Friday, 11 January 2013
Get Thicker Skin! No thanks, I'm fine In My Own :)
So much for a written documentary, it's been three weeks since I last wrote a blog so I'm not doing very well at documenting my illness... I guess it is because I have been feeling a little better, and life has been a little easier to get on with.
Isn't it funny how when we're sad we become so much more creative? I tend to write and create more when things aren't so good, because when they're good, I'm busy again. So I guess every cloud does has a silver lining.
I read a book recently called 'The Highly Sensitive Person - How To Survive When The World Overwhelms You'. I instantly knew the book was right for me because the minute I was given it by my mum and I read the title, I was offended. You know you are highly sensitive if you get offended by the title of a book given to you! - Ironic! But then I started to read it and it has had such a profound effect on me that I thought I would share it.
It turns out that about 10-15% of the population are Highly Sensitive People, or HSP's, and although non-sensitive people can get annoyed with us telling us things like 'Stop being so emotional', or 'It's just a film' or 'Get thicker skin', the world would not function without us as it is likely that if you are a highly sensitive person you are more aware of other peoples feelings and emotions. It is people like us who sense the need to help, say, elderly people crossing the road with heavy shopping bags, or in a group of siblings, the most sensitive one would be the one most likely to visit an elderly relative in a care home more often than the others. We are more sensitive to the pain of others, including animals and usually, highly sensitive people are more aware of our environments, therefore being more involved with helping others, the environment and animals and being more involved in charities, trying to do our bit. We also try and keep our own bodies and minds as healthy as possible, so more HSP's are likely to be healthy eaters, veggies and regular meditators! We are more likely also to be in therapy...
This is because non-HSP's aren't as bothered about the little things as much as we are and yes, they will get annoyed sometimes with our actions as they don't understand. This is because they aren't sensitive enough themselves to have the same feeling and emotions as us, - our nervous systems are literally made differently and function differently to non-HSPs - so our constant need to 'save the world' can make non-HSP's label us as Hippies.
But that's ok because the world needs both. World leaders and CEO's of large corporate companies need to be thick skinned, they could not survive in what they do if they were not. But on the flip side, you will then find that the majority of artists, writers, actors, musicians and all kinds of artists are HSP's. That is because we are so emotional, constantly full of emotion, that this doesn't work in normal every day jobs and we need creative outlets. Sometimes this can border on genius or even sometimes psychotic, because our minds cannot keep up with the constant thoughts. This is why we find so many of the greatest artists have committed suicide or died young or have been labelled 'mad' - (Picasso, Leonardo DaVinci, Jim Morrison, Tupac Shakur, Amy Winehouse.... the list is endless)
I could go on forever explaining the great things that this book has taught me but what I took away from it was that you can be an HSP because you have been brought up in a highly sensitive, artistic family (and even then, it is likely that only one of the offspring will be made up like this), because you have been born like this (because our nervous systems are built differently, we feel more, emotionally and physically and this is why things like bright or flashing lights affect us and why we are more sensitive to alcohol) or because you have grown up with an illness and this has made you acutely aware of other peoples pain as well as your own. (and again, not all people with illnesses will end up as HSP's, you still have to have been born like that to an extent anyway, but it could explain people like Stephen Hawking.)
So I started to wonder if I am so sensitive because of my illness, or was I born that way? Or is it a culmination of the two? I guess I'll never know but I do know that my sensitivity - although sometimes a hindrance in my own life - means that other people are helped and cared for and it gives me creativity; imagination and inquisitiveness, the need to always know and learn more and a desire to create and inspire.. (unfortunately this also comes from HSP's constant need to be liked!)
To end, I hope that some of you (probably only the HSP's) have found this interesting. It was so profound for me because I don't think it's ever been considered a 'thing' before. Being too sensitive has always been a negative and people tell you to 'get over things', 'move on' and 'stop watching films if you're going to cry every time'. But it's never been acknowledged that we make up a very interesting part of the population and being highly sensitive helps the world. Now that I know this, I will not stop being who I am, and when people tell me to 'get thicker skin' when watching the news, or seeing a homeless person, I will not, because it's not how I am made and I can now accept that. Instead I will turn off the news, and go and give the homeless man some money - and that is how it now is for.
Love and Light