40-Day Journal – Day 6 – Rediscovering Madeleine L’Engle

By HSP Bookworm

I can’t remember when I wasn’t an introverted bookworm. Can’t remember a time I didn’t love books.

Once I discovered libraries, it was always a joy to find a new author, a new set of books to read and love.

Discovering Madeleine L’Engle’s Fiction 

I didn’t discover Madeleine L’Engle at a library but at a friend’s house. I was spending a week with friends in Sacramento and happened upon A Wrinkle in Time. I sped through it. My friend had a big family and some cousins visiting at the same time. It was easier to bury my introverted self in a book than to interact with so many people in that household. 

I loved the tale of introverted Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, whose name always seemed too big for him. Of Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit and Meg’s fantastic journey that took her to the end of herself where all she had left was love, and it was enough.

That same week, I also read the next book in Madeleine L’Engle’s classic Time Quintet: A Wind in the DoorAt the time, some aspects of the story went over my head as I fell headfirst into the microscopic yet immense world of quantum physics merged with supernaturalism. 

My friends didn’t have a copy of A Swiftly Tilting Planet, but I found that one at our local library after returning home. After reading it, I began scouring the library for everything written by Madeleine L’Engle.

I found And Both Were Young, a coming-of-age story about a girl at a Swiss boarding school who falls in love with a French boy and begins a secret relationship with him. I loved the character Flip, an introverted girl who never quite fit in with her classmates and preferred wandering among nature and sketching the sights of the great Swiss outdoors.

Then I read The Young Unicorns, which I found slightly confusing. Although I was familiar with the way that Madeleine L’Engle merged normal-seeming characters with supernatural events, something unnerved me about the darkness of this story. It has been over 20 years since I read it and I remember little (a sign that I should read it again) but I still remember the way I felt when I learned about the source of a young girl’s blindness … as though my own life could easily suffer that same upheaval, as though I could easily face that same darkness.

Much later I realized that The Young Unicorns was the third book in a series written by Madeleine L’Engle: The Austin Family Series. No wonder I felt like I was jumping into the middle of something I didn’t quite understand; I hadn’t read books one and two.

Discovering Madeleine L’Engle’s Nonfiction

The next book of Madeleine L’Engle’s I found at the library was The Summer of the Great Grandmother. I also found this confusing, but for a different reason: all I had read so far by Madeleine L’Engle was her fiction. And not just Madeleine L’Engle; fiction was pretty much all I read up to that point, period.

I didn’t know what to think of this work of nonfiction. I can’t even remember if I finished the book, though I must have. My life revolved around books as an introverted tween.

A decade passed. Possibly two. I revisited Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, but not her nonfiction.

Then at a used book sale, I happened upon several of her Crosswicks Journals, including The Summer of the Great Grandmother. Of course, I picked them up. 

During this 40-Day journey toward healthier living, I decided to begin reading the book once more. I wanted to immerse myself in good literature and refamiliarize myself with this introverted female author with whom I felt a kinship since I was a child.

The book chronicles her summer caring for her aging mother who was suffering from dementia, and also journals other aspects of that summer, including a scare that her husband might have a brain tumor (it turned out to be diabetes). 

Discovering Madeleine L’Engle’s Introversion

This introverted author journals with such care and precision, following philosophical tangents and reflecting on matters weighted with truth and meaning. She writes:

I used to feel guilty about spending morning hours working on a book: about fleeing to the brook in the afternoon. It took several summers of being totally frazzled by September to make me realize that this was a false guilt. I’m much more use to family and friends when I’m not physically and spiritually depleted than when I spend my energies as though they were unlimited.

The observation felt so true, especially at this time when I’m seeking out healthier living amidst the stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s easy to spend and spend and spend, to pour out into family and work, forgetting that we have limited resources.

Part of healthy living comprises carving out time for oneself, especially when we have jobs or situations where much is expected of us – emotionally, mentally, or physically. 

