A Blog about Sensory Processing Sensitivity from the Worldview of a High Sensing Male
Socrates: Death isn't sad. The sad thing is: most people don't live at all.
From The Peaceful Warrior
I always knew that there was something different about me, always a bit more sensitive than other boys, perhaps, a bit more finicky about what I wore, what music I listened to, what movies I liked. I was a little more high brow, less rough and tumble, less crude and always a deep thinker and observer. Even then, I tried to adapt to the prevailing model for boys – the boy's code. I was good at sports, joined the boy scouts, made treehouses in the woods behind our house, got into boyhood adventures which including minor trouble. All trying to fit in. Still, I knew I was different than the other friends I had. I relished my time alone – reading, dreaming, listening to music.
Throughout most of my adult life, I learned to adapt, to fit in more and fit the typical male role model. This was at times challenging, but I knew having grown up in the Southern United States, what men were supposed to be, look like and act like. I moved to California in the late seventies and started my adult life – away from Southern rules.
I grew up in the sixties and seventies when being different or more importantly being yourself was encouraged. A time when being unique was a good thing. Non-conformance was seen as a positive. Self-image for me was always evolving, yet, somehow I was always concerned about how I measured up as a man. My sensitivity in most things tended to seem awkward to friends, girlfriends, and others. I was taller than most boys, beanpole skinny, but athletic and likable. That probably saved me from a few butt whippings or being the target of bullies.
Somewhere in the mid-nineties, I found out about Highly Sensitive People. I can’t remember the exact route I took, but somehow I found out about Elaine Aron’s book on sensitivity and sensitive people. When I read the book, my eyes opened and realized that it was about me and for me. It was life-changing. It was like being found, after years or lonely wondering in” the what am I?” wilderness.
Even later when high sensitivity was given a measure of credence, being an HSP male among HSPs seemed fine, but being an HSP among non-HSP men was different. I seemed to have more female friends than male friends, although, I did have male friends. Just a few close male friends.
Nevertheless, I still struggled with my sensitivity and my masculinity, as it was defined for me by society. I began to question how this template for being a man fit in with my internal model and feelings. The fact was I didn’t. And I knew something had to give. Now that I’m older, I have learned about the importance of being authentic and being true to oneself. I have learned to embrace my sensitivity, and I am now an advocate of the characteristics in myself and in men that have the same qualities. I’m proud to be a sensitive man, son of a sensitive man, and father and grandfather to sensitive children.
A good friend of mine, an intuitive life coach, gave me a reading once, to help me understand myself. In it, she described that my life purpose was to be an observer of life and to put these observations to paper. Later I recognized that calling had led me to write. It fits me well. A chance to think to ponder deeply, to verbalize my thoughts and opinions and do it an environment I chose.
This blog and the next I’ll delve a little more into my personal views in describing what I consider to be the positive attributes of being an HSP and talk of some of the challenges in having this trait. I’m sure others could add to the list as I will in time. This week I focus on what I consider positive HSP characteristics.
Here’s a list of things that readily come to mind – positive HSP originated traits.
I am grateful for the qualities that I now see as powerful gifts given to me via a combination of genetics and environment. I discover more qualities every year and embrace them. Please share the qualities that you feel are tied to your sensitivity in the comments below.
Next time we’ll look at the negative side of sensitivity as I see it.
Socrates: I call myself a Peaceful Warrior... because the battles we fight are on the inside
From The Peaceful Warrior
Bill Allen lives in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.