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Don’t Confuse ‘Sensitivity’ With Being Afraid, Anxious Or Easily Hurt

This is a common mistake in perceptive judgment. When we decide to enter relationships with other human beings we naturally size each other up. This means, in a manner of speaking, that we do our best to get a feel for how another person ‘thinks’, ‘feels’, ‘does’, and ‘perceives’. Generalizing to the topic at hand, we try and figure out to the best of our ability if a person is easily swayed by their emotions.

                When we make an attempt to figure out if a person is easily swayed by their emotions or feelings, we are trying to discern how best to act around the other person – especially if we enjoy their company and want them to like us. In essence, but not the be-all, end-all, conducting our behavioral movements with tact so people feel comfortable and do not feel like they always being attacked.

                But wait a minute, what if your entire approach to understanding of interactive behavior is just way off? What if your ‘perception’ of someone being easily hurt, afraid, or anxious is completely misconstrued and off-base? What if you are forgetting a fundamental principle of physiology in your assessment of another person’s state of mind? What do you do then, particularly if you want to be a part of a relationship with another human being and actually understand that human being at the same time? What if you are not aware of the ‘physiological’ understanding of sensitivity? What if you are not aware of the ‘physiological’ understanding of ‘hypersensitivity’? Do you think it may be time, given the concrete reality of physiology, to withhold your hasty remarks and convoluted perception?

                I hope so. Many people, when they psychologically ‘label’ another as sensitive, figure that a person is just very susceptible to their feelings and may easily become anxious, feel guilty, feel afraid, or somehow slip into a clinical depression based on the actions and words of another. As stated earlier, depending on who you are interacting with or sitting across from at a table, this is a common mistake in perceptive judgment of respective human beings. This, however, is not to say that some people do not become easily enveloped by sadness – because some people do. What we are saying is that 10-15% of the human population is either sensitive or hypersensitive to the physical environment. Meaning, such individuals are perceived incorrectly (by conventional wisdom) to be afraid, anxious, or easily hurt.

                To keep things simple, this means that a small percentage of the human population perceives environmental stimuli that the rest of the human population likely does not. How else do you think the lead woman/man of a rock band effortlessly cruises around on stage checking in on all other members of the band while executing vocals and shredding a guitar simultaneously? The answer, without trying to sound pedantic, lies in the idea of individual differentiation. In this case, a person’s physiological level of understanding while being a part of the natural environment.

                Translated into terms of human interaction, a physiologically sensitive or hypersensitive person may ‘appear’ to be sad, hurt, afraid when being spoken to in a certain way by a non-sensitive person. This, however, is the sensitive person’s way of reflecting the internal state of the non-sensitive person back to them. It is like the sensitive person is saying without saying it to the non-sensitive person ‘why are you so angry’? Or, why are you so hurt? What is wrong, why are you not content with the way of how things really are in this world? When will you make peace with what is?

                Next time you preemptively believe that a person is afraid, hurt, or anxious when you are talking or needlessly attacking them, remember a fundamental principle of physiology; there are varying levels of environmental sensitivity across human beings. The more sensitive a person is, the more encompassing their perception of the physical environment tends to be. And hence, the more complete their understanding of how things really are, is.

                Why do you think loners become loners anyway? Do you really think it is because they are frail little pussy-cats or social misfits? Or , do you think it is because they quickly perceive an internal state and do not want to be around a certain kind of energy?

                Happy loners become happy loners for a very specific reason.

                That’s right, I said happy loners. Don’t let psychology fool you into incorrect assumptions and fallacious perceptions. Happy loners don’t like gregarious windbags. And, gregarious windbags are secretly infatuated with happy loners.

                What do you think, is too much value ascribed to physiology while psychology gets a bad rap as we do our best to understand interactive dynamics and the internal feelings of others?

Furthermore, if you had to choose, would you rather be a happy loner or a gregarious windbag? And, why would you rather be a happy loner or gregarious windbag?

Also, do you think happy loners enjoy seclusion and isolation because they have been provoked too often by gregarious windbags?

Don’t hesitate to voice your thoughts and share your authentic feelings.

More on this fascinating topic to come soon.

Matthew Polkinghorne

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