For years, I worked at a job that exhausted me – mentally more than anything else. It wasn’t a good fit but because the job opening came through a friend, I felt guilty at the thought of letting go of the position.

Finally, after weeks of insomnia and numerous occasions of heading home in tears at the end of a challenging day, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I just didn’t have what it took to keep that job over the long term; it took me far longer to let go of the guilt of quitting the job. 

I feared that I would be thought of as “too weak” and “too sensitive.” It took a while to recognize that this job was simply a bad fit for me due to the kind of person I was: a highly sensitive person who thrives in other environments. 

Madeleine L’Engle observes this about guilt:

When I try to be the perfect daughter, to be in control of the situation, I become impaled on false guilt and become overtired and irritable. 

I intimately know this overtiredness and irritability. I think many introverts and HSPs do. But when we let go of this guilt by embracing who we are and not allowing ourselves to be ashamed by it, we can find freedom.

Madeleine L’Engle found freedom as a mother, wife, daughter, grandmother, and introverted author by allowing herself those times to disconnect from everything else as she wandered among peaceful, quiet places in the woods near Crosswicks. 

While dealing with the stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic, my task is to discover and embrace what is healthy living for me as an HSP and introvert.

Perhaps something like this is your task too in your own journey toward healthier and mindful living.

Looking Up – Attentiveness Amidst COVID-19

By HSP Mystic

What will people think when they look back on this time?

COVID-19, the coronavirus, pandemic, fear, anxiety.

What do we think, we who are in the midst of it now?

COVID-19, the coronavirus, pandemic, thinking, anxiety.

I wonder if we do think about it as we should, as we might. If we consider and contemplate it enough.

It is hard, yes, because there is just so much to reflect upon, so much to think about, to process and try to understand.

And there is so much we will never understand.

COVID-19, the coronavirus, pandemic, thinking, understanding.

And there are so many conflicting messages, each message containing perhaps some truth along with a lot of fear and tension, anxiety about the future.

Perhaps the call for us at this time is to stop, even in the middle of the chaos and the conflict, to look around us … even, if possible, to step outside – mentally if nothing else – and take stock.

COVID-19, the coronavirus, looking, thinking, understanding.

What do we see when we stop scrolling an endless news feed and look up?

Yesterday I stepped outside. I looked up and saw a bird, sitting on a ledge, a strange shimmering substance in its beak. At first I thought the bird might have been searching for material to make a nest. Then it came to me that midsummer is not generally when birds build nests.

I looked closer and realized the shimmer belonged to a dragonfly’s wings. The bird had been hunting and caught a dragonfly midflight. I delight in watching dragonflies skirting through the air, following some strange patterned flight that is theirs alone. But this one now had become food, sustenance, for a bird who had met it in that place both creatures claim – the air.

Within a few seconds, the spectacle had ended. The bird consumed the whole of the dragonfly and, an instant later, took flight once more.

I looked up at a sight that was at once both sad and sacred. It was as if, for a moment, some parts of me also had wings – my sight or my soul – and I beheld this thing in wonder.

COVID-19, wonder, looking, thinking, understanding.

And I have no direct analogy for that thing I saw. No great and deep revelation. It was a thing that takes place a million times in a million ways. It was, that is to say, mundane and ordinary.

But at the same time, it was one in a million. Beautiful and captivating and fierce, this single sampling of nature the moment I looked up.

We surround ourselves and are surrounded by so much that brings sorrow in its fierceness, in its strangeness and the unexpected way it comes upon us.

Yet we are also surrounded by the wondrous and the beautiful.

Beauty, wonder, looking, thinking, understanding.

Perhaps a way to see ourselves through this time, to look back upon it one day with a heart that takes in all the complexity of all that we are seeing and experiencing, is by looking up.

Letting our thoughts take flight, and our hearts.

Or simply beholding some mundane yet sacred portion of nature. Looking, taking it in, and giving thanks for the moment.

