5 Things on High Sensitivity #4

In this edition:  HSP Alanis Morissette, possible HSP Kristen Stewart, HSP and the benefits of being invisible, elitist HSP, and dating while HSP.  That’s a lot of “HSP”s.  This is going to be a long one.

1.  Elaine Aron interviews singer and HSP Alanis Morissette

Elaine Aron interviewed Alanis Morissette, the only celebrity to publicly claim the “highly sensitive person” label that I know of, for her documentary “Sensitive: The Untold Story”.  Aron wrote about their conversation on her blog.

They discussed love, emotional regulation, handling criticism, and dealing with fame.  It seems to me being famous might be one of the most overwhelming experiences for a HSP.  There’s a lot for us regular folks to learn about following your dreams, expressing yourself, being true to yourself, and taking care of yourself from people like Alanis.

Alanis might become the face of high sensitivity which I’d be cool with.  I like her and her music.  I saw her in concert with Tori Amos some time in the ’90s.  That was during my obsession with female singer songwriters.

Alanis also mentions high sensitivity in an article in Origin magazine.
I strongly agreed with this statement she made: “I am a firm believer that one way to become enlightened is to be so relaxed, as relaxed as you possibly can be.”  It’s the opposite of the “get out of your comfort zone and be afraid and uncomfortable in order to grow” advice I’ve railed against many times.

2.  Is Kristen Stewart a HSP?

I suggested in my post “Spot the Highly Sensitive Person” that actress Kristen Stewart may be highly sensitive.  Something she said in a conversation with Patti Smith in Interview Magazine further solidified my suspicion:

People sometimes actually get me to think I take things too seriously and maybe I’m too earnest and it’s coming across like I’m better than them. But working with people like Jodie (Foster) —we are quite kindred. There’s just something when people look at you and go, “Listen, I know it’s awkward, but just keep being honest.” I could have gotten really unlucky and compared myself to another kind of actress and felt inadequate. I can’t, like, put on the show. I’m not a performer. And it’s hard for people to accept a serious tone from a kid without thinking they’re sort of stuck up.

It was the line “I can’t, like, put on a show.  I’m not a performer.”  She acts, but is not a performer?  Hmmm….  That contradiction makes complete sense to me.  She’s an actress but that’s not who she is.  I understand her aversion to pretending or performing for other people to make them more comfortable or to fulfill their expectations of what you should be.

Take a look at the look on her face in this picture.  In almost every picture of her.

Photo by Steven Klein

It says “I’m aware of who I’m supposed to be and how much easier it would be to be that person.  I’m aware that you think I should smile and try to make you like me.  I’m also aware of how much I don’t care about any of that.  I choose to be myself.  Take it or leave it.”

I know that look.  I have that same look on my face most of the time.

She may not be a HSP.  It may just be that I like her.

3.  HSP are invisible for a reason and that may be a good thing.

As I pointed out in the last 5 Things post, Elaine Aron said in an interview at Reset.me HSP are invisible for a reason and that reason is that there wouldn’t be an advantage to having the trait if everyone had it or recognized it.  The downside is that we become invisible to ourselves.  But, maybe being invisible is a good thing, whether you’re HS or not.  Consider this from the article “How To Be Invisible” by Akiko Busch in the New York Times:

… becoming invisible, whether it is in color or behavior, is not the equivalent of being nonexistent, a lesson the human species seems to resist. It is not about denying creative individualism nor about relinquishing any of the qualities that may make us unique, original, singular.

Rather, it can be a condition of insight and endurance, a position of strength and power, a matter of knowing how and where we can be best accommodated by the exterior world. It can reflect a knowledge that we are of a larger world and that our survival depends on knowing this — not a bad thing to be reminded of when our disruptions of the natural environment result in everything from freakishly warm temperatures to ocean acidification.

Invisibility can be about finding a sense of fit with the immediate landscape, be it social, cultural or environmental. It can be about adaptability and the recognition that assertiveness may not always be in our best interest. Most of all, it can reflect a sense of vigilance, a sensitivity to and respect for external conditions.

