minutes from inspiration to execution.  It did it while watching some UFC event as I am doing now as I type this.  I didn’t want to write 500 words on how overwhelmed I was feeling and I felt pressured to post something, anything.  I never expected people to connect with it because it was so personal.  I was wrong.  It has been shared many times on Tumblr.  I’m surprised but I don’t know why.  As Anaïs Nin wrote, “the personal, if deep enough, becomes universal.” It wasn’t deep but I’m glad people like it.  As 93-year-old writer Roger Angell said of blogging “it’s a bit like making a paper airplane and then watching it take wing below your window.”  You never know where or how your stuff will land.

4.  I don’t know how you highly sensitive people who are parents do it.  I don’t know how you keep yourselves from letting the emotional ups and downs in the lives of your children level you.  Last night my 11-year-old niece posted a sad picture of herself on Instagram with the message “I had a bad day today”. I was concerned.  I wanted to know more.  She explained a little bit.  That little bit made me sadder and made me want to find out more.  I called.  No answer.  I was really upset and unsettled.  I saw her today and everything is fine.

For 12 hours or so I felt like I was 11 years old.  When I read what was troubling her, it felt like I had those troubles.  I wrote in my journal “you’re too porous, too porous”.  I feel like if I had a child, it would be a lifetime of taking on his or her emotions.  I don’t think I could survive it.

I won’t be reading her Instagram anymore.

5.  There is an upside to being so porous though, offered by Sadie Stein in The Paris Review:

We are told it is a liability to be thin-skinned, and it’s true that these are bad times for it. When an Internet slight makes you question your path in life, an encounter with a surly stranger results in canceled plans, and the day’s news derails your day, you are at the whims of fortune. And a life without perspective, like a painting, is disorienting.

But the porousness goes both ways, doesn’t it? And if everything looms large, the world’s kindnesses are equally outsized…


…when we boarded the plane, it was to find that it was not full to capacity. And as the doors closed, I saw that I was to have a row of three seats to myself. I am not lying when I say that tears of gratitude came to my eyes. It was a pure happiness. I lay down with my head on my tote bag and my coat over my legs and everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow. And I said to myself, over and over, It’s worth it, it’s worth it.

I’ve felt this way too.  I’m easily annoyed but I’m easily delighted as well. Porousness has its perks.



7 thoughts on “5 Things on High Sensitivity #3

  1. I loved reading your erudite and interesting post, especially Number 4 on the list regarding empathy. Yes, I have been really upset when a friend or family member posts or writes about being very upset over something or other. I totally empathize and worry for them, only to find out soon enough that they are A-OK, and I am exhausted from worry about them! Now I try not to over-empathize regarding relatively minor things. I have to work on that! Thanks for another great post, Melene.


    1. That’s it, Lauren — I’m exhausted from worry! And I vow next time not to get so invested but I’ll always be invested. I think something I have to work on is waiting until I have all the information… but I still overthink and wonder too much. I don’t know if there is a solution.


  2. Great piece! I will be reading Dr, Ted Zeff’s book right after I’m done with The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (amazing so far, by the way). I will be posting a review for sure and will share it with you.

    As for those of us who are parents… I cannot describe to you how difficult it can be. I have a 5 and an almost 2 year old, and the noise level / clinginess / sleep deprivation / zero personal space that comes with them can lead me to be depressed for long periods of time. Sometimes I feel like I might actually completely lose it. And I think this stuff is easy compared to what I have to cope with when they’re older and independent. It’s not easy. At all.

    But on the other hand, they are also responsible for pulling me out of dark holes. Like you, Christmas drains me, social media makes my head spin, and the news keeps me up at night. But one kiss, one hug, one “I love you mommy” will give me the energy I need to get back on my feet.


    1. Great!…I look forward to your review of Zeff’s book.
      I think I know what you mean… the sweetness of loving and being loved by your child is as intense and overwhelming as all the difficulties associated with being a highly sensitive parent. As I wrote, porousness has its perks.
      Thank you for sharing your experience, Leila.

      Liked by 1 person

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