Here’s a Ted Talk on sensitivity you will want to bookmark. Elena Herdieckerhoff’s description of sensitivity as being “in permanent osmosis with everything around you” is so right! Not only is she informative and entertaining (with a charming accent), but she embodies the subtle strength of HSPs. I’ve been feeling it for awhile, but I haven’t found the right word to express the power that lies in accepting ourselves even as we openly acknowledge our lack of armor. Maybe the word I’m looking for is “courage.”

Elena’s talk also reminds us that many of the negative reactions directed towards HSPs, whether they be men or women, are firmly rooted in sexism. The notion that emotion and reaction are feminine, and therefore an expression of weakness, is wrong on all counts. Emotionality and reactivity are not weaknesses, there is nothing inherently female about them, and last but not least, there is nothing weak or inferior about women!

But it’s hard to find words that express vulnerability AND strength. Impossible in fact. Check a thesaurus. All of the synonyms for vulnerability reference weakness and/or helplessness. And the lack of a conception of vulnerable strength is as bad for strength as it is for vulnerability. The synonyms for strength reference force, violence and domination. Before the world becomes a better place for HSPs, I think we will have to coin some new terms.

A dewy spiderweb against a background of evergreen boughs

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