High Sensitivity for Everybody?

It is no coincidence that High Sensitivity is written about a lot in newspapers, magazines and books at the moment. Lately I have noticed that people in my surroundings seem to be more sensitive. To add some objective input to this personal impression I put surveys in some facebook groups. You can see the results at the end of the article.

Based on my life story I share my personal characteristics of high sensitive features and senses in this article. For my job as a healing practitioner this sensitivity is a great bonus.

You can read the article in German here.

In the extensive addendum you find tips for books and links for online-tests, websites and blogs about high sensitivity.

I am writing this article about high sensitivity but I want to remind you that all of us have sensitive aspects. I want to encourage you to give them the attention they deserve.

Some statistics on high sensitivity

High sensitivity is a personality trait and not an illness. 20% of the population, male and female, can be called highly sensitive. All higher animal species have this characteristic. It seems to be helpful for evolution if part of a population is sensitive. Elaine Aron, the pioneer of high sensitivity research, says that this sensitivity is at least partly inherited. 70% of these Highly Sensitive Persons are introverts and 30% are extroverts.

 

How I learned about the concept of high sensitivity

Three years ago I met an interesting woman at a get-together of the mompreneurs in Hamburg. Mompreneurs is an association of self-employed mothers. She told me that she was writing a book about high sensitivity. After that she explained to me what high sensitivity was and what it was like to be a Highly Sensitive Person. In our conversation I heard the expression high sensitivity for the first time. Since then I have been interested in this subject, reading books and taking part in workshops.

Kathrin Sohst´s book was published in 2016. I am proud to have contributed one page to the many testimonials in the book. Sadly it has not been translated into English yet.

 

My personal story

I am the oldest of four children. My parents were born during World War II and for most of their generation outwardly functioning was most important. What was happening on the inside was not really interesting and normally not shared.

Many children of my generation were not treated as independent personalities: We were not allowed to decide for ourselves and our opinion did not count. That was normal. A lot has changed in the meantime.

From High Sensitivity…

Today I know that I supressed my intuition and sensitivity to adjust better to my environment and to create less friction. My parents probably could not follow my highly sensitive perceptions and mirrored to me that these were wrong. Because of this I forgot my sensitive side.

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The first evidence that I carried some emotional baggage I discovered in my twenties after I had completed my MBA. I was on a world tour with my future husband and I experienced a key moment when going to sleep in our tent in Yosemite National Park. Suddenly I realised: Something was missing! This was the first time I was not afraid of the next day. This anxiety had been so normal for me that I had neither ever questioned it nor told anybody about it. I thought everybody was feeling that way.

I was very upset that the world had felt so threatening to me, in spite of me having had a very protected childhood.

…and a depression…

In my thirties after a tubal pregnancy I was diagnosed with depression. I had therapy, took medication and searched for the reasons for this depression.

Why did I get it? After I told my parents about it they shared with me that both of my grandmothers had also had depressions. I found out that a tendency for depression is hereditary.

I believe that besides this hereditary aspect, my dormant sensitivity was another reason for the depression. During therapy my psychiatrist helped me to relearn my intuition by practising it with me. Only later did I realize how far removed I must have been from this important part of myself.

…to being a healing practitioner

After therapy I started to incorporate my natural intuition in my daily life. Slowly I discovered my extraordinary perceptiveness. A few years later I studied energy healing and qualified as a healing practitioner.

 

What does my sensitivity look like?

In the almost 30 years I have been working on my personal development I learned a lot about myself. The knowledge that I belong to the group of Highly Sensitive Persons helps me to explain some of my peculiarities and to view myself from another perspective.

In the following paragraphs I share my personal forms of some characteristics of Highly Sensitive Persons with you: Perception, senses and social interactions.

 

1. Perception and processing of information

Every day we all pick up many stimuli with our senses. As a Highly Sensitive Person I tend to pick up more details which I also process deeper. This can easily become overwhelming. The knowledge that I filter less helps me to notice signs of fatigue earlier and react to them accordingly.

 

2. Some senses are more sensitive than others

2a. Sight

I don´t enjoy shopping. The many colours, objects and offers tend to overwhelm me. Therefore I organise grocery shopping as efficiently as possible. When I go to the supermarket I know exactly what I need and I choose a time when there are not so many people around.

