On Being a (Highly) Sensitive Person (And Not Minding It Too Much)

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Noises, busy places, crowds, televised violence, nosy people, loud people, shouting, rudeness, or injustices of any kind all touch a painful spot inside of me. I am a sensitive person — I cannot help it.

I don’t know how you respond when other people annoy or upset you, or what you do when someone is shouting at you, but if you tell me something hurtful, I am more likely to take it home with me and feel at least a little sad, than to swear at you or beat you up.

When someone turns up the music in the wrong place or starts an argument, I wish I had a remote control to mute the noise.

If you propose that we watch the news on TV, I’ll probably invent some excuse or other to get away because I’m really not into those homicides, political debates, or scandals they feature (almost) every day.

If we walk together in a park or in some other pleasant place, neither nature nor the emotions you express will leave me indifferent.

If it’s raining, I will feel even more sensitive than usual, and look through the nearest window into the street with poetic interest.

If you speak to me about love, words like “fucking” or “sex” or images of underwear and unclasped bras lying on the floor are not the first things to come to mind, no. Instead, I will be overcome by an agreeable feeling of melting alive at a sideways glance or whimsy wink from the person in question.

If I see an act of injustice or cruelty carried out before my eyes, it’s almost as if it’s being done to me. It bothers me and keeps bothering me for a time, even if I know there is little I can do about it.

I know I am not alone in being a sensitive person, that you who read this may actually be quite sensitive, too. If that is the case, we have to be careful.

Others may confuse our sensitivity with snobbishness, airs of superiority, or even delusions of grandeur. The best they will say is that we are artists, dreamers, peculiar, or โ€œfunnyโ€. The worst, that we are this or that or arrogant. Perhaps to them we appear so peculiar that they really need to put labels on us.

If we are not careful, our sensitivity can turn us into bedsheets hung to dry on a clothesline, and then it won’t really matter anymore if we write poetry to ourselves or not.

We may not help being sensitive about things that happen to us or things that people say, but between stimulus and response there is a gap, and in that gap we can choose our responses.

We can stand our ground without losing our sensitivity, without becoming rude, mean, or nasty.

A leaf may tremble at the slightest breeze in a poetic way, but it doesn’t have to fall, not before its time.

Are you a (highly) sensitive person? What do you do about it?

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21 thoughts on “On Being a (Highly) Sensitive Person (And Not Minding It Too Much)

  1. Oh my God! I can relate to this post so very much. I too am a very sensitive person and things aren’t just simple for me as they are for others. Really, really loved this post!

      1. I have been around, following you, all these years. I am often quiet, in the background, but I keep an eye on you, watching you change, and grow, and develop. I’ve watched you through your medical crisis (you haven’t written about your health, so I assume, you’re better), your love affair with your nurse, your photos (they were great), your writings about writing – most of all I’ve liked and miss your 50 words stories and pics. I have not forsaken you BWAH.
        ๐Ÿ˜‰ Randy

  2. I’m a highly sensitive person. My intense empathy for all others and animals gives me sleepless nights. My sensitivity to noise, crowds and quarrels/rudeness around me leave me wondering if I’d rather be less sensitive. And then I realise I’d rather feel a lot than not feel enough…

  3. I tear up real easy, for example when talking about my passions or touchy topics…when that happens I avert my eyes and stop immediately because it is not socially acceptable for a grown woman to tear up mid-sentence (haha)! I basically have the emotional intensity/sensitivity/range of an ocean so talking to people whose emotional scales equate to that of the teaspoon can be quite awful to say the least. So, most of the time, instead of undressing my thoughts in front of a companion I dress them up as diary entries, blog posts, letters, journal spreads, and artworks. There is nothing more disappointing or painful than not being understood by another, especially a dear one.

  4. I’m a sensitive person too! We can turn it into a gift that many people don’t have. But it always feels strange that no one understands what’s going on in our minds ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. My childhood memoir “River Girl” (unpublished as yet) is about healing from wounds caused by my upbringing in an emotionally dysfunctional family. Even as an adult, I yearned for one of my parents to understand before they died.

  6. Hi and thanks for your musings. I am new in the blogosphere and find I resonate with a lot of what you write. I am inspired to start but seem to be procrastinating… Definitely I’m also sensitive and mostly an introvert. Do they go hand in hand?

  7. I’m a highly sensitive person but also quite extroverted. What I do is share information with anyone and everyone willing to listen. And I find other HSPs so that we can help each other navigate this world.

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