The Problem with COVID, The Problem with Us

By The HSP Scholar

We are far more concerned about the coronavirus than we should be.

We are far less concerned about the coronavirus than we should be.

Yes, both statements are true and both at the same time.

As a society, we have grown so accustomed to politicizing issues like the coronavirus that almost before we gave ourselves a chance to understand COVID-19, we had already formed strongly opposing opinions.

If you think this is an overstatement, consider how you personally respond when you see someone wearing a mask in a public space.

“That person is clearly overreacting and is probably a liberal.”

Or …

“I’m glad that person is doing their due diligence …”

…with a nod from behind your own mask.

What about when you see a person outside without a mask?

“That must be a Republican. I know who they probably voted for in 2016.”

Or …

“I’m glad that person hasn’t bought into the nonsense of the coronavirus scare.”

When it’s simple matters such as whether or not a person is choosing to wear a mask in a public place or outdoors draws such harsh responses, something is wrong with our society.

This was brought into stark reality when I saw someone’s comment on a friend’s Facebook post. The post itself made a statement that it’s all about power … and among the politicians, perhaps it is. But 99% of us are not politicians, and we spend way too much time considering the partisan politics surrounding a worldwide pandemic (as if Americans are the only ones dealing with the coronavirus).

The comment, made by a person I don’t know, expressed that a local government official could kiss a certain part of their anatomy, along with the statement that they would not be wearing a mask. By the anger of the person’s comment, it sounded as if they thought COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic had been personally created by this local government official.

Sadly, many of us are allowing ourselves to take sides and oppose others when we should be reaching out a hand to help. 

It’s easier to feel angry than to feel grief.

It’s easier to express an opinion than to express concern, especially since we’ve grown so accustomed to doing so with our use of social media. 

Social media is good for many things, but one unexpected result of seeing so many problems, browsing through so many issues, reading about so many statistics … is growing numb to all we see on social media.

Instead of grieving, we might utter a mere, “How sad,” and keep browsing. We have largely grown desensitized and instead of allowing ourselves to feel the more complex emotions of grief and empathy, we settled for a quick “like” or “dislike” or an angry comment that only deals with emotions on the surface level.

What is the solution? 

How do we fix this? Therein lies the problem.

There is no quick-fix.

And there is no easy solution.

For someone who finds themselves growing angry and anxious every time they log into social media or browse through news headlines, the solution might be to take some time off social media. Go for a walk in nature; whether or not you wear a face mask as you take in some solar vitamin D is up to you.

For someone who drops strongly opinionated comments on every slightly political or COVID-related post, maybe take a breather. Instead of responding with a first reaction, try to consider the matter more deeply. 

Perhaps even (shocking as this idea might seem) think about this issue from the other side.

And for someone who finds themselves incapable of empathizing with anyone on “the other side” of the political and partisan spectrum, why don’t you have a civil conversation with someone who holds beliefs different from your own? Really have a mindset of listening and learning. 

The idea is not necessarily changing your mind or revamping your political ideology (although it might be). The idea is to understand that there are so many of us in this big, wide world.

So many ideologies and beliefs. So many life experiences. We are each made of what we have experienced and learned and how we have been brought into this world.

And really … really … most of us are just doing the best we can with what we have.

What we all need is a little more understanding, a lot more listening than speaking, a bit of empathy and compassion, even a bit of grieving for the darkness and the loss and the sadness of this world.

What we all need is a bit of hope.

Why don’t we each consider how we can spread some of that hope today?

J. K. Rowling Is Not a Single Tweet (And Neither Are Any of Us)

Several days ago, J. K. Rowling commented on an article, with largely negative backlash from many former fans of the Harry Potter series. A New York Times article set up the story by providing a one-sided back story and added the negative response of several Harry Potter fans – those agreed in calling her reaction transphobic.

J. K. Rowling wrote an essay in response to the backlash she received, which explores many angles of the issue and provides history. Unfortunately, I believe that the only part of her essay many people saw were the portions retweeted or shared on other sites.

