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Sensitivity ... what does this really mean?

There is a lot of talk these days about sensitivity, and people have started labelling themselves as a Highly Sensitive Person (HPS). You can do tests online to see if you are a HPS, and for many this can feel like a way of acknowledging that they do get affected by loud voices, people's emotional outbursts and harsh behaviour.

We cannot deny that the world is becoming increasingly intense...walking down the street I observe more and more people clearly not coping and displaying emotional distress and odd behaviours, as well as indications of debilitating physical illness and disease. These signs of ill health are becoming more the norm than the exception, if truth be told.

With many of my teenage clients there is a confusion and a despair about the state of the world and humanity. One could say that it is no wonder they retreat into a cyber world where they can be the person they wish they could be, in a world where they have some sense of agency. But we know that a digital reality is not the answer...and is actually exacerbating the global mental health problem in ways that are yet to become fully evidenced.

What if we need to embrace the fact that we are all equally sensitive, and that we desperately need individuals who are in touch with their sensitivity, who do feel what is going on and do not withdraw from life but stay engaged - in relationship, caring and honouring the sensitivity in us all? And what if this new label (HPS) is just a way of abdicating responsibility? Of saying 'I can't' rather than 'I can', giving us an excuse to opt out and remain in apathy while we watch things continue to deteriorate.

Everyone is born as a delicate baby, and so everyone equally knows deep down a quality of being that is sensitive. Let's not divide ourselves into more than or less than, but accept that we are all the same in essence and commit to working together to setting new standards of loving care. If we do not set standards that honour our sensitivity, who will?

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