Understanding the Highly Sensitive Man

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Post by melodiccolor on Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:44 pm

Understanding the Highly Sensitive Man by Denmark Guy. I copied the text because the original article is also mixed in with a lot of ads for additional HSP books related to the topic, and it gets confusing as you don't realise there is more to the article.

Highly Sensitive Men: The "Hidden" HSPs
Are you a Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP? Are you a highly sensitive MAN?

If you are reading these words, there's a good chance that you are, or you know someone who's an HSP, or you're at least curious about what high sensitivity is.

In the briefest possible summary, a highly sensitive person-- or "HSP"-- is someone with a more "finely tuned" central nervous system than the majority of the population. It is an innate genetic trait, not a behavioral choice, illness or "condition." The concept was initially explored by research and clinical psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron during the early to mid-1990s, and was shown to apply to approximately 15-20% of the population. Furthermore, Aron discovered that roughly equal numbers of men and women are highly sensitive. The concept has since seen considerable scientific study, and is today also known by the name Sensory Processing Sensitivity.

High sensitivity is a fairly complex topic that extends far beyond the traditional interpretation of either "getting your feelings hurt really easily" or being "a tender fussy flower." If you'd like to learn more about the HSP trait, I recommend reading this extensive introductory article, which hopefully will answer most of your questions about the basics of what it means to be an HSP.

The above linked article covers being an HSP from a very general perspective; this article takes on the more specific topic of exploring the ins and outs of being highly sensitive and male, a combination that isn't always regarded kindly by our culture.

Why a separate article about sensitive men? Statistics tell us that high sensitivity occurs equally between men and women, but although they account for half the "HSP population," most HS men remain "hidden from view." In addition, they face a number of specific challenges that often make their lives quite difficult. The material in this article is based on 15-odd years of studying the trait, participating in groups, forums and lectures, as well as from workshops I teach for-- and about-- HS Men, both to men and the women know them, live with them, love them and care about them.
Table of Contents
You can click on any of the links below to jump to a particular section of this article.

Did You Realize This?
But Men Aren't SUPPOSED to be Sensitive!
Some basic terminology
A High Sensitivity Self-Test
What did you learn or discover?
Reading Suggestion: The Highly Sensitive Person
"Sensitive New Age Guy"-- NOT
Common Characteristics of Highly Sensitive Men
Men, Sensitivity and Cultural Biases
Highly Sensitive Men may be "Hiding"... BUT
HSP Book List: Recommended Reading
Memories: Growing Up With The Boys Club
STUFF Those Feelings, Boys!
Men, Emotions and... Anger
Dr. Ted Zeff, Author & HSP Expert
Highly Sensitive Men and Gender Bias
So Where ARE these "Hidden" HSPs?
Insights, from a Favorite Book
Public vs. Private Persona
The Empowered Sensitive Man
Highly Sensitive Men on the Web
Top Self-development Books for Men
The GOOD news is...
A Final Question, Before We End
Help spread the word...
Talk Back... Comments, Please!
About Peter Messerschmidt aka "Denmarkguy"
Facts and Stats

Did You Realize This?

Research has shown that 15-20% of the population fits the definition of a Highly Sensitive Person. 50% of HSPs are men. If we just go with the conservative 15% estimate, there are almost TWENTY FOUR MILLION highly sensitive men in the US, alone.

Might YOU be one of them?
But Men Aren't SUPPOSED to be Sensitive!
A few words about men, maleness and cultural stereotyping
We may be living in "enlightened times," but that's still the most common thing I hear, when I speak about being a man and highly sensitive.

In most western societies-- and especially in the US-- we have some fairly fixed definitions of what men are "supposed to be." Thus, one of the most common responses I hear when I talk about men being "highly sensitive" is that men aren't supposed to be sensitive. Ironically, some of these voices belong to men who actually are highly sensitive... but actively choose to ignore it.

The "Women's Movement" and a certain acceptance of "soft values" notwithstanding, we still largely reject the idea of men as "feeling" and potentially "sensitive" beings. The self-actualization and self-development industries may be telling us that we must "feel free to be our authentic selves," but that doesn't apply if you're a sensitive male... unless you want to risk being the subject of ridicule among your peers.