I encourage, no, urge you to read J. K. Rowling’s whole essay, especially if you have read the Harry Potter series and are unsure of what to think of her as a person now due to the vast majority of negative, hateful things appearing online about her.

As a highly sensitive person and an avid bookworm (book dragon), I have taken refuge in the world of Hogwarts time and again. Recently (re)rereading the series as an adult, I am in awe of the research, care, and passion J. K. Rowling put in creating the world of Harry Potter.

I feel grieved at the harsh attention she is currently receiving, including death threats and calls to boycott all things Rowling.

More than this, though, I feel a deep concern as to what this severe reaction reveals of our society. In this era, we tend to believe that we know everything about a person and their views after reading a single tweet or perusing one article about them. We fail to take the time to truly understand people, especially when they happen to fall outside the line of our own views.

I will not grow as an individual if all I ever do is surround myself with people who agree with my views – whether religious, political, or societal. J. K. Rowling is not a single tweet or post or essay, just as none of us are. Each of us, I believe, could fill up a thousand books with our thoughts and stories, our hurts and our fears, with those things that have made us who we are.

By doing this, we are only hurting ourselves.

When we reduce another person to nothing more than a label, such as transphobic, we only reduce ourselves as well. If we believe that someone is nothing more than a single word or phrase or label, that means that we ourselves can also be reduced to a label. This is harmful because each of us is so much more than a single label or name or title.

As a highly sensitive person, I am both blessed and I might say cursed with depth of processing. I think on things deeply, and on people too. Because of this, I know that we are comprised of far more than can be easily described or labeled in a single article or tweet or Facebook post.

And we are, each of us, worthy of love and respect.

We are, each of us, in the words of a song I love, Glorious.

Finally, a word on the New York Times article title: “Harry Potter Fans Reimagine Their World without Its Creator.” Something about this type of reimagining sounds familiar. Reimagining a world without a creator.

An author might have no power over how a story and its characters are seen after publication. A gathering such as the Harry Potter Fandom might result. So many views and beliefs and fellowships might result outside the direct oversight of the author.

This does not change the fact that the author did write the story, create the characters, build the world. And when an imaginative world such as that in which Harry Potter lives – or an enduring world like Narnia or Middle Earth – is created, we might do well to think a little more deeply on the story’s author.

Because worlds do not appear out of thin air, and the more complex and nuanced the story, and the characters in it, the more complex and nuanced the author of that story. I believe J. K. Rowling deserves more than an across-the-board dismissal, a haughty declaration that, “We’ll keep the story but we don’t need the author.”

We’re adept at removing authors from the stories they have written.

But I would hope to believe that, in this world where we now live, we know enough … understand enough, to realize that we are each a combination of so many stories, so many experiences, so many hurts and unrealized dreams … oh, so much.

And when we encounter another person full of so much of the same, I would hope that we’d respond with grace, with acceptance, with kindness and love.

The Complex Emotions of a Highly Sensitive Mama (A Mother’s Day Post)

By HSP Mama

So, it’s Mother’s Day 2020. By the looks of it, a lot of moms are celebrating by posting photos of their kids or photos of their mom or both. There’s not a whole lot more we can do with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.

I remember reading somewhere that Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year for eating out (they can’t expect us moms to make dinner on our special day, right?) so plenty of restaurants are probably ruefully counting the amount of money they’re losing by not being open today … but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about motherhood and belonging and complex emotions and just how exhausting they are for a highly sensitive person (HSP). This Mother’s Day, I’m at the point of tears and just keeping them at bay because I don’t want anyone in the household to know what I am dealing with.

I’m trying to do my best to follow social distancing guidelines by not visiting my parents because they are both nearing 70 and in the high-risk category. Although I and my kids have been staying home pretty much 24/7, we definitely don’t want to put my parents at risk. So although we live in the same city, I called my mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day instead of stopping by.

