Posts Tagged ‘emotional maturity’

Purgatory, Further Exploration

7 January 2021

I want to continue exploring this feeling of being caught in an emotional deadlock, or a kind of mental prison, where no kindness, no understanding, no validation of reality or truth or experience is possible or allowed. A way to enforce aloneness in an overcrowded world. A way to guarantee the ultimate triumph of the criminal mind.

I watched Episodes 7-9 of Star Wars last week. And you know what the Resistance people kept telling each other was their one advantage? That they loved each other.

My willingness to embrace truths that the criminal mind is highly averse to is part of what put me in this position. Yet the feelings I deal with from day to day seem much more pedestrian than that – much more connected to the simple ebb and flow of being human, of falling in love, of cherishing simple companionship. These are, however, a huge part of what the criminal mind can’t stand.

I will think of my friend and how much I wish I could be with her. It is a strange feeling to me. Yet the love songs are full of it. Devotional music is full of it. That unfulfilled longing. The torture of enforced separateness. The physical universe ridicules me for being stuck in a body that makes it “impossible” for me to be with the people I love and care about, “impossible” to touch them. Though, if I had a higher level of spiritual skill, I could be with the people I love.

The Spiritual Being

The capabilities of a spiritual being have been investigated to some extent, although this has been hampered by Science’s unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of Spirit.

We have Hubbard’s work, and the numerous reports of people who have had spiritual experiences.

The picture that emerges is of a being who is extraordinarily perceptive, intelligent and empathetic. This being has an innate sense of rationality, ethics, justice and fair play. It is capable of giving and receiving tremendous quantities of love. But how this being interacts with others depends a lot on what it has learned through training and experience. Without training, a spiritual being’s enormous potential to help and do good may be wasted by a lack of practical know-how. Such a being is capable of creating some enormously bad effects due to errors of judgment.

Such errors typically result in the being feeling so invalidated by its environment that it will begin to self-suppress. It will limit its own abilities in a misguided attempt to protect others from its stupidity. This tendency to self-police has resulted in the lack of spiritual self awareness that is so prevalent today.

With one’s self awareness stifled, and one’s natural abilities withheld, a being can attempt to compensate in ways that are noticeable, but not helpful. A being may develop an unusual level of intelligence or drive, then use that to accomplish something that turns out to be very destructive, such as the atom bomb. While we have no doubt that the developers of the bomb were quite intelligent, their willingness to use those abilities to support what was essentially a criminal enterprise shows a deep irrationality bordering on self-destructiveness.

“Modern” psychology, in its various attempts to classify (understand?) people, developed IQ as an early measure of a person’s usefulness, or potential worth, to society. This could be said to be part of the technocratic tradition, a dispassionate and really very materialistic vision of how societies should be managed. Later, other measures were developed as ways to understand why some (many?) people were failing in life regardless of how intelligent they were.

One such measure is called EQ (emotional IQ). As with IQ, exactly how to measure EQ is a bit up in the air. But in both cases, these are learned abilities that can be enhanced by study. From my point of view, the essence of EQ would be knowing and being able to apply the Emotional Tone Scale.

Another way to measure people is called “sensitivity.” Though the psychologists are trying to tell us that sensitivity is determined by nervous system activity, I know full well that there is more to it than that. To me, “sensitivity” measures to what extent a being has allowed itself to “show through.” The “highly sensitive person,” then, would be someone who grants beingness to his spiritual abilities a lot more than most people. That’s how I see it, taking my own training into account.

The question of how this wide variation of spiritual expression came to be is an interesting one to consider. But it must have something to do with a being’s track of experience, and how beaten down he allowed himself to become. In my view, then, the highly sensitive are those who are the least beaten down spiritually. That doesn’t mean they are more intelligent, although they tend to be because intelligence does rely on spiritual ability.

