Masking Our Sensitivity

Edward BonapartianCreativity, Emotional And Mental Health, HSP Traits12 Comments

It’s two days before Halloween as my wife and I head to our favorite Italian restaurant in the city.  Entering the foyer of the restaurant, I notice a message written on the chalkboard listing the night’s specials. In addition to mussels with plenty of garlic and Venetian zuppa de peoci soup, a psychic is also on the menu tonight. “This should be good”, I tell my wife as we walk through the dimly lit dining room to a booth along the far wall. I had recognized the psychic’s name written on the chalkboard; a local woman named Carol well known in the area for her accurate readings on a local radio show. Our antipasto has just been served as the nights entertainment begins. Sitting on a stool in the front of the room, I notice as Carol politely refuses an appetizer brought over by the owner stating that she doesn’t eat before reading for people. Noticing the owner’s surprise she explains that the food will make her sleepy and affect her energy. It was an awkward moment; the food in this restaurant was some of the best in the area and I don’t think the owner ever had one of his dishes refused especially when he decides to serve it to her personally. But she stayed true to herself; not letting social pressures distract her from the job at hand. Taking note of her behavior, I was pleased to see her actions embrace her identity. Our main course was served as Carol began to walk around the room, stopping at each table. Since we were sitting over by a far wall, we had pretty well finished our meal by the time she arrived. Talking to my wife first, she addressed some health and career concerns my wife had before turning … Read More

The Paths We Travel Working With Our Sensitivity

Edward BonapartianEmotional And Mental Health, Uncategorized11 Comments

“All of life is a circle” my meditation teacher tells me during a discussion on  the lessons life often presents; “Regardless of the starting point, at one time or another life’s circumstances will always steer you back to similar circumstances; if for no other reason than to allow awareness of the progress of one’s own journey.” In my memory of that conversation, the point he made lingers.While time has shown me that it is all too easy for the Highly Sensitive to fall prey to any negative emotions generated during these experiences, over time I have realized that it is actually our sensitivity which plays a key role in also allowing us to recognize the lessons in growth contained within the experience. Similar to a double edged sword, our sensitivity can hinder or benefit us; it all depends on how we work with our sensitivity. Working With Our Sensitivity Working with our sensitivity may seem like a strange concept. Similar to how we work with our sleep dreams, we can be passive or proactive with the experience. The key here is in recognizing that being a Highly Sensitive Person is not an identity as our ego’s would have us believe. Instead, it is simply an aspect of our energetic makeup which in itself has different aspects; one of which is intuition. Sensitivity and intuition often go hand in hand. A favorite teacher of mine put it succinctly when she  commented” It’s all about energy” when I had asked her where intuition comes from. As I exited the building where our meditation class was held, I saw the lone figure of a friend, Kira, sitting on a bench by the Koi pond.  A tall, thin blond in her sixties, Kira held herself with a quiet dignity that I often admired. As I walked … Read More

Is Independence Real?

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development0 Comments

Independence and autonomy are cherished goals in many people’s lives. I am all for standing on one’s own two feet. However, I notice more and more how autonomy and independence can become distorted. Is Independence Real? Here in the US we are all about independence. So much so that we have little in the way of safety nets for the inevitable down side of life. Independence is virtually a mandate, a matter of character rather than development. Independence can also have many meanings. It can interpreted as independence from want, the realities of life, aging, mistakes and failures. Independence often suggests an idyllic experience of life, free from pain or any other concern. Under the character definition of independence. the more pain in your life, the greater your failure. It is personal, you know. But it is not a real independence. None of can escape mistakes, aging, ups and downs that are always a part of life. Why is it a sign of personal failure if we cannot? The Failure Of The Independence Model Independence can become an obsession. If any dependency is a fault, then revealing that you are not entirely self-contained can be a serious exposure of yourself and to yourself. In a world where perception has consequences, being perceived as needy or needing can cost you the respect of others. It is one thing, however, to challenge excessive neediness and the lack of independence underneath it and another to base ideas about independence on false ideas about what it is. Yes, There Are Limits Our Western view of independence suggests that limits do not apply to us and that they should not. I guess limits are for other people. Perhaps for highly sensitive ones. The denial of limits has serious consequences that actually limit our independence. When we deny reality we limit our choices which results … Read More