I also asked her what she was doing, hoping that she’d find some way to celebrate and enjoy this day. She did. She and my two sisters (both moms) are meeting up to spend a few hours together.

That’s it. I should be happy for her, for them, but instead, this highly sensitive mom feels shattered.

It’s not that I necessarily even like going places. I’m an introvert. Spending more time at home with my family is one of the best things that has happened during the coronavirus pandemic.

But I’ve also been stuck at home for weeks on end with no “me time” or free time and would so love to have been invited for a few hours out “with the girls.” My husband is home today and could have looked after the kids. I would have been available. I would have gone.

Sorrow wells up inside me. I try to step outside of my emotions, stand beside myself and figure out what exactly I am struggling with most among these complex emotions that threaten to wash me under. Is it disappointment? Hurt? Just plain old feeling left out?

I come from a large family – seven kids; I am the sixth. Many of my earliest childhood memories involve being left out, feeling left out, or feeling like no one wanted me around. As a highly sensitive child, I picked up on the comments, attitudes, and reactions of my siblings and it affected me deeply. I mean, what child does not want to belong?

After a childhood and teenhood facing these same problems of seeking and not finding acceptance among my family, I moved away from home at a young age to try to find it in other places. A decade or so passed with little luck.

Marrying and starting a family gave me an automatic place to belong, children to belong to, although I enjoy my space as much as anyone (and need regular space in order to process as any HSP DOES). But sometimes I feel like my mind and heart are pulled back to those exact same emotions I struggled with as a child … of truly needing to find acceptance and belonging, and failing to find it among my own family members.

I get along fine with my brothers and sisters, my parents. I have seasons where life gets busy and I don’t stay in touch as much as I should. I also have seasons where social media gets to be too much so I don’t keep up with what others are doing in life online. I call them my hermit seasons, when I would love nothing more than to find an abandoned cottage in the mountains and live in solitude and contemplation for a while. (I don’t know if that will ever happen, but it remains a dream of mine in times when life gets a little overwhelming.)

I think of my sisters and mom gathering together. I think of me not being there. Instead, I am here, in my home, sheltering in place and finding the need to find shelter in my complex emotions as well.

I have a daughter doing something in the kitchen. (She told me in no uncertain terms that I am not allowed in there.) I have a son who drew me a lovely picture of a mama bird with three baby birds beneath. They look up at her with something like admiration or at least acceptance and belonging. I have a child sitting near me now, occupied with something and showing it to me every few minutes for my reaction.

It is Mother’s Day and I am not alone, though the complexity of emotions that face me regularly might threaten to overwhelm me even on days like this. (Although, running through these thoughts feels like a mental marathon and I might need a nap … or two.)

To all you highly sensitive mamas, wherever you might be and whatever way you might be finding to honor this day … you are important, you are loved, you are needed … Happy Mother’s Day.

The Highly Sensitive Child and Depth of Processing

In her groundbreaking book, The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron writes about the acronym DOES. The first letter, “D”, stands for depth of processing. Perhaps you are a parent of a highly sensitive child and you wonder how this processing works for your child.

A highly sensitive person processes things more deeply than most. If you are a highly sensitive person, this doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but you might wonder exactly how this plays out, especially in the mind of a child.

Let me relate a couple of childhood memories that might define what depth of processing could look like for a highly sensitive child.

Depth of Processing in a Young Child

I couldn’t have been more than four years old when our family was invited to a party next door. Every child’s dream, right? Not this child.  I couldn’t deal with the bright lights and all the talking and chatter and, most of all, the loud music.

Now, I don’t know whether I stayed there for a minute or two before asking my mother to take me home or whether I didn’t even get inside the doorway.

I do remember her bringing me a paper plate with some potato chips on it and a cup half full of orange soda. I remember eating it at our dining room table and listening to the music that I could still hear pretty clearly even from our house.