Thus, in pop psychology, we find a crossover of observed behaviors when intelligent people are compared to sensitive people. Here is one possible rundown, using data from websites and videos:

  1. Intelligent: Doesn’t like small talk. Aware of too many deeper topics which one would rather discuss. Sensitive: Finds small talk emotionally superficial. Prefers to be deeply honest.
  2. Intelligent: Thinks more than speaks. Sensitive: Thinks deeply. Introverts to analyze.
  3. Intelligent: Gets bored easily. Has a need for constant intellectual stimulation. Sensitive: Overactive senses tend to make it more difficult to calm down, relax, or sleep.
  4. Intelligent: Paralysis by analysis. Likes to analyze before deciding rather than winging it. Sensitive: Takes longer to make decisions. May fail to decide in time.
  5. Intelligent: Socially awkward. Sensitive: Works well in teams, as a member, not necessarily leader. Has good manners, which is to say, is thoughtful of others.
  6. Intelligent: Harder to make friends. Likes to spend time alone, but if no friends, can get depressed. Sensitive: Capable of deep friendships and tends to avoid shallow ones and shallow people. But needs “alone time” to process overwhelming experiences.
  7. Intelligent: Harder to find love. More cautious, independent and analytical. Tends to be seen as “high maintenance” Sensitive: Often seen as a “high maintenance” lover. Can get overwhelmed by sexual emotions, but capable of very deep feelings of love.
  8. Intelligent: Harder to have fun. Sensitive: Loud, bright, or noisy environments are difficult to tolerate. “Partying” can seem superficial compared to more intimate forms of interaction.
  9. Intelligent: Oversensitive to making mistakes. Fear of failure. Sensitive: Likes to get things perfect. Takes criticism poorly.
  10. Intelligent: Feels pressured to succeed. “You can see and understand things that other people around you can’t perceive.” Failures result in self-criticism. Sensitive: Small things in the environment can have a big impact. Sees details that others miss. Poor choices weigh hard on him.

You see how these two measures overlap? One viewpoint is more emotion-based than the other, but there is a lot of crossover because these abilities rely on a lot of the same spiritual abilities (perception, communication). A high IQ can exist in people who are very (!) out of touch with their emotions and with the feelings of other people. High sensitivity includes abilities that contribute to IQ but also involves abilities that contribute to EQ.

Was I upset when I drew this?

Purgatory revisited

Now let us visit our modern technocratic world. It still values IQ over sensitivity. Sensitive people are seen as “too emotional.”

This has to do with the fact (fact!) that modern society has taken on certain criminal characteristics. Sensitive people can’t tolerate these features of modern life. The rest have learned to manage somehow.

So that is another way of explaining or describing why the current situation is so upsetting to those who are more sensitive (or spiritually open). We know how damaging it is to be deprived of touch, of facial expressions, of free communication. To say nothing of the lost jobs, lost income and lost production caused by the economic shutdowns that have occurred. This weighs hard on us even if we are personally protected from its worst impacts.

This results in a situation in which one feels one must act, yet can find no way to act beyond merely writing about it. In some societies, even writing about the problem would be a personally dangerous activity. For a sensitive being, a being somewhat aware that he is a spiritual being, such restrictions can produce very high levels of frustration. It feels like being tortured. It is extremely unsettling.

List for the Highly Sensitive Person

1. You think deeply. When life throws you a curveball, you retreat deep into your shell, thinking through every aspect of what transpired before taking any action. Small things (in your own life and other people’s lives) can have a big impact on you.

2. You’re detail-oriented. You’re as sensitive to details as you are to feelings. You see details that others miss, and you aren’t content until you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s. This is a strength that is highly valuable in some professions.

3. You take longer to reach decisions. Since you’re prone to dig deep beneath the surface, you tend to drag out decisions. You can’t help but try to run every possible outcome through your head, and this is often at the expense of the ticking clock.

4. You’re crushed by bad decisions. When you finally make a decision, and it turns out to be a poor choice, you take it much harder than most. This can create a vicious cycle that slows down your decision-making process even more, as fear of making a bad decision is part of what slows you down in the first place.

5. You’re emotionally reactive. When left to your own devices, you have a knee-jerk reaction to your feelings. You also have strong reactions to what other people are going through. When your emotions come on strong, it’s easy to let them hijack your behavior. The hard part is channeling your feelings into producing the behavior that you want.

6. You take criticism harshly. Your strong feelings and intense emotional reactions can make criticism hard to take. Though you may overreact to criticism initially, you also have the tendency to think hard about things and explore them deeply. This exploration of criticism can play out well for you in the long run, as your inability to “shrug it off” helps you make the appropriate changes.

7. You work well in teams. Your unique ability to take other people’s feelings into account, weigh different aspects of multifaceted decisions, and pay attention to the smaller details makes you extremely valuable in a team environment. Of course, this can backfire if you’re the one that is tasked with making final decisions, as you’re better suited to offering input and analysis than you are to deciding which option to choose.

