An amazing woman friend recently reminded me how so many of us are looking for a neon sign that signals to us it’s OK to be who we are.
This theme comes up so often in conversations with clients.
She described – with exquisite accuracy – the experience of being highly sensitive in a world where the trait of high sensitivity isn’t value; where it’s not OK to be who we are.
A world of being told “You’re too sensitive.” “You’re seeing things that aren’t there.” “You’re feeling things that aren’t there.” A culture invalidating our experiences as highly sensitive people who do indeed see and feel more, and differently than 80% of the rest of the world.
She rang the truth of her experience and rattled my bones in a moment when I was struggling to write this article.
I could feel words of consequence bubbling inside but what came out of my fingers were soft words, quiet words, words of gratitude.
Those are never a bad thing and they were true; but they were not the words that burned. They were acceptable words, unchallenging words, not the words I needed to say.
I needed to ring the truth of my own experience as a woman who has waited for a neon sign giving me permission to be myself. The truth that says we can’t do this alone.
High-sensitivity is a gift that, in this culture, requires a community of solidarity to practice.
So, for everyone out there who sees and hears and feels something different from the rest of the world, who knows that their senses are feeding them information that other people see and hear and feel less intensely, if at all, know that you’re not alone. Know that there’s a community of people out here who do experience the world like you do.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron’s research, twenty percent of us are highly sensitive people.
We need to affirm each other’s experience because it can be so easy to feel like you’re the only one. It’s so easy to believe the people who are telling you that you don’t feel what you feel.
What’s true is that we have an essential role to play in our culture. We have a perspective that is unique and necessary to the survival of our species. We’re not crazy. We’re not overly sensitive. We are exactly who we need to be, who we were made to be.
If you’re one of those people who are waiting for a neon sign, maybe this is it. In truth, the world needs our gift of high sensitivity now more than ever.
Why not give yourself some ground to stand on?
Check out the work of Elaine Aron on highly sensitive people.
Believe your senses.
Find a community of support.