sensitivity

The Hazards of Awakening

The Hazards of Awakening
“Why—” Lyra began, and found her voice weak and trembling—“why can’t I read the alethiometer anymore? Why can’t I even do that? That was the one thing I could do really well, and it’s just not there anymore—it just vanished as if it had never come . . .”
“You read it by grace,” said Xaphania, looking at her, “and you can regain it by work.”
“How long will that take?”
“A lifetime.”
“That long . . .”

Purity.

Purity.

I recently finished reading the Jonathan Franzen novel Purity. It was a commendable book, but has little to do with what I am about to write other than I was struck by the name, and spent some time ruminating upon it, and upon the rare people I've met who displayed this quality in some aspect of their life. This is what I strive for, I thought, purity.

Am I Sick or Sensitive? Examining the Differences Between Sensitivity As a Strength vs. a Pathology

Am I Sick or Sensitive? Examining the Differences Between Sensitivity As a Strength vs. a Pathology

As a highly sensitive person and a sick person, I often don't know which is which. I don't know what perceptions are part of the inherent and healthy skill set of a highly refined nervous system (like aversion to certain scents, or social situations), and what perceptions are inherently pathological symptoms that will fade away as I achieve greater and greater health. If all of my medical tests came back clean: no liver or kidney dysfunction, no macrocytic anemia, no pathogenic infections, great adrenal output, low heavy metals, etc., who would I be? How "sensitive" would I be?

My Life as a Fairy Tale: Part I

My Life as a Fairy Tale: Part I

In spring of this year I took a class, that I found very enjoyable, in "personal mythology", based on the book Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story by David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner. They write:

Your personal mythology is the the loom on which you weave the raw materials of daily experience into a coherent story. You live your life from within this mythology, drawing to yourself the characters and creating the scenes that correspond with its guiding theme. A great deal of this activity occurs outside your awareness. To discover and begin to transform your mythology is one of the most empowering choices open to you. A renewed mythology calls up fresh perceptions, values, and a revitalized sense of purpose. 

Sensitivity, Invalidation, and Learning to Be a Cocky Asshole

Sensitivity, Invalidation, and Learning to Be a Cocky Asshole

In a past post three sensitive men on television I commented on how Dr. Cal Lightman on Lie to Me is portayed as somewhat jaded by his "sensitivity" his ability to see lies everywhere and how it can hurt to know things. I'd like to expand on this theme about one of the primary ways it can hurt: invalidation.

Now Cal is a cocky asshole who it turns out deserves to be a cocky asshole because he is pretty much always right, even though in just about every episode there is someone around him who invalidates him, doubts him, thinks he's projecting or letting his ego get in the way. I only wish I was half as much of a cocky asshole as Cal, but in fact even though I'm often, probably usually right, I've let myself be destroyed by invalidation, probably starting in childhood. I have really terrible self-esteem. I've always though I was the fucked-up one. 

Three Sensitive Men on Popular Television: They Aren't Who You'd Think

Three Sensitive Men on Popular Television: They Aren't Who You'd Think

They aren't who you would think because when women say they want a sensitive man they usually mean someone romantic, thoughtful, artistic, vulnerable, and open to sharing their emotions, someone nice and sweet and a little dorky. That's all well and good, but in this piece I'm writing about sensitivity primarily as it relates to the senses, the ability to perceive subtle stimuli, or as google puts it, "quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, and influences." These three male characters on three different crime procedurals all fit the bill:

What Does it Mean to be Sensitive?

What Does it Mean to be Sensitive?

What I mean when I refer to myself as a super sensitive person is having a highly developed, highly responsive, complex nervous system. Yes, I believe some people are naturally more sensitive than others.  You know how you can change the setting on your laptop's touchpad to respond to lighter touch? It's like that. Some of us respond more intensely to the same stimuli. 

If you combine the psychic concept of being an empath with the psychological concept of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you basically have what I am talking about. In this chaotic world, being sensitive can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how well it is managed. Managed poorly (like I did most of my life) it can manifest as mental and physical disease, like my particular nemesis: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Managed well, sensitivity can be an amazing gift and make you one of the luckiest people on the planet. It can become like a super power!