8. You have great manners. Your heightened awareness of the emotions of other people makes you highly conscientious. You pay close attention to how your behavior affects other people and have the good manners to show for it. You also get particularly irked when other people are rude.

9. Open offices drive you crazy. Your sensitivity to other people, loud noises, and other stimuli makes it practically impossible for you to work effectively in an open-office environment. You’re better off in a cube or working from home.

Real communication.

Notes on a discussion between two highly sensitive people

Colleen Ruiz interviews Angie Sanchez (Integrative Health Coach and HSP). on “Embrace Your Sensitive Superpower” dated 15 Jan 2020.

(Angie is in Miami, Colleen is in Sarasota.)

When did you find a name for this?

It became more obvious after puberty, but really five or six years ago in conversation with my coach.

Clues during younger life?

Dating, friendship troubles could cause extreme depression. Saw myself as “feeling things deeply.”

Emotional slave?

In my mid-20s I was still just “very sensitive.” Would get “downloads” from people. Loving at a deep level can be seen as a gift. “I really fucking love you.”

I see colors, smell things much better.

Health impacts?

Negative: Overwhelm translates to a panic attack (hormone imbalances if overdone).

Positive: There are lots of advantages of having empathy.

Being a better love partner.

Being a better communicator.

I can “hold space” for someone (her way of saying grant beingness, or follow the Auditor’s Code). Then check in to see if duplication occurred. Then express oneself in a similar manner.

Expressing intentions and objectives at the beginning of a conversation. (Being honest.)

Emotional intelligence (EQ) and sensitivity?

It helps me to be less reactive (impulsive) and more responsive (thoughtful).

Managing one’s sensitivity is accomplished through improving emotional intelligence.

Advice for managing overwhelm?

1. Prepare. Strengthen emotional intelligence. Understand yourself on a deeper level.

2. Cope. Avoid experiences you know will upset (overwhelm) you. Prepare if you choose to be involved. Cut it off when you notice yourself shutting down, or extrovert onto a friend or companion.

(Colleen says “good shit.”)

I have a built in bullshit detector. I have caught people lying to me! Don’t lie to me!

One reality, two stories.

A dialog about how I diverged

Interviewer: You have been making the point that we are missing something in our current understanding of what is going in the world. That our analyses are too superficial, too tame. Could you explain this attitude to me?

Me: Up to the time when I read Hubbard’s work, I saw the world much as most intelligent thinking people describe it.

They see it as a YOLO world. A world of “grab it while you can get it.” “This might be your last chance.” This perception generates high anxiety levels.

I was led to Hubbard’s work because I wasn’t satisfied with this description. It was not resulting in any forward progress. It was simply providing something to talk about. It was as if the future suffering of your children and grandchildren and possibly all to come after them was simply something to discuss, and not really worthy of any more serious attention.

I was appalled by this attitude. I can’t begin to describe to you how appalled I was by it. It was not so obvious back then, when I first began thinking about this. It is much worse now.

Interviewer: When did you begin to question these prevailing narratives?

Me: I was maybe 13 or a little younger. There was a lot of crap going on around me in the world. That was clear from the newspaper, news magazines, the TV. This information littered our home. And I was beginning to read books off my father’s book shelf.

Interviewer: Littered?

Me: You realize how much of this information is little more than somebody’s waste product; their garbage! They pick the most disgusting and gruesome things that happened that day, then shove it in your face. “See what a hopelessly sinful planet we live on? There is nothing you can do about it!”

Back then, though, they were actually going to the places where there were riots and wars and taking pictures or videos of people being hurt, children screaming in terror, grown men crying in pain. Today, that is considered too real for us. They show us some blurry images and some lady shouting obscenities, probably hired to do so to make the scene seem worse. They don’t even bother to show you the true scene any more. They dress it up; they stage it if they think they need to. No amount of deception is beneath them. And I defy any major media executive to swear on an E-meter that they are not closely instructed on what to cover, what to say about it, and what “news” videos to use. The news could all be shot on movie sets as far as the people who deliver it to us know. And some of it is.

Interviewer: Is this what the books you read told you?