4.  Can HSP be elitists?

Gigi Miner, a fellow HSP I follow on Tumblr, suggested in a recent post on her blog that some HSP act like they’re better than other people or are “elitists” and it rubbed her the wrong way.  I had a hard time believing any HSP would think they’re better than non-HSP because of this trait.  I’m laughing as I write this. I asked if she would provide a link to this HSP “supremist” as she described him/her. She refused to name names.  I accepted her refusal.  I just wanted to judge for myself.  I might have agreed with her.

It’s possible that some very self-assured and confident HSP feel like they’re super special and don’t hestitate to say so.  I don’t think that’s elitist though. Again, I don’t have enough information.

Are you a dick if you go from feeling inferior, defective, and weird because of a natural disposition to feeling like a genius for that same disposition?

Or is that called “surviving any way you can”?

5. HSP and online dating

When I’m brainstorming ideas for possible blog posts, I sometimes ask myself “What do you want to read?”  Answer:  I want to read about a HSP, preferably a woman, and her experiences with online dating.

I don’t want to be that HS woman.  I want to read about it.

If you wanted to torture me, all you’d have to do is force me to travel for my job, make me go clubbing, or force me to sign on to Tinder.

But!  I’m curious if a person who is like me — easily overstimulated, an incurable over thinker who likes to be alone — could endure, maybe even enjoy and find a partner in the online dating world.

I want to read about how a HS woman manages the cesspool.  I assume it’s a cesspool.  Maybe the first step in making online dating fun is not to think of it as a cesspool.

I’m going to write about this further in a future post but this is what I think and what I want:

I think love happens when you’re vulnerable and relaxed and present and open and feeling and by being in your body and all that other juicy stuff.

Online dating is about being in your head — analyzing and choosing using your intellect, navigating the cesspool not with your body but with your brain. It encourages you to have expectations, to be dismissive, obsessed, biased and to over think.  All of this in addition to creating a lot of hurt feelings.

Love, the way I want to experience it, and online dating are incompatible.  But I could be wrong.

I want to know if someone who feels the way I feel can find love online and how they did it.

Because my perfect love story doesn’t involve swiping.  I want to find love the way Pat Benatar did:  see a guy, say to myself “I’m going to marry that man”, marry him and stay married for the next 33 years.

Is that so difficult?


**By the way, I wanted to give credit to Ashley Ford.  She writes 5 things posts weekly and I was inspired by her to write my first 5 things post.  She writes very personal, raw posts about her life.  Check her out here if you’re interested.

9 thoughts on “5 Things on High Sensitivity #4

  1. What a great read! I enjoyed this post. I completely agree with your view on the “elitist” subject. Survive any way you can. I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone else but I didn’t learn about HSP traits until recently so I do feel a sense of freedom. Free from feeling so weird/different than others. If we don’t look at this trait as a special gift, we can only view it as a curse. And I don’t know about anyone else but I choose gift over curse any day. So if that makes me look like I think I am better than others, so be it. 🙂 Thanks for the food for thought.


      1. When you can relate to so much of the content, it doesn’t seem that long at all. I don’t talk to many people about HSP because of several things you mentioned in this post. The struggle is real… Hehe.


  2. Thank you for an excellent post. How could some people possibly determine that HSPs are elitist? One person’s opinion does not capture accurately the character of a sizable group of people. I would never consider myself and my HSP friends to be elitist. That is why we have scientific sampling tables to be applied when trying to capture representative data on entire populations. Off the cuff labelling is discriminatory and so wrong.

    Thanks, Melene for your insightful and analytical post on these topics. It is always great to read your posts. I love your writing.


    1. Yeah, I’m still curious about this supposed elitist HSP. Gigi thought all HSP should be humble, know where we came from. We know.
      Thank you Lauren for reading and commenting. I enjoy our back and forth.


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