Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Be Sensible About Your Sensitivity

I've been blogging now for 4 years (Happy Anniversary to me!) and I suppose it's time to clear something up. I'm not really Anal Retentive. Yes, I've been called A.R. a million times, but what I really am is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). According to Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, 1 out of 5 of us is Highly Sensitive.

I was always pegged as a shy girl (it really depends on the situation), I still have memories of hating New York City because of the crowds, and I have a magical reaction when listening to music. But I never knew what was going on, just that I seemed to be different than others.

Many years ago, my Mom totally called it. She even bought me the book by Elaine Aron. But how did I react? I missed the point entirely and was instead offended that she would suggest such a thing. Even though Aron talks about being a HSP in a positive way, the world had already taught me that being sensitive was a bad thing.

Fast forward a few years to another book: Human Dynamics by Sandra Seagal & David Horne. After reading through the various personality types, I quickly found myself: Emotional-Subjective. To paraphrase: master of interpersonal communication, highly intuitive, often overwhelmed by too much stimuli.

I cried when I read the description. There on the page, I read explanations for things I could never understand. There wasn't anything wrong with me! I wasn't broken. It was just my personality type. And thus began my process of understanding and embracing my personality traits.

So now I try my best to amplify the positives and reduce the negatives.

For example:

I am highly sensitive to caffeine: So I normally avoid it. However, in the days before my menstrual cycle, when my body needs extra energy, I use it to help my body along.

I am highly sensitive to images in TV/movies:
I avoid violence on screen and instead get a daily dose of anything that makes me laugh. Preferably out loud.

I am highly sensitive to stress and endorphins:
I have added monthly massages and almost daily exercise to my life because it reduces the stress and releases those feel good endorphins.

Embracing my true self has made all the difference in the world for me.

If you think that you or a loved one are a HSP, I highly suggest you
take the self test, grab her book, or just peruse her web-site.

The Human Dynamics book is worth its weight in gold and I will forever be grateful to the person who brought it into my life.
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