Me: God no! They told me, mostly, how willing the “great thinkers” were to reduce the situation to interesting topics to discuss. As if the rape of a girl, the murder of a baby or his mother, was no big deal really. That these things would have no lasting impact on the people they happened to, or the culture they happened in, or the perpetrators. It took me years to discover just how much impact such events could have on a being, and just how much impact past events have had.

Interviewer: Why do you think you remained unsatisfied with this way of looking at the human condition, when others around you seemed fine with it?

Me: I have no real idea. I always wondered if it was related to the fact that I wasn’t born in a hospital. It doesn’t really matter. That is something that is very difficult to put a finger on for most people.

Interviewer: Are there any events from your younger years that stand out as particularly concerning?

Me: There are several that do in retrospect. At the time I’m not sure any more which made the biggest impression. Most of the race riots were before I had much awareness of the larger scene. I was falling in love and getting in trouble with other kids from time to time. That seemed to be my focus. But meanwhile, Marilyn, then Jack Kennedy were killed.

Interviewer: You mean Marilyn Monroe? I thought she died of a drug overdose.

Me: The truth didn’t come out until years later. Typical. And no one paid attention to it then. She was killed by professional hit men, hired by the CIA. Just like Jack. And Bobby. And Martin. And probably a bunch of others that I’m not so aware of.

Interviewer: Isn’t all that just conspiracy theory?

Me: Don’t you start with me about that! It’s cold, hard fact. The only reason it’s disputed is because it makes groups that want to seem legitimate and honorable look like the out-ethics scumbags that they really are. They’re a pack of cowards and criminals. And we let them run this place! Ridiculous!

Interviewer: All right. So, how does Hubbard fit into all of this?

Me: The first book of his that I read was Dianetics. He calls it “Book One.” It talked about the concept of a time track, or memory bank, a concept I had been introduced to during the brief time I was getting counseling.

Interviewer: Time track?

Me: Right. That’s all the mind really is: A collection of recordings of past experience. Mental image pictures, with sound, touch, taste and smell. And emotions. Hubbard liked to call it “the bank.”

Interviewer: Was this the revelation you were looking for?

Me: No. It’s just a basic necessary understanding that most people don’t have. Once you have that understanding, it points you in the direction of further discovery. At least that’s what it did for Hubbard.

Interviewer: Why only Hubbard? Why did no one else ever make productive use of this fact about the mind?

Me: I guess it had to do with resolve and with courage. He had more of it along this particular line than anybody else. He was willing to put up with the bad reactions he got and continue to learn. Everyone else got stopped, if they ever got started.

Interviewer: You paint him as a very unusual fellow.

Me: He was. This universe is full of unusual people. How about the one we call Christ? How about the Buddha? Why did great teachings that have been embraced by millions come out of their individual efforts? I guess it was because they were unusual men.

Interviewer: Was Dianetics the turning point for you, then?

Me: Well, I don’t really see it that way. It was just my introduction to Hubbard. The book impressed me. My turning point was a course I took called “Ups and Downs in Life” or something like that. It taught the basic technology behind what we know as Scientology Ethics. From this course I learned of the existence of the anti-social personality.

I had been vaguely aware of such a concept. I had even been accused of being anti-social myself, because I didn’t like to go to parties. The concept isn’t unique to Scientology. In psychology such a person is called a Sociopath. But Hubbard re-defined the criteria for how to detect such a person, discovered ways to cure them, and learned of all the bad effects such people can cause around them, and how to avoid those bad effects.

Interviewer: What sort of bad effects?

Me: Accidents. Fights. Sickness. War. I wouldn’t be surprised if such a person wasn’t directly responsible for the recent pandemic. It’s the sort of thing they love to do.

Interviewer: But how can you tell who has this condition? Wouldn’t it just result in an argument? Won’t the person being evaluated assert that his rights are being violated by accusing him of having such a personality?

Me: We can get into that more later if you still think it’s important. It appears to be the perfect conundrum, so we really have to pull it apart and look at it carefully. Of course what you are describing is what has been happening down through the centuries. It is why so many such people have wiggled out of being caught. The key is not to try to catch them. That’s a criminal approach to the problem. All you do is make their existence obvious. Ideally, you get them to expose themselves. This depends on broad public education, which is the hard part of this whole thing. And then when certain things happen, and certain people react in certain ways, it becomes obvious to a trained person who’s who.

Inteviewer: How would that work? Can you give me an example?