2b. Sound

My hearing has become much more sensitive during the last ten years. I react very diversely to noise: Fireworks scare me and hurt my ears but I like loud classical music in the opera or in a concert. This does not mean that I don´t enjoy pop concerts. I do, wearing earplugs.

2c. Smell

My nose is not very sensitive. I cope well with bad smells. If somebody on the bus or train is wearing a very strong perfume or after-shave I feel nauseous, but many other passengers do too.

2d. Taste

I love eating and good food. Comfort food in winter that warms the body from within is a delicacy for me.

But I hate the taste of an apple that has been sliced by a knife that had contact with an onion before. Then my taste buds curl up in horror.

2e. Touch

My normal tactile sense is not overly sensitive. Natural sheep wool on my skin does not bother me. I don´t mind temperature changes as much as many other sensitive people do. However we heat our house much higher in wintertime.

Nevertheless I have been getting much more sensitive feeling energies with my hands. But these extrasensory perceptions belong to the 6th sense in the next paragraph.

2f. The 6th sense

With the 6th sense I mean perceptions that don´t belong to any of the previous 5 senses: For example the knowing of information without being told or sensing energies with the hands. I use my 6th sense in my practice when I look at my clients´ energy status and create a picture of them in 4D.

 

3. Values

Kathrin Sohst talks about the important inner value system of Highly Sensitive Persons and their search for a meaningful life. I second that. After working in controlling and management consulting for a timeframe I lost the feeling of doing something meaningful. Now being a self-employed healing practitioner I can live the values that are important to me. I have a family, I volunteer and I have the opportunity to continue discovering and exploring.

 

4. Social interactions

I love people and enjoy meeting friends because I am an extrovert. After a party I just need some more time for processing than other people. Like many Highly Sensitive Persons I enjoy deep authentic conversations. My friends appreciate this in me.

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High sensitivity in my practise

My profession is ideal for me because I can use my extraordinary sensitivity to energies there. Additionally to the information my clients give me I work with their chakras and meridians. We only employ self-healing powers and I offer additional energy for healing. The goal is to bring each client into an energetic balance. In what way my clients use the energy is up to them. The wonderful thing is that we are working as a team.

Listening and empathy are strengths of mine I was not aware of for a long time. Today they are very important parts in my toolbox.

The longer I work in healing the more I become a coach. Often only one healing session helps to ease pain or allergies. Sometimes you need more time to look at some deep-set causes for physical symptoms in detail. Then it is helpful not to fall back into old habits and recreate the symptoms. In our conversations my clients and I figure out ways how this can be avoided.

A high percentage of my clients are very sensitive. They have experienced that for them a lot of therapies offered by traditional medicine do not work. Because of this they are probably more open to search for alternatives.

 

Results of the facebook surveys

In the surveys I asked the participants whether they noticed any development of their senses during the last years. They could tick more than one answer. Here are the results:

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Around 100 participants have given 322 answers. I chose two German-speaking groups and one English-speaking group. A lot of members of these groups engage in self-development. This means that they are familiar with self-evaluation and self-reflection. This could also make them more sensitive than other groups of people and this could be the reason why only three participants did not notice any change in their sensitivity in the last years.

Most changes were seen in empathy and sensing energies. Empathy means to understand and share the feelings of another person. Sensing energies stands for the perception of impressions or information, like the identification of places with high energy levels.

Every fifth participant has become more sensitive in these areas. In the commentaries people pointed out that they felt a deeper connection to their environment.

The 6th sense comes third. Almost 15% of the answers indicate that people are more perceptive in the extrasensory field now. Participants wrote that they know about things by intuition or through dreams before they were officially informed.

Synchronicity, the simultaneous occurrence of events, which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection, was also experienced more. Examples for this are women who start to see other pregnant women everywhere when they get pregnant.

 

Does the general sensitivity level increase?

My personal sensitivity has increased considerably in the last years. This shows that sensitivity has a dynamic component. With my non-scientific surveys I cannot prove that we are all going to be highly sensitive one day. But I do interpret this as an indicator that something fundamentally is changing.

We are used to see our senses as being absolute. They cannot be absolute however since the input is selected by our individual perceptions. When our perception changes the input of our senses will also change. When several people describe a situation in different manners their individual perceptions are the reason.