Naysayers And HSPs

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health0 Comments

Do naysayers drive you up the wall? Highly sensitive people can have difficulty with naysayers. Particularly if they consider themselves wiser than the naysayers – which, frankly, can be quite often. Some people are habitually negative. Sensitive people may have difficulty with those who are habitually negative because they have the capacity for and access to a more nuanced perspective. As a result, highly sensitive people tend to seek and offer insights which are not always welcome. HSPs inevitably include as much information as possible in their decision making especially all the information in their awareness they have no choice but to deal with.  If you take in or are aware of huge amounts of information, your perception will be informed by all of those inputs. HSPs often have a deeper and more complex understanding than others. The result is that HSPs often feel at odds with rule makers, gatekeepers, and other authority figures without really having an interest in conflict. One of the unfortunate consequences is that many people perceive highly sensitive people as difficult when in reality many HSPs dislike conflict. The dilemma of highly sensitive people and naysayers is not a superficial one. Naysaying is often a knee-jerk reaction to a behavior, a change or a need.  It is often conditioned behavior based on individual and cultural habits. It is often defensive. HSPs who are inundated with all sorts of information, both habitual and less noticed, do not have the luxury of mindless obedience. The situation for the highly sensitive is further complicated because their sensitivity increases and supports their awareness and integrity, which then makes them at odds with the more conforming members of society. It also makes conversation difficult.  Inevitably highly sensitive people cannot help but be on a different wavelength.  Trying to share that wavelength … Read More

6 Reasons Why We Need Highly Sensitive People

Maria HillCreativity, HSP Traits2 Comments

Why do we need highly sensitive people? HSPs make up approximately 20% of the population. They are people whose nervous systems are highly sensitive to external stimuli. Books like Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person and Susan Cain’s book Quiet, are helping us to understand more about the quieter members of our world. Our culture is predominantly as an extrovert culture. Extroverts are outgoing. An extrovert culture promotes the seeking of rewards, prestige and power. Interestingly, as many as 30% of HSPs are extroverts balancing their interest in the world with a higher need for rest and rejuvenation. Highly sensitive people are often introspective which provides them with an insightful perspective that is practical and useful. This is what they bring to us: highly sensitive people see what others do not. Our extroverted world is very fast however, speed often means mistakes. HSPs notice when the energy around them feels wrong. The insights from HSPs from what they notice can protect us from the mistakes of moving too fast. highly sensitive people are often deep thinkers. They may notice important overlooked factors in a particular situation. They can observe what is working and what is not, the connects and disconnects that can lead to eventual problems. They are able to notice pitfalls and potential land mines in our plans and strategies saving us needless headaches. highly sensitive people are holistic thinkers. This means that they offer an antidote to our fragmented society. Fragmentation increases the disconnection between different parts of a group, company, or an entire society. Holistic HSPs see and act as bridges between different parts of social or economic ecology to ease and improve problem solving. HSPs have a capacity to handle complexity because of their eneregtic sensitivity, deep processing and introspection that makes them ideally suited to helping a overloaded … Read More

Race, Culture and HSPs: “Black People Don’t Do Therapy”

Kellie MurphyEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development5 Comments

Black People And Sensitivity I am no doubt an HSP. I’ve read Elaine Aron’s wonderful and eye-opening books, I’ve taken the quizzes in the workbooks and I’ve been greatly helped by much of the advice given on HSP websites and by knowing that I’m not alone. And like very many HSPs I’ve suffered bouts of depression and very high anxiety, the type that requires professional help. Yet there’s still this nagging feeling I always have, one I have to constantly temper, that my sensitivity and the symptoms it causes are just my “weaknesses,” and that I have to work hard to not let my weaknesses show. Now I know this is just negative self-talk, which any White person who is also HSP can relate to, but my feelings and self-talk are largely influenced racially and culturally. Admitting to and showing great sensitivity is a no no in my (Black American) culture.  Being “tough” and not “letting it ‘get’ to me” are what I was always encouraged and at times, demanded to do. I can still remember my dad screaming at me, “You got a WEAKNESS!” when I was about 12-years-old and being picked on at school. My mother would threaten to hit me if I ever cried. And since we customarily “take over” for our parents as adults and end up treating ourselves just as well or as badly as they did, I got to the point in my late 30s where I couldn’t leave the house without having a four-alarm panic attack and the bravest thing I could do was seek treatment. I could no longer function in that anxious, unbalanced state. All that “not letting it show” made me physically, and severely psychologically and emotionally sick. So even though seeking help put me in a category that is downright … Read More