Me: Well…let’s take hydroxychloroquine. This drug gets brought up by some medical people, and then by the President, as a possible treatment. This idea seems to be offered in good faith. But the media slams it as misleading. Then a group of practicing doctors come out in support of it, and their video gets taken down, presumably because one of the doctors was over-enthusiastic about the drug. The media then goes on to ignore the information from these doctors, and to smear the one who was so enthusiastic.

Now, a trained person would easily notice that in both instances the people praising the drug were sincere. A rational response would have been to see who else was supporting this drug and what their experience with it was. A trained person could see easily that the media were acting like criminals in this matter. They slammed the sources of this hopeful data as if personally threatened by it. Or they ignored the data. That’s anti-social behavior. What the doctors were doing was social behavior.

A trained person would know these reactions were the sign of a sociopath trying to cover up or justify his own criminal activity. You don’t even have to know what the criminal activity is. Behavior like that means it’s there. And of course, further digging verified that suspicion.

Interviewer: It did?

Me: Of course it did! But we digress.

Interviewer: So this training is the solution?

Me: It’s the biggest part of it. Once you’ve identified a sociopath, the next thing is to do something about it. The best thing to do is report it.

Interviewer: Like, a news report? Journalism?

Me: We don’t have a formal reporting process here. Most consider such systems too draconian, too open to abuse. In this world they might be right. So in this world, the press is supposed to fulfill this function. If you muzzle the press by restricting what it reports on without the populace even noticing, then the press can’t fulfill that function, and it doesn’t get done. Today we have a few alternative outlets that operate over the internet which are the only hope we have of receiving truthful reports about real criminal activity on the planet. It’s sometimes hard to evaluate the veracity of their reports, but they are all we have.

Interviewer: Certainly there must be some things that the mainstream outlets get right.

Me: The scores at sporting events? These days, they can’t even get election results correct!

Interviewer: What other things do they lie about that upsets you?

Me: There are a whole range of subjects that they either don’t report on at all, or only report on derisively.

One of the earliest subjects to be handled that way was my church.

Beyond that, a whole range of related spiritual facts get ignored, like reincarnation and past lives, out of body experiences, telepathy, ghosts and so forth.

Then there is the UFO/ET question. They ignore or make fun of those stories.

And beyond that there are a whole range of deceptive events and dirty tricks that never get reported correctly, like the political murders I mentioned earlier.

Interviewer: Why should I believe you about this?

Me: Follow my path and you will. Or just start being outrageously curious about life. If you can keep that up for a while, you’ll find out. Most people just aren’t curious enough.

Interviewer: Why is that, do you think?

Me: I guess every person has their own reasons. Curiosity is pretty easy to turn off. It’s a somewhat higher spiritual ability. If that approach to life gets criticized too much, it shuts down interest in life, conversation, academic innovation. It’s a dwindling spiral, and for someone like me, it’s very hard to take.

Interviewer: I think I understand why.

Will it never cease?

At the moment I am typing these words, I am waiting to see if someone who I was in the middle of a text conversation with is going to answer any of my more recent messages. This is part of the torture. The cultural unlearning of what a real conversation is, what a real friendship is. These are interactions that should be, above all, full of curiosity and interest. These qualities are being killed in people.

It’s like a film breaking in the middle of a movie. Will they fix it so that the story can continue? Or will they neglect it and leave a whole audience in mystery about how the story ends?

And I call that Purgatory.

Stormy Monday

17 December 2020
Mural – night kissing day.

I can’t totally recommend falling in love when you’re 66 years old. But I can think of worse fates; much worse.

It rained last weekend, so I went up to the Co-op on Saturday then waited until Monday to go to Folsom with my bike. I had both my camera and my phone (because of her) on me, so took photos with both devices. This series features interiors and landscapes, trying to capture that mood evoked by the stark contrast between isolation and intimacy. I was afraid it might rain again on Monday, but it didn’t – the sun came out (clouds went away).

Rare self-portrait.

The trains are not very crowded these days. They only run I suppose because they are supported by government funds.

On the way to the store I pass over a creek with a bike trail on one side that serves the local super-suburban livers. Though this scene is very serene, I do not envy these people. Like an aristocrat who must have a lovely estate, these people would go crazy if they didn’t have some natural beauty around to help them balance things out.

The grocery store, unlike the train, actually needs customers to survive. Though Monday was a little less busy, there are always LOTS of people in Winco.