I recall going through the process in my mind of regretting that I didn’t have the courage to go and wondering what everybody thought of me for not wanting to be there … but at the same time feeling relieved that I could enjoy chips and soda in the relative safety of the house instead of in the midst of so much clamor and noise.

While few four-year-olds would have made that decision to stay home, others might have opted to remain home due to shyness. But few four-year-olds – except a highly sensitive one – would have processed the whole situation while sitting there munching on potato chips.

Only a highly sensitive child would have gone through the mental processes of …

  • what her mother thought about her
  • how the other people at the party must have perceived her
  • whether or not it was worth it to oblige what other people were thinking by deciding to attend the party
  • deciding it wasn’t worth the noise and clamor

Ultimately, I was left with mixed feelings about my decision to stay at home.

I considered the opportunity to have more chips or seconds on soda or perhaps a little bit of attention from friends or family at the party.

I also worried about being teased by my older sisters when they got home, or that they would tell me how much fun they had.

For a highly sensitive child, attending a party is not a single decision; it’s a thousand.

Depth of Processing in an Older Child

On another occasion, when I was about nine, I remember watching Fantasia with my teenage siblings and a couple of their friends.

While we were watching, my older sister made a comment about having watched the same video the previous week at their friend’s house.

The friend said something about how it was more exciting or more interesting to watch it that night.

No more words were exchanged but I intrinsically knew exactly what they had been talking about. I knew they had been doing drugs at their friend’s house and that the fact that they were high had changed their perception of the movie and made it more interesting in their minds.

This was before my parents knew my older sisters were doing drugs and before I necessarily “knew” it, yet I somehow already knew it.

I asked one of my older sisters about it later, and she laughed it off while admitting that, yes, I had been right about my assumption.

Looking back, I can’t explain how I knew what I had known.

  • Was it that thing they call intuition?
  • Did it have more to do with the wording or with their gestures?
  • Were there other cues they gave that I intrinsically understood?

I don’t know for sure.

For a highly sensitive child, perception is often on target.

Closing Thoughts

If you have a highly sensitive child, simply being aware of this fact can do wonders for your child.

As a parent of an HSP, here are a few ways you can make it easier for your highly sensitive child.

  1. Accept her decisions, as long as her choices are reasonable and safe.
  2. Don’t question his line of reasoning unless he offers information; it’s hard for an adult to track back their decision-making process. Think about how much more challenging it is for an HSP child.
  3. Be available. Sometimes a highly sensitive child needs someone to walk through that depth of processing with them and to reassure them that things will work out okay.
  4. Avoid teasing them. Remember that a highly sensitive person takes even gentle teasing far more seriously than the average person. Avoid teasing them about the way their mind works or the steps they took to arrive at a decision.

You would never want an HSP to think there is something wrong with them just because they process information differently than others.

As a parent of an HSP, you can be their strongest supporters … and your child depends on you for it.

HSPs in Literature – J Alfred Prufrock

By HSP Scholar

Let us go then, you and I …

The famous opening line of what is possibly T.S. Elliot’s most well-known poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

The speaker of the poem, J. Alfred Prufrock, can be nothing but a highly sensitive person.

He remarks on his keen observations, things that only a highly sensitive person would tend to notice:

… Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
He even likens the streets of London to an argument … a tedious argument at that, which is what every highly sensitive person thinks of an argument – tedious and undesirable.
… In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo …
Few things tire a highly sensitive person more than draining conversations about nothing in particular, a.k.a. small talk.
… There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet …
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions …
How carefully do we HSPs sometimes have to “prepare a face” to meet the outside world?
How many decisions run through the mind of a highly sensitive person every day?
And how often do we envision dozens of possibilities, real and imagined, revising them, fretting over them, and wondering what will come to pass?
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”) …
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”) …
Yes, these questions of a highly sensitive person … these concerns of what people are thinking and saying behind our backs.
… Do I dare
Disturb the universe? …
Sometimes we HSPs even worry our place disturbs the universe at large.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?
Sometimes a highly sensitive person feels like an old soul. Like they have somehow been around the block of feelings and knowledge and deep emotions more than their young years can prove, just like J. Alfred Prufrock.
… I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas …
And what HSP hasn’t wished, at some random moment, to be a creature of the ocean, beneath undulating waves, so far from the harsh rays of sun and sound?
To simply flow with the ocean’s endless tides.
… But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid …
As HSPs, we fear many things, yet somehow garner the courage to pursue and continue on in the face of our fears.
… Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball …
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.” …
The things we say are often not the things we mean, but it is so difficult to express all we feel and sense as a highly sensitive person.
… Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each …
Amidst the trying questions of what we dare and dare not do, again, this HSP speaker longs for the peace of the ocean’s depths.
… I do not think that they will sing to me …
Our fear, however, is that the voices and the peace they represent are not for us.
… I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown …
As highly sensitive people, we might feel as though we are drowning among the human voices that surround us.
We picture with a sense of peace and joy the idea of the mermaids heading toward the sea, lingering peacefully among the waves and weeds of the ocean.
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” ends suddenly, as if his thoughts are cut short by those human voices cutting in on his reflective moments of peace and contemplation.
But the words of the speaker, and of the poet, T. S. Eliot, remain verses that endure and speak deeply to readers, poets, students … and of course HSPs.
Photo of peach on Foter.com

5 Worst Careers for a Highly Sensitive Person

Like any other person, a highly sensitive person needs to find a career where they feel comfortable and fulfilled.

Unlike any other person, however, an HSP faces certain challenges that make some jobs less-than-ideal.

Here’s our list of the five worst jobs for a highly sensitive person.

Sales and marketing

Whether it’s navigating the floor of a department store trying to make a sale, making cold calls, or knocking on doors and talking about a new product, the very idea of sales and marketing can make a highly sensitive person break out in a cold sweat.

This is for a few reasons …

  • An HSP is highly tuned into the reactions of others.
  • An HSP also reads body language and nuanced responses that others might not catch.
  • They can easily spot when someone is not open to their words.
  • The highly sensitive person will naturally translate this into rejection, the very thought of which can ruin an HSP’s whole day.

Now imagine having to deal with approaching strangers, giving a sales spiel, and hearing the words “No” (regardless of how politely they are spoken) … All. Day. Long!

For this reason, sales and marketing is an industry a highly sensitive person should likely avoid.

Customer support

A highly sensitive person feels things deeply and relates personally to problems they hear about or encounter.

Many HSPs are also empaths and they easily absorb the feelings of others.

In a customer support position, an HSP would have to hear about people’s problems on a regular basis. The problems might be technical or retail, but to a highly sensitive person, they’re personal.

Public relations

A person in public relations is perpetually on stage, at least during work hours.

A highly sensitive person regularly needs solitude and downtime, which would not be an option with a hectic Monday-Friday job in public relations.

Clearly, this would be one of the worst careers for a highly sensitive person.

Executive positions

Managers and supervisors need to take responsibility for other people. The proverbial buck stops with them.

However, a highly sensitive person already takes emotional responsibility for people around them.

An HSP in an executive position would have to deal with that doubly-strong sense of responsibility, internalizing daily problems and finding it difficult to disconnect from work troubles after clocking out.

Lawyers/prosecuting attorney

Conflict deeply disturbs the delicate equilibrium of a highly sensitive person.

And lawyers/attorneys make a living off of conflict, loosely speaking.

On top of that, they have to deal with the lack of justice they would face on a daily basis.

An HSP’s desire is to help people with their problems; therefore, having to face the fact that they can’t fix every unfair or painful legal issue would affect them more deeply than others.

Closing thoughts

If you are an HSP looking for a career, now you know the worst jobs for a highly sensitive person.

With this list of what areas to steer clear from, you can more easily narrow your job search and find something that works for you.

All the best in finding a career where you can find the support and balance you need as an HSP.


Photo on Foter.com