Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A 10th Anniversary, of Sorts

It's hard for me to believe, but this spring it will have been 10 years since I first picked up a copy of Elaine Aron's book "The Highly Sensitive Person," and learned about this shared trait of ours.

In the ensuing 10 years, I have experienced quite an "evolution" in my relationship with the trait-- from curiosity, to denial, to learning, to acceptance... to the place where I am today, experiencing the trait as simply another puzzle-piece in the greater package that is "me." I suppose you could say that I have "made peace" with my HSP-ness.

The last 10 years have not been without change. A part of the "knowing" about the trait also serves to enable to to start living a life that "fits" an HSP. I have made considerable personal changes, as I have learned about the trait. At the same time, general awareness of high sensitivity has grown by leaps and bounds. 10 years ago, there was just "a book." Now there are scores of web sites, numerous books in several languages, and an increasing number of mental health and wellness professionals who are "HSP aware."

All of this adds up to a better chance for HSPs to live meaningful lives.

And yet, even as more people grow aware of what it means to be an HSP, it is also very obvious that only a tiny percentage of the world's HSPs (for many different reasons) are aware that their struggles in life is due to a biological trait, rather than some pathology. And many simply live in silence, believing that life simply IS "hard."

I suppose my suggestion here, is to urge those who are aware of their trait to "spread the word." Not in some forceful way, or by cramming your ideas down someone's throat, but in the sense of "noticing." Notice when someone seems to exhibit HSP-like traits, and find an opportunity to start a dialogue. Find out about this person, and then perhaps ask them if people have ever told them they are "too sensitive." From a simple dialogue, you have the opportunity to help some else find a sightly easier path in life.

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