Some plants feel every breath of wind.
The Highly Sensitive Person
These days, I’m reading a book that really resonates with me: The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron. I first heard about the idea that some people are naturally born as highly sensitive, and that it’s not a flaw, from a friend about a year ago. I was reminded of it again a few weeks ago by another friend.
So I did the research and looked it up. This book was written by the person who first researched it back in the 1990s.
For Me, The Book Is a Turnaround
The author, through examples and reason, turns around the idea that being sensitive is an abnormality. She clearly distinguishes between neurosis (imbalance) and sensitivity. Extra sensitivity is natural in some people (20% of all humans and 20% of all higher animals to be precise).
The problem is that the two get confused. Sensitivity and inhibition are not the same things. I find this reframing to be very freeing. There’s nothing wrong with me for “thinking too much” or “noticing the minutia” that others don’t care about. It’s the way I’m wired.
While being a highly sensitive person has its limitations, it also has its advantages. It comes with a lot of creativity, empathy, and ability to think deeply. But this kind of person needs extra care as well.
Highly Sensitive People Are Easily Overwhelmed
For all people, there is a sweet spot somewhere between under-stimulation (being bored) and over-stimulation (being overwhelmed). This is a different spot for each person. For highly sensitive people, the point of overwhelm is reached much sooner than for others.
For this reason, they need more time to unwind, more sleep, and a way to retreat on a regular basis. Without this extra self-care, she calls it caring for the infant inside, highly sensitive people can become stressed and neurotic.
I love that it comes back to self-care. She recommends many ways to keep the balance. I felt like I was being held and cared for just by reading her suggestions.
The Work Is Another Way to Reduce Overwhelm
She recommended meditation and self-care of all kinds, and I would add to her recommendation doing The Work of Byron Katie. It has helped me so many times in the moment of overwhelm to calm back down and find balance.
With tools like The Work at our disposal, highly sensitive people can feel bolder to venture into the world and share their gifts and participate dynamically. If you think you might be a highly sensitive person or know someone who is, I highly recommend this book.
The Work 101 Is Better Than Ever
I’m really happy with new developments in The Work 101, allowing people to go at their own pace and to have a personal trainer (who does all of the assignments along with you). I’m currently training several people and I love the fact that I’m often doing The Work 2-3 times a day as a result.
I’m also excited about the new Self-Study version that is almost ready (I’ll be opening the first 15 lessons in the next week or so). This highly affordable version allows you to lead yourself through the exercises and material and refer back to it with lifetime access. I’ll be letting you know when this is available soon.
Learn more about The Work 101, my in-depth online course in The Work of Byron Katie.
Have a great week,
“For people who don’t have inquiry, the ego may say, ‘There’s no way back,’ and then the thought may be ‘I’m going insane.’ But if inquiry is alive in you, you can’t attach to any frightening thought. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Katie or a bird or a galaxy or a rock or a tree or a grain of sand.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy
Further reading: When You’re Empathetic, How Do You Not Get Dragged Down by People’s Suffering?