I have been called “overly-sensitive”… a “Drama Queen”… an empath. The first two come with a negative connotation. The last with a sense of whimsy or mysticism.
I’m one of those people who can walk into a room and feel the outpouring of emotion from the strongest among the crowd. I will “feel” sudden sadness or elation… and the worst, anger.
A nice drive into work could be banished by a visit from a certain client who I *knew was being abused by her husband (*and later turned out to be true). I’ve learned how to guard myself from most of what goes on around me.
One trait I’ve carried everywhere throughout the years is an openness that comes under a lot of scrutiny. Some see it as annoying. Others, as vulnerability. I have had difficultly pulling apart privacy vs. secrets. As in: secrets aren’t safe. Privacy is essential. Me? I’ve shared it all, sometimes to my detriment.
Internet message boards gave me the needed space and time to think about what I want to share, along with anonymity, should I choose it. Usually, I don’t. Sometimes, I should have. In truth, my authenticity in all relationships (online or off) are parallel. I am who I am. Take me or leave me.
I have felt so deeply and shared my fears and thoughts so openly, it has left me open to ridicule.
I remember one time in particular, and this was online at a message board, when I’d shared something particularly personal and difficult. An online friend responded with (and I can’t quote verbatim but this is close): “Nobody believes anything you say anymore. You’re such a Drama Queen! I had a book to send you but I’ve changed my mind.”
She broke my heart. And I really wondered if I’d read her right all along. Until I remembered that years before, something had crossed my mind about her… and perhaps I should have listened. You know the old saying: When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time. But I digress.
Another woman suggested that my sensitivity, vulnerability and openness were actually *good things* and she sent me a whack of book titles to check out — the book referenced here was among them. I read it like my life depended on it. It kinda did.
I don’t have to accept the labels people give me.
I am sharing a link to the online test for you to take. Are you HSP, too? Find out here: The Highly Sensitive Person(HSP) Test by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
I am aware that this adds yet another label… and I respect that opinion. However, this “label” is just a trait that, once accepted, is a life-changer.
There is so much more than “just” the empathic response with the HSP trait. It’s about sensitivity in sight, scent and surroundings… literally everywhere. It’s an excellent read if you think that you or someone you love is HSP.