After shopping I decided to go over to where some Scientologists I know have their businesses. It is a nice looking business park containing all sorts of buildings that look more or less like these. Reminds me a little of Pullman.

The Folsom end of the bike trail is more posh and park-like than the rest of it. It follows a creek on its way down to the river.

I reached the river as the clouds were just beginning to lift.

There is a lovely forested area along the trail. This clearing is at its edge.

I have photographed this huge field of stones many times, but not usually from this angle.

As I stepped among the rocks, I found this one covered by a big patch of lichen.

I also saw the older buck and his family here, which now includes a much younger buck. They ran away before I could get a good shot. And I saw two different coyotes. I spoiled my one shot, but had to include it to prove I’m not fibbing about the coyotes.

Geese were all over the place as usual. But their decision to move right onto the bike trail betrays their seemingly stubborn lack of good sense.

However, if I were a migrating curlew, I would consider this fenced-in school yard a really nice place to stop over for a while. According to the wildlife people, this species is struggling. But they seem happy enough today in the afternoon sun.

When I got home I for some reason felt moved to send my friend a photo from the hallway just outside my door.


Human feeling is nothing new to me. But when I start crying every time I think of someone…I’m just glad I know about Dianetics and not to be overly alarmed. I have already written here about the emotional power that can trickle through from unresolved cycles in past lives, using Dena’s stories as examples. Though I wish I could remember more (!), it is at least some comfort knowing I am being influenced by all that and not only by what I can remember. I have no huge need to figure out what exactly is tugging at me. Which is not to undervalue the power of the friendships I’ve had this lifetime.

Highly Sensitive People

16 December 2020

Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person was published in 1996.

In this book she introduced the idea that a certain bundle of personality traits seemed to express themselves all together in about 20% of the population. She named this bundle of traits the Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP. Her research indicated that these traits tended to express themselves in the presence of a heightened level of Sensory Processing Sensitivity, a quality of the central nervous system. This suggests that this type of personality could be a result of biological or genetic factors.

My training de-emphasizes the importance of genetics and biology in human personality and even body health and functioning. We deem Spirit to be the supreme arbiter in all such matters, as hidden as this connection may sometimes seem.

But I offer the following discussion as a bridge between students of Scientology and others who have been more classically trained. We need more bridges! Particularly in these times.

The HSP Craze

The HSP idea caught on quickly. Here was a set of personality traits, widely experienced by real people, that presented both benefits and risks yet was not considered a mental “disorder.” Here was a label we could embrace that was meaningful, with a minimum of negative connotations.

A lot of psychologists, therapists and “ordinary” people jumped on the HSP bandwagon, doing quite a lot of serious research on it, as well as writing a ton of popular articles. There are some internet personalities who have identified with the term, and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

While psychologists worry about those who would seek to identify as HSP just to avoid confronting real issues that they need to face, the rest of us are looking at how we could use this concept to understand ourselves and others better, with the objective of a more harmonious coexistence.

Elena Herdieckerhoff

Elena Herdieckerhoff is one such person. Per her bio, she didn’t really take up the HSP banner until 2014, around the age of 25. Elena is also a Reiki Master and lifelong spiritual seeker. She is, at least loosely, a follower of the Yogananda approach to life, which centers around a deep meditation experience.

As of this date, her TED talk on this subject, given in Paris in 2016, has received 3,432,392 views and garnered over 7,500 comments. It is a good talk. I viewed it for the first time yesterday, and I can use it as a sort of personal benchmark for what it means to be an HSP. The specific experiences she mentions in her talk include:

  1. Living with all of your senses on high alert.
  2. A vivid inner world where all your emotions are magnified.
  3. You care beyond reason and empathize without limits.
  4. Intensely over-active mind impossible to switch off, often leading to insomnia.
  5. Unable to watch scary or violent movies without getting haunted by those images.
  6. Too picky about bed quality and other fine points of living.
  7. Easily overloaded by sensory inputs for noise, scents, light and motion. And also by others’ emotions.

Do these traits remind you of anyone you know?

As she relates in her talk, “the gifts of sensitivity slowly crept up on me.” She lists some of them:

  1. Easily connect with others deeply.
  2. Strong and guiding intuition.
  3. Ability to deeply analyze situations.
  4. Strong empathetic ability.
  5. Heightened awareness of details (subtleties) in the environment.