Should my idea that our sensitivity level is rising be correct this would be the result of a shift in perception and not the result of alterations of the sensory organs. I don´t think the organs, our “hardware”, are changing significantly. I believe the “software”, our perception, is getting an update.

It is possible that we are witnessing the beginning of a development that will change our society. What would a world look like that is populated by, compared to todays´ standards, Highly Sensitive People?

 

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Addendum

Online tests

Are you or people you know highly sensitive? There are a lot of self-tests online that can give some insights:

Short online tests

Articles

  • Article with an interview of Elaine Aron.
  • Articles by Susan Meindl. Susan Meindl is a Montreal based psychologist who has specialized in Introverted Temperament and Highly Sensitive People.

Book Tips

Elaine Aron

  • The Highly Sensitive Person, 1996
  • The Highly Sensitive Person´s Workbook (1999)
  • High Sensitivity Person in Love (2000)
  • The Highly Sensitive Child (2002)

Tracy Cooper

  • Thrive! The Highly Sensitive Person and Career (2015)
  • Thrill! High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Persons (2017)

Barrie Jaeger

  • Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person (2004)

Ted Zeff

  • The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide (2004)
  • The Strong Sensitive Boy (2010)
  • The Power of Sensitivity (2015)

Websites for Highly Sensitive Persons

Blogs

 

© Inge Schumacher

Pictures: Togi Simatupang and Inge Schumacher

 

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The GrImporter

Or how do you enter the fairy tale dimension?

Today we meet another one of the key figures of the fairy tale dimension (FTD). We already know the ring bearer and the grim reaper. The ring bearer is a person who alternately comes from our dimension and the FTD. He is a great magician in the FTD and a powerful healer in our dimension. The ring bearer can work with the blueprint of the fairy tale dimension and is therefore vital for its development. The grim reaper´s job is to accompany people out of the dimension.

Our new key figure is the GrImporter. His job is also built into the blueprint of the dimension. He represents the door into the fairy tale dimension. What do we have to do when we want to live in the FTD and make playful experiences there? We connect with the GrImporter.

 

The waiting room

The GrImporter meets us in the big waiting room of the FTD. The waiting room is furnished with comfortable chairs and sofas. There are water dispensers and a coffee machine. When we arrive a lot of other beings, who also want to become part of the FTD, are already present.

Basically the GrImporter is the sales representative for the FTD. When there are vacancies in the different fairy tales he fills them by doing sales-pitches. He is aided in this by an interactive video-wall that shows the respective fairy tale lands to the prospective takers. We listen to him:

“Ladies and gentlemen, there happens to be an opening in the very well known fairy tale of Snow White. One of the seven dwarfs has just left the dimension and needs to be replaced. His name is Dopey.” He opens a video window to this fairy tale that shows the remaining six dwarfs happily cooking dinner in their beautiful old-fashioned house in the woods.

“I assure you that you are not stuck with being Dopey all the time because the dwarfs regularly change roles and shapeshift. As you might know almost everybody here can change his appearance. You will have a lot of freedom when you join this gang. The dwarfs are accomplished craftsmen und magicians. They love adventures. ” He shows a picture of a dwarf on a magic motorcycle.

He adds: “By the way, Snow White´s stepmother is thinking of retiring soon. If you care to wait a bit you can have her place. It comes with a lot of magic powers and a beautiful body, of course.” He shows us pictures and videos of the impressive castle, the many rooms and a lot of staff. Pretty soon he has some applicants for the vacancies and he accompanies them to a separate cubicle to discuss details.

The present GrImporter looks human and young although he has had this job for more than 100 earth years. He has dark blond hair that is sticking out on all sides because he habitually runs his fingers through it. He has friendly blue eyes that are twinkling with laughter. He wears a light blue overall with a nametag identifying him: “GrImporter, Incoming Services of the Fairy Tale Dimension”. Yeah, right.

We come up to his desk for our interview. He shuffles some papers around and looks briefly on his computer screen. The equipment looks modern, a bit like in an earth style travel agency. He is fiddling with a ballpoint pen: “What can I do for you?” he asks us. We have a difficult request for him. Let us see how he manages it.

“We want to play in a fairy tale where we can fly in a humanoid form. This means we need a country that incorporates great heights. We picture the inhabitants of this country living in houses perched on levitating rocks. We would like to form a society based on harvesting and processing soft fluffy cloudwool”, we answer.

