Thursday, August 16, 2007

I have to go Now; Let Me Alone

The Highly Sensitive Person.

Isn't the artist moody?
Isn't he a walking contradiction?
Embracing luscious colors and lights of the banquet hall
then reprimanding the renovators for all the racket.

What's wrong with that child?
Don't stand too close or she'll wail
and not other words would she speak
only cries when she's not well.

Perhaps they are "highly sensitive people" as Dr. Elaine Aaron would have call it.

I came across the title of her book The Highly Sensitive Person while I was making the rounds at my binary haunts. summarizes the book as follows:

Are you an HSP? Are you easily overwhelmed by stimuli? Affected by other people's moods? Easily startled? Do you need to withdraw during busy times to a private, quiet place? Do you get nervous or shaky if someone is observing you or competing with you? HSP, shorthand for "highly sensitive person," describes 15 to 20 percent of the population. Being sensitive is a normal trait--nothing defective about it. But you may not realize that, because society rewards the outgoing personality and treats shyness and sensitivity as something to be overcome. According to author Elaine Aron (herself an HSP), sensitive people have the unusual ability to sense subtleties, spot or avoid errors, concentrate deeply, and delve deeply. This book helps HSPs to understand themselves and their sensitive trait and its impact on personal history, career, relationships, and inner life. The book offers advice for typical problems. For example, you learn strategies for coping with overarousal, overcoming social discomfort, being in love relationships, managing job challenges, and much more. The author covers a lot of material clearly, in an approachable style, using case studies, self-tests, and exercises to bring the information home. The book is essential for you if you are an HSP--you'll learn a lot about yourself. It's also useful for people in a relationship with an HSP. --Joan Price

It's somewhat ironic that so many people are opposed to the idea of labels and don't subscribe to the practice of categorizing human behavior or tendencies because they want to be themselves without putting a name to it. And yet, scholars from all disciplines make their careers by analyzing chaos, honing in on patterns, and coming up with ways to manage an enormous amount of information--by creating labels. A lot of students might not understand why they have to learn about things that are so "common sense" or "I know all this....." they don't always realize that the learning process involves the internalization of terminology that helps them organize all the things they "already knew." Once something has a name, it suddenly becomes easier to manage.

Could the "highly sensitive person" be a way of allowing the rest of society engage more sympathetically with people who might otherwise simply be called moody, eccentric, weird, or temperamental?

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Edward Hopper's 1939 painting New York Movie

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