Elena then goes on to try to handle the “bad press” received by this craze. For example, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, counter to what most might expect. The HSP also knows no gender bias, while popular culture tends to see these traits as feminine.

She then insists that HSPs expect no extra hand holding from society, nor are they members of some secret fraternal society! She goes on to educate the audience on how to handle HSPs better.

  1. Don’t complain to them in the hope that they will change. Most HSPs are perfectly happy to be so and would have a difficult time being otherwise.
  2. Treat their traits as special abilities. They can be allies in campaigns aimed at relieving any kind of suffering.

She ends by making the point that we could all benefit by valuing what has come to be known as “sensitivity.” Perhaps this term was originally invented to denigrate those who exhibited too much human virtue, as these are potent enemies of criminal behaviors. She invites teachers and business managers in particular to find a place in their hearts and in their classrooms and offices for sensitive people.

Me and my friend

When my friend once told me that she needed some “alone time” and then avoided meeting with me for over a week, I knew that I had run into something that I was not totally familiar with.

This woman did not fit well into any of the usual boxes I was trained to put people into. And on top of that, my own reaction to her was totally over the top. What the hell was going on?

This concept of the highly sensitive person, which I just yesterday ran into for the first time, provides a way – however theoretically imperfect – to better understand her, myself, and – us.

Has she exhibited many of these traits in the short time I have known her? Yes!

Have I exhibited many of these traits (but in different proportions) in the long time I have known myself? Yes!

Then perhaps this helps to explain some of the emotionality and confusion I have experienced in this friendship, as well as in my entire lifetime. At least the concept can possibly serve as a way to help me explain myself to other people.

For the sake of completeness, I will go over the list of traits above as they apply to me:

  1. Living with all of your senses on high alert. I have never been particularly aware of this. I don’t think this is a major situation for me.
  2. A vivid inner world where all your emotions are magnified. No fucking kidding!!!
  3. You care beyond reason and empathize without limits. This trait is modified by my training and my gender. I do not experience this as strongly as I have seen my friend experience it.
  4. Intensely over-active mind impossible to switch off, often leading to insomnia. Like, absolutely yes, for my entire adult life!!!
  5. Unable to watch scary or violent movies without getting haunted by those images. This is true for me. I still can muster up some horrifying images I have seen in movies. I will go to bed after such a movie and worry about the characters, or have scary dreams.
  6. Too picky about bed quality and other fine points of living. I have my own ways of being picky, but I think I have been trained out of this for the most part. I know, though, that I have an extremely strong attraction to feminine beauty, while also being a careful inspector of faces, physiques, belly buttons, hair.
  7. Easily overloaded by sensory inputs for noise, scents, light and motion. And also by others’ emotions. This is a reiteration of item 1) with emotions added in. I do have an acquired dislike for perfumes.


I pick up others’ emotions and am very interested in them. I tend to disregard the possibility that not everyone does this the way I do. This trait has made it very difficult for me regarding my friend, as she has had a very rough time emotionally and this has a lot of meaning for me. But she has chosen to process much of her experience using “alone time” when I would prefer to use quiet conversation, thus benefiting from some physical contact and relieving my extreme isolation. This has been one of the biggest sources of stress for me in this friendship.

I recall describing my childhood friendship with Linda to a lady who was working here for a while as a social worker. She had a hard time coming to terms with the possibility that a little boy could have such strong feelings for a girl. She felt a desire to help me find Linda again so that I could apologize for leaving her without saying goodbye. Almost 60 years later, I still wish I could!

Emotional Maturity

7 December 2020

Shit happens.

Are you big enough to take responsibility for your own fears, doubts and worries, or must you find someone or something else to hold responsible when you get upset?

When lack of data produces worry, can you find ways to seek out that data or fill in the gaps that don’t invalidate those who withheld it from you? They may not have been fully aware of your need.

Are you prepared for the possibility that a sociopath is interfering with your communication lines, and may be purposely seeking to upset you without the person who you are in communication with realizing it?

Do you know how to detect and handle such interference in your life and relationships?

Can you be true to your own decency?

Can you maintain your love in spite of all invitations not to?

Did you know this is the greatest secret in this universe?

“We are all subject to the same cruel pressures of this universe.”

“Never use what is done to one as a basis for hatred. Never desire revenge.”

“After all, we are all in the same trap.”