Sensitives, how do you “flip” a negative label?

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

If you are an HSP, that statement is probably one of the most self-negating things you can possibly hear.  And I bet you hear it a lot more than you’d care to.  Seeing how we live in a largely insensitive world.

That being the case, the S-word has taken on a lot of misplaced baggage.  It’s been wrongly associated with undesirable terms like “weak” and “incapable.”  So we’ve got some cleaning and clarifying to do.  Some straightening of the social records that have become quite a mess, and that keep a “virtue” mistakenly classified as a “flaw.”

Q:  What’s one way we can remove the pejorative sting from a word that describes our very core?

A:  With a full embrace and radical re-claiming of the S-word.

Things like “rights” and “recognition” rarely float into the laps of those who deserve them.  Usually they have to be insisted upon.  This is what many sensitive writers and coaches — like Elaine Aron, Jenna Avery, Douglas Eby, Thomas Eldridge, Jenna Forrest, Jim Hallowes, Cliff Harwin, Barrie Jaeger, Grace KerinaMarti Olsen Laney, Peter MesserschmidtRose Rosetree, Michael Smith, Jacquelyn Strickland, Tribe, Ane Weed, and Ted Zeff — have been working toward.

I’ve joined them, and have spent the past year working to leverage the neurological trait of high sensitivity.  For the 20% of the world’s population who are born with this genetic trait, nerve-based sensitivity is still amazingly under-recognized and under-discussed.

So maybe we can start leaving bread-crumbs?  The evangelical kind.  Maybe we can create a lil’ cultural intrigue, and get conversations started.  The unapologetic kind.  About who you are.  And how you are.  Your presence makes the world a more enjoyable place to be in.  Why not come clean about how you do that?  How you bring forth those calm, healing, creative, compassionate, insightful, intuitive, delicate, refined, inventive, empathic qualities wherever you go.

Do you like the stamp above, or the mugs below?  Just click on the image you like, and you’ll be taken to its purchase page.  (Look for the gold “Add to Cart” button.)

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7 Responses to “Sensitives, how do you “flip” a negative label?”

  1. joarr Says:

    I really like what you wrote. Can you tell me about how HSP is a neurological trait? I would like to share this info with my neurologist.

    Thank you.

    • Erika Harris Says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and question, Joann! I truly appreciate your visit :-)

      Please share with your neurologist this reference: Elaine N. Aron and Arthur Aron (1997). “Sensory-Processing Sensitivity and Its Relation to Introversion and Emotionality,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 73, No. 2, 345-368. Dr. Aron coined the term “HSP” for mainstream audiences, but the scientific term is Sensory Processing Sensitivity, which is based on a sensitive nervous system — one that processes more data/stimuli more thoroughly. Learning this was my personal Eureka! moment. It made sense of so much, and was grounded in my biology… rather than hyper-emotionalism or some other misconception. Feel free to write back if you’ve got more thoughts on this, Joann.

      P.S. Here’s, also, a PDF’d academic article Dr. Aron wrote that you and/or your neurologist might find of interest: “The Clinical Implications of Jung’s Concept of Sensitiveness”

  2. Rose Rosetree Says:

    LifeBlazing, thank you so much for including me in this merry band. Back when Dr. Aron published her groundbreaking first book for HSPs, I was a book reviewer. Did I ever pounce on her great book with the huge praise!

    Her work for HSPs was cited a lot when I wrote the first book in English for empaths (Empowered by Empathy). Empaths are about 1 in 4 HSPs, as you may know.

    And we all need community and skills. Best wishes for all you’re doing.

    • LifeBlazing Says:

      Rose! I LOVE your book, Empowered by Empathy! I recommend it as much and as often as I do Dr. Aron’s first book. Many in my MeetUp group ( and I have been helped enormously with your powerful techniques that do lead to skillful empathy.

      I’m working my way through “The Power of Face Reading” and “Become The Most Important Person in the Room” and am getting so much benefit from them both. You are PROLIFIC and magnetic. I’m very drawn to your work, and want to join you in Virginia for a live workshop.

  3. April Says:

    I love Rose’s book too! (And lifeblazer is great!)

  4. Grace Kerina Says:

    Hallelujah, Erika! I would so love it if there were articles like this, really unabashedly shouting out the new, revitalized power of the S-word, as you so cleverly call it. Thank you for your stance of having both feel on the ground and both eyes on the horizon. I’m here. Lead on. Let’s get this parade in motion.

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