So why is it that we feel this way about men?

We have to examine what we "value" and idealize in men, in our society. It's easy to simply look at rhetoric (like "oh, but we're more tolerant of differences than we used to be"), but we need to look deeper at behavior patterns and where we give-- and withhold-- positive reinforcement for the way we are and present ourselves to the world. Yes, we may have "come a long way" but we still idealize the "tough guy" who's basically a "badass" and fits a 21st century model of the "Alpha Male." Even though it may be subtle, those who fall short of this ideal tend to be judged as somehow inferior or "less than."

On the whole a very high emphasis-- if not "value"-- is placed on "problem solving by FORCE." It pervasively runs through every aspect of our culture from video games and role playing to entertainment and a news media that brings the world to your living rooms through an unwritten policy and strategy of "if it BLEEDS, it LEADS."

Although there's nothing inherently bad about the tough-guy model of maleness, there is something bad about the way we're closed off to-- and judgmental of-- other possible approaches to being "a man."

As a sidebar note, the "tough guy" is an increasingly "outmoded" ideal. Let's face it, today's "hero" doesn't typically ride into town on a powerful stallion, waving guns and fists around to save the heroine from marauders, he most likely rides into town on a 10-speed bike, waving a keyboard and anti-virus software around, as he saves the computer network from a malicious DNS attack. And yet? The old stereotypes persist.

The most important thing to remember here is that when I talk about "sensitivity" I'm not talking about it by the typical definitions people think of. What we're dealing with here is a physiological trait, not a form of behavior.
Some basic terminology

I use a number of abbreviations in this article.

HSP = Highly Sensitive Person
HSM or HS Man = Highly Sensitive Man (or Men)
HSW or HS Woman = Highly Sensitive Woman (or Women)
SPS = Sensory Processing Sensitivity
A High Sensitivity Self-Test
"Sensitive New Age Guy"-- NOT
Let's just throw out this pop culture stereotype...
The idea of a "sensitive man" isn't entirely new to the world.

From time to time we come across a frequently ridiculed cultural stereotype referred to as the "Sensitive New Age Guy," sometimes abbreviated "SNAG" by modern urban dictionaries. Originally coined in the 1970's, this man is generally regarded as a strange milquetoast many people make fun of, behind his back. He was perhaps a precursor to what is now known as a "metrosexual," except he was typically more sensitive, hesitant and timid. His friends were far more likely to be women than men, and you'd more likely find him at a women's rights rally than at a football game.

Is this even a remotely accurate characterization of the seemingly elusive HSP man?

No. Not at all. Or certainly very little. The preceding is more of a cultural caricature, based on someone who-- by choice-- actively rejects his masculine side. Sometimes this is done out of fear, sometimes as a manipulation-- either way, it is not what being a highly sensitive man is about. Being highly sensitive-- as a man-- has nothing to do with rejecting masculinity, or being effeminate. It has everything to do with being... well... sensitive, simply because you are wired that way.

Herein, however, we encounter another of our cultural biases-- namely, that "being sensitive" is equated with femininity and with weakness. There's also an implication that sensitivity is a "behavior" you get to choose.
Common Characteristics of Highly Sensitive Men
Or... "You might be a highly sensitive man IF..."
So far we've mostly covered some basics about high sensitivity, along with examining some of the ways sensitivity in men can be challenging, and is often suppressed.

So let's take a look at some commonly shared characteristics, specific to HS men. After all, there's only so much you can learn from taking test. The following attributes have been shared with me through my interaction with dozens-- if not 100s-- of HS men in the course of the past 15 years. Quite a few of them apply to me, as well. You may find yourself reading this list and "recognizing yourself" in many of these.

You might be a highly sensitive man IF:

You tend to spend more time in solitary pursuits than most of the guys you know.
You weren't particularly interested in, and/or good at, team sports when you were in school... but might have excelled at individual sports like cross country, golf or tennis.
You have more (platonic) female friends than male... and (if you're heterosexual) really don't think about these female friends from a sexual perspective.
You were frequently told that you needed to be "more assertive" and/or "more aggressive" when you were a kid.
Your friends see you as highly intelligent, conscientious and hard working, yet you tend to underachieve or be underutilized at work, considering your skill set and education.
You have a general orientation towards solving problems in a "cooperative" manner, rather than a "competitive" manner.
It seemed like you started dating and relationships later in life than most of your peers.
You tend to be more intuitive (or "right brained") in your decision making and general approach to life, as opposed to logical (or "left brained"), which is typical of about 75% of the male population.
You are usually more interested in things like culture, the arts, museums and creative expression than "traditional" male interests like hunting, watching sports on TV, working on cars or building things.
You are generally considered soft-spoken, agreeable and compliant, rather than forceful, aggressive and assertive.
You are more likely than your male peers to be interested in things like self-help, personal development seminars, psychology and "seeking enlightenment."
If you were bullied during your school years, the focus of the bullying included terms like "cry baby," "girly," "sissy," and "fag."
It seems likely that you had fewer relationships and/or sexual partners than your peers, by the time you reached age 30.
If you are heterosexual, you have sometimes been thought "effeminate" because of your interests (but not necessarily your mannerisms), and may have been mistaken for gay on more than one occasion.
On the whole, you don't tend to get involved in or participate in typical "male posturing" or "territoriality" behaviors.

Men, Sensitivity and Cultural Biases
The ways our cultural norms force a large number of HS men to "hide" their true selves
Here's another statistic for you, based on about 15 years of research, observation and involvement in the global HSP "community:"

Although equal numbers of men and women fit the description of a highly sensitive person, it generally appears that HS women outnumber HS men by a factor of about 5-to-1. If you look at workshops, lectures, online forums, meetup groups, retreats or any other kind of venue tailored specifically to HSPs, the women typically outnumber the men by about that margin.

So what are these "cultural biases" I'm talking about?

For example, men aren't "supposed to" be interested in such things as self-development and self-help. "Self-development" for most men is a physical thing-- like working out or jogging-- not a thing of the psyche and spirit.

In a competitive world, the word "sensitivity" typically implies "weakness" and "femininity." Men typically avoid associating themselves with anything they feel might lead to them being seen as "less than."

Sensitivity gets a bad rap because it commonly gets used in contexts that often result in anger. Men may have been forced to undergo "sensitivity training" at work, as a result of using inappropriate racial or sexual innuendo... making sensitivity a "bad word" in their vocabulary.

As a result of these fairly tight "boxes" wrapped around the definitions of "men" and "maleness," those men who are highly sensitive often feel compelled to either hide their sensitivity as a "survival tool," or they remain in outright denial... even though they suffer extensive and constant discomfort as a consequence.
Highly Sensitive Men may be "Hiding"... BUT
(They are out there, looking for information!)
I have been keeping a number of web sites about highly sensitive people for a long time-- going back almost to when the book "The Highly Sensitive Person" was first published.

As a webmaster, one of the things I get to look at on a regular basis is my visitor logs. Not only do I get to see which pages on my web sites are the initial "landing points" for visitors, but which pages are read most... and which search engine queries bring people to my sites and blogs.

For several years now, my pages about highly sensitive men have been the most visited! Not only that, the most common queries getting people to my web properties are some variation of "sensitive men," "highly sensitive man" or something along those lines. In fact, a large part of my motivation for writing this article is the fact that the most common search term leading people to my "general" article about HSPs is... "Highly sensitive men."

A quick look at Google Trends suggests that interest in HS Men is sharply on the rise: Search volume for the phrase "Highly Sensitive Person" has increased by about 37% since 2005. Search volume for the phrase "Highly Sensitive MAN" has increased 220% during the same time period!

So even though it may appear to be true that highly sensitive men are few and far between-- and greatly outnumbered by their female counterparts-- somebody is doing an awful lot of looking for information about this topic!
Memories: Growing Up With The Boys Club
Perhaps we all struggle, being kids and growing up-- I never seemed to fit in, anywhere. Of course, neither I nor my parents knew hat there was such as thing as "being highly sensitive" when I was a kid, so my original experience was simply that I was a "freak" who most of the time needed to hide how he felt. I wasn't necessarily a "crybaby" but I was very finicky and fussy, as a kid... and easily upset and thrown off track by certain things.

My first "sensitivity" memory came from when I was perhaps four or five. I recall thinking about how incredibly LOUD the world was, and how VIOLENT people seemed. I couldn't figure out why adults-- and other kids-- always seemed to SHOUT everything, and then would be so incredibly rough with each other... often causing pain and tears. I was well aware that it hurt when you fell down and banged your knees on the pavement and I would cry just like anyone else when that happened, but these people seemed to me like they deliberately wanted to hurt and make others hurt and sad. It made no sense to me.

Some years later, I became more aware that I was a bit of a "weirdo" because I had very little interest in "territorial competitiveness" on the school playground, and very little interest in the ongoing fights other boys always seemed to be part of. It wasn't that I was afraid of them... it was just that I wasn't interested in them. I was big and strong and tall for my age... and I could never figure out why so many other boys "wanted to fight" with me, just like (I suppose) they were baffled that I didn't want to fight with them..

Throughout my childhood and youth, I faced a lot of inner turmoil-- which I have since learned is quite common among HS men.

I felt things very deeply, and was very emotionally driven (in a non-histrionic sort of way). How I "felt" about things was often more meaningful to me than the "logic" or "sense" of them. Seemingly small things-- like a dead bird that had flown into the window or a hungry kitten outside-- would move me to tears my parents (and peers) didn't really understand. Loud noises literally felt hurtful, as did bright lights. My mom cleaning something with ammonia would give me a pounding headache in 20 seconds. Tiny repetitive noises drove me crazy. I based many of my choices on what "felt right," and seldom on what "made sense" or was "the done thing."

However, my environment-- that is, the people in it-- soon taught me what it teaches most sensitive boys: I'd best forget all that "feeling stuff" or suffer the consequences, in terms of bullying, ridicule and alienation. It felt like case of "conform, or perish."

Part of what I was taught by the older males in my life was how to "get ahead," as a member of this "Boys Club." If you're a guy, you may have heard some these things like "boys don't cry" and "feelings are for sissies and girly-men." I was also taught to "Stand tall, look 'em in the eye, and tell 'em what you know." I was told that wearing your emotions on your sleeve was "something GIRLS do," and that competition was good and it was OK to push others out of the way in order to get what I wanted. And I was taught how there were things "boys do" and "boys are interested in," and that it really was not OK for me to prefer things that seemed more like they were "for girls."

It definitely wasn't that I wanted to play with dolls... but I was often drawn to "family and community" thinking... and really wasn't very interested in "playing war."
STUFF Those Feelings, Boys!
It's a cold harsh world, out there...
Sensitive boys are often easy prey for bullies. Although I was bullied from grade school till I left high school, I probably got off more lightly than many HS boys. As I mentioned before, I was tall, and large and strong for my age... and I succeeded in keeping a certain "mystery" about me, so many would-be bullies were never quite sure whether I'd turn on them and cry... or turn on them and beat the hell out of them.

As it were, I did neither. It was obvious to me that my sensitivity was some kind of "defect," but I was also at a loss for how to change it... so I learned to "fake it" really well. But I always felt like a fraud, playing a "role" I never could relate to.

Perhaps Europe is a little different from the US, in how people view sensitivity. One of my earliest memories after arriving in Texas for University-- at age 20-- was sitting with a group of fellow students, talking about this and that-- interests, what we liked to do. This large awkward "kid" (who was an 18-year old freshman) suddenly said "Are you some kind of weird European faggit?" Whereas I had been bullied and picked on on account of being sensitive before, it was the first time hints of sensitivity had been equated with sexual preference.

Although I felt miserable and lapsed into periods of depression, I continued to "stuff" my sensitivity during the rest of my 20's and into my 30's. I worked in very extraverted and competitive fields like sales, marketing and advertising, and ignored my long-time dreams of being a writer. But beyond merely feeling miserable, I also felt a growing i> at not being able to "be myself." This is also a common pattern among HS men... and this bottled up anger tends to manifest inappropriately through unpredictable outbursts. And it can be very confusing to those around us when someone otherwise mild-mannered suddenly blows up, over seemingly minor issues.
Men, Emotions and... Anger
The heavy price we pay for "not feeling."
During the past couple of decades, a number of studies have been done on the behaviors of boys and men... and how those behaviors affect their general health. On several occasions, it has been shown that male infants actually display an equal-- or possibly wider-- range of emotions than female infants. What's more, there are ways in which male infants are actually more emotional than their female counterparts.

But that doesn't last long.

As part of our "socialization process" as boys and men, we soon learn what is acceptable behavior and acceptable ways to express ourselves... and what is not. Studies have also shown that-- by age 18-- the majority of males have learned that the only "socially acceptable" way for them to demonstrate an emotion is in the form of anger. All other forms of emotion have largely been suppressed by social conditioning.

"And that's a bad thing... how?" you might be asking, especially if you're male and having your doubts that I have any idea what I'm talking about.

Back in the early 1900's, psychologist C.G.Jung extensively studied personality and the psychological effects of behavior. One of the things he studied was a phenomenon subsequently named "Falsification of Type." What IS that? The shortest explanation of this is that it's "pretending to be, and acting like you are, a particular way that's actually counter to your nature."

Although this was primarily studied in the context of temperament, the conclusions of several studies have been rather startling: Falsifying "who you are" for a prolonged period of time can have a profound negative impact on both your physical and mental health... leading to depression, illness, anxiety, sleep disorders and even suicidal ideation.

For highly sensitive boys and adolescents, "falsification of type" generally takes on the form of simply "suppressing emotions" and "acting like a tough guy" even though neither feels "right" or natural.
Dr. Ted Zeff, Author & HSP Expert
Highly Sensitive Men and Gender Bias
In addition to the various cultural biases with respect to high sensitivity-- in general-- HS men also have to deal with certain gender biases.

Let's face it, it may not be easier to live as a woman with the high sensitivity trait, but women are less likely to be judged negatively for it. Although generalities are dangerous, on the whole if someone talks about a woman being "a delicate flower" it may not be a positive attribute, but it still falls within the realm of "acceptable statements" about being a woman. For a man? Not so much.

In addition, HS men are not just judged by other men-- they are (to some degree) judged by women. Not implying that women are actively judgmental of HS men, but they do tend to "vote with their actions," especially in the course of the "dating and mating game," where HS Men find themselves "sidelined" more frequently as a result of their more deliberate and cautious approach to life. Interestingly enough, I spoken to several HS men in truly amazing relationships that resulted because the women broke with tradition and approached the man first.

Lest the above sounds too much like the classic "whine" from some men that "nice guys can't ever get a date," let me assure you it's not. Rather, it's a reflection of the fact that many women may say they prefer "sensitive" men, their eventual actions don't necessarily match their intent. If this puzzles you, remember that we are all "judged" for our choices... and it requires a solid "sense of self" to face people who question the wisdom of our decisions-- especially if they seem a little non-conformist.
So Where ARE these "Hidden" HSPs?
Different approaches... different lives
In my 15-odd years of trying to learn everything I could about being a highly sensitive person, I have discovered that there are basically three different approaches HS Men take in life-- regardless of whether they acknowledge their sensitivities, or not.

As of this writing, by far the largest group is made up of those who may display all the characteristics that go with being an HSP... and yet will forcefully deny that they are sensitive. There may be a few among them who are "secretly aware" that they are highly sensitive, but treat their sensitivity as a dangerous "affliction" they can't tell anyone else about. They seem to fully embrace "conventional" malehood... and sometimes even seem like they are going a little overboard in their efforts to "not show any kind of sensitivity, because that's for sissies!"

So how do we know that they're HSPs? Well, since we don't get to see their actual sensitive sides, we have to look for the "side effects" of someone deep down is a very sensitive person, but is acting like they are not. We know that HSPs inevitably get overstimulated and overwhelmed from time to time... and a great many of those "in denial" HSPs deal with such feelings by self-narcoticizing through drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling or anything else they can use to dull their senses.

You'll also often find that they are the men most likely to have short tempers that result in unexpected outbursts followed by a need to "be alone" in their workshops, sheds or wherever else they feel they have privacy... to basically get some "HSP Alone time."

As I think back on my childhood, I sometimes think my father was such an HSP. He was a powerful and very assertive CEO of a manufacturing company, often dealing with a very "short fuse" under stress. To me, he seemed like a "scary thundercloud" of a man... yet he had these happy moments, which inevitably happened when he was alone growing roses, or working alone in his study, cleaning and restoring antique paintings. Only my mom and I ever got glimpses of that side of him.
Public vs. Private Persona
Being one person at home, and another out in the world
There is another group-- of a fair size-- consisting of Highly Sensitive Men who DO have some awareness that they are "highly sensitive," but that is strictly a private issue for them. Some of them may simply accept that the people who have been telling them that they are "too sensitive" all their lives are right, while others may have come across "The Highly Sensitive Person" on their own, or as a result of counseling work, or perhaps because a loved on told them "you know, this seems a LOT like you."

Often they will let their sensitivity show when at home, but will continue to put on a fake facade when they are in public, or at work.

One of the difficulties they face is staying ever vigilant that nobody outside their "inner circle" should ever find out they are an HSP. Along with that comes the difficulty that they get "lured into" lots of activities they perhaps don't really enjoy... but feel obligated to participate in simply to "keep up appearances." Much like the previous point about the dangers of "falsifying type," keeping up these appearances can become very tiresome, and are often a source of stress and possible depression.
The Empowered Sensitive Man
Accepting and making the most of who you ARE...
Last but not least, there is a small-- but growing-- group of HS men who have studied and understand what it means to be a highly sensitive person, and have embraced and incorporated the trait into their lives.

"Embracing," of course, doesn't mean they walk around telling everyone about their HSP-ness... just that they have a good understanding of the trait and how it impacts their life, and they have typically made adjustments based on this understanding.

For some, these adjustments sometimes come in the form of career changes-- perhaps from high stress corporate jobs to self-employment-- sometimes come in the form of relationship and friendship changes-- leaving behind connections that really don't fit them well.

Many HS men are part of the "Cultural Creative" demographic, and have found good ways to be open about their sensitivity without wearing it as a "banner of pride" or a label to hide behind. They may even be leaders-- in their own way-- typically through jobs and occupations that allow them to make significant contributions from "behind the scenes."

The transition from "discovery" to "embracing" sensitivity doesn't come overnight. When I learned about the HSP trait, I was very skeptical... wondering if it was just another New Age "trendy' description to allow the socially inept to not deal with their deeper issues. For a while, I outright rejected the idea-- even though I identified strongly with the description-- I just couldn't let go of the imprinted belief that I was "broken," somehow. As I kept learning... and got to know a few other HS men... I started to embrace the idea. For a while, I actually was a bit of an insufferable "ambassador" for HSPs, constantly talking about sensitivity at any opportunity I could find. In recent years, however, I have reached a point where I have finally settled into being "a man, who just HAPPENS to be highly sensitive." The trait doesn't define me, but it does help me have deeper self-understanding.

You might be thinking "If it doesn't DEFINE you, what's with all this writing?"

I believe in helping people reach their highest potential self... and information is always the greatest asset on our path to self-understanding. I'm a writer, and if I can share experiences and information that helps make someone else's path a little easier to walk, then that's great. If you DO want to talk about sensitivity with me, that's great--but I'd just as well talk about other things. I'm an HSP. That's a fact about me. But the "label" is not who I am.
If you're a man and reading this... and have a "sneaking suspicion" that you are a highly sensitive person... but really are at a loss for what you are going to-- or supposed to-- "do" with that, there's good news!

It may seem a bit daunting, right now, but it doesn't have to be complicated to get from this moment of realization (and possibly some "confusuion") to simply making peace with being an HSP, and getting on with your life.

Something important to remember is that the vast majority of highly sensitive people-- men and women-- aren't out there being "torch bearers" for high sensitivity, spreading the word to the world. They just learn, make