I Feel Therefore I Am

I have noticed a trend emerging lately that seems to covet the theory of the highly sensitive person (HSP).  Dr. Elaine Aron has written several books about those individuals that seem to come into the world owning a very different kind of nervous system, resulting in higher sensitivity than most to just about anything.   It seems that many people are relating to this phenomenon and believe that they might fall into the category of the highly sensitive.  I have no doubt that the world is full of individuals possessing various degrees of sensitivity.  I tend to think however, that those who truly possess exquisitely high sensitivity will feel an absolutely resounding connection with what Dr. Aron speaks to in her book.   Her description of high sensitivity will fit like a new kid glove for those so endowed; snugly, comfortably, and perfectly, and these individuals will come to suddenly realize who and what they are, and, most importantly, to finally understand. 

I came to connect instantly with Kazimierz Dabrowski`s Theory of Positive Disintegration prior to becoming aware of Dr. Aron`s HSPs.  My own personal “aha” moment occured when I read about Dabrowski`s theory and the definition of his Over-Excitabilities (OEs).   His theory on Positive Disintegration includes a description of over-excitabilities which have many similarities with Aron`s notion of high sensitivity.  However, it comes from an altogether different perspective.  Dabrowski posited that over-excitabilites could amount to being a positive force towards personality development and that those possessing this potential for development could move forward in leaps and bounds, thus resulting in positive disintegration of the personality and re-integration at a higher level.   Despite the inner conflicts and difficulties endured by those having OEs, (or high sensitivities), he found few negative psychological attributes about this and, on the contrary, believed it to be an absolutely positive aspect in human development.  

If you are truly a highly sensitive soul you will know it intrinsically, and you will accept in your heart that it is not possible for others to understand the depth of your sensitivity to the world around you.  You will know that no one will understand the tears you shed when you hear music that has a particularly deep meaning to you.  They will never understand that the scent of a certain perfume takes you right back to your mother`s arms, or your grandmother`s lap.  Or the way the sound of an ambulance rushing by with sirens blaring makes your heart thunder in your chest and makes you want to clamp your hands to your ears and run away.

Conversely, how could you ever explain how breathless you feel at the sight of an impossibly beautiful sunrise on your early morning commute to work, when, each and every morning, you are compelled to stop by the side of the road, just to take in the beauty of the spectacle.  When you want to rush to the office so you can wax poetic about the vanilla sky, intermingled with powder blue, fuchsia pink, and deep purple striations stretching across the cold blue and steel-gray of the early morning city skyline.  Who but you could ever understand or even notice that the sun glittering over freshly fallen snow makes it look like the trees have diamonds on?  That it`s so heartbreakingly beautiful you can`t stop staring and want to wrap it all up in a box so you can keep it and look at it forever? 

No one but those truly endowed with super sensitivities and/or over-excitabilities can ever know.  It is something that is yours, and yours alone – it belongs to you.  As difficult as it may sometimes be to live this way, the flip side of being endowed with over sensitivities promises to offer a more exquisite appreciation of life and the beauty of the world around you.  It is a reminder that not only do you exist, but that you feel and as a result, are truly alive.    

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5 Responses to I Feel Therefore I Am

  1. Pingback: Neuroscience: Are You Too Sensitive? | A Taxi Dog Diary

  2. derdo says:

    I really like how this post expresses what many of us introverts believe and how we feel. Paragraphs 3 to 5 — how I wish more people would get to read it so they can understand us better. (but is that important, really?)

    Thank you very much for this post.

    • lthibault11 says:

      Hi there. Yes, I think it is important that people understand the personality of the introverted. I have felt different than others all of my life and always wondered why. I understand it now. I have come a long way and now I accept my introverted personality and actually embrace it. There is nothing wrong with being inward-focussed. In fact, there are many positive aspects to our personality. It is my goal to try to get people to see that the introverted personality has much to offer to society. We just need to accept ourselves the way we are. Power to the (introverted) people. 🙂

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