 

Creating a new fairy tale story

The GrImporter raises his eyebrows: “You have a very detailed imagination.” Absentmindedly he chews on his pen. Then his eyes light up.

“I have an idea. We don´t have a fairy tale with these specifications yet. You are lucky that our current ring bearer has just mastered the third rune for the first time. I am going to chat with her and we will see whether we can add a new fairy tale country in the near future. It will take some time because we have to clarify the specifications and check them with the blueprint. We also need to find other people who are willing to join you in this new story. I hope you understand that it is not very efficient to add a new fairy tale land just for a handful of people.”

He is willing to help us to create a new fairy tale story? This is pretty cool!

Multiple GrImporters

All the incoming fairy tale fans are personally served by the GrImporter and offered an entrance into the fairy tales that fit their needs best. Considering that there are billions of inhabitants, the GrImporter, just like the grim reaper, can make copies of himself. He has created avatars that he employs as needed. One of the perks of being a key figure in this dimension is that you have a lot of freedom in how you fill your role.

Automation of country changes

To ease his workload the GrImporter is working on the continuing automation of the low level changes. By low level changes he means people who want to stay in the dimension  and move from one country to another only. I have explained in a previous blog article that you can change your stories as often as you want to. Sometimes people just walk out of one fairy tale country and end up in the next. Or they die in one country and magically reappear in the next.

It is the job of the GrImporter to facilitate these changes. He has to make sure that there is sufficient room for the new inhabitants in their chosen fairy tale story and provide the logistics. For this task the GrImporter has created a vast databank that works like an Artificial Intelligence. Its job is to match places and people fast and efficiently. Its personality incorporates many traits of the blueprint of the FTD. This means that there can be some funny – in the FTD sense – surprises when an inhabitant changes his centre of living. The GrImporter shows us how the AI system works and we are impressed. He did a very good creative job with this automation!

Where the GrImporter lives

The GrImporter lives in a very secret part of the FTD where the other key figures reside, too. This area is secured and fortified by a multitude of spells and because of this it is practically invisible. Like the other key figures he has the power to customize his home and his grounds according to his needs. Let us pay him a visit.

His house is large and looks very modern. It is a white bungalow built in a U-form. In the space in the middle of the three sides of the U there is a tropical garden and a swimming pool. Nice!

We arrive on a wide porch and knock on a white door. He welcomes us warmly and invites us in. Our first glance at the interior decoration of his house reveals that this is the home of a high tech nerd. In our line of sight there are many gadgets, machines and appliances that look quite unfamiliar. We cannot even guess what they are used for.

His spacious office, for example, is filled with a multitude of computer screens and electronic equipment. But wait, this is not the earth electronics we a familiar with. This must be some combination of medieval magic and digital age gimmicks. We ask and the GrImporter grins and nodds. He explains that he likes to create hybrid machines that combine electronics and magic. He shows us some of his experimental devices, which, he assures us, are not dangerous.

The GrImporter has two assistants who live with him. The apprentices are a girl and a boy who look very much alike. They seem to be in their early twenties. Both are skinny and long limbed with long dark hair, jeans, T-Shirts and sneakers. They are very fond of games and automation and therefore can support their boss in his various endeavours adequately.

In the huge living room we see a large sprawling sofa and a lot of big screens. There are also seats and tables that are covered with all kinds of equipment. The GrImporter explains that a lot of these machines – they work with and without magic – are used for a variety of video games. 3D video games seem to be the hobby of the apprentices.

The kitchen is a high-end affair with shiny appliances and more switches and controls than you would expect in a spacecraft. The GrImporter switches on an elaborate coffee machine and produces delicious coffee for us.

Unlike the grim reaper the GrImporter has a very companionable personality. He is very fond of experiments and some of his best friends are the most powerful magicians in the FTD. We have a mutual friend in the old tree magician, the headmaster of the magic school. (The Magic School) Often he and his magician friends sit together and devise new ingenious ways of supporting their various jobs and tasks and of course to play. Their experiments are often loud and smelly, of course.

The GrImporter hosts parties regularly and it is an honour for the inhabitants of the fairy tale dimension to get invited.

I have the feeling that we will be seeing much more of this key figure of the fairy tale dimension in the near future.

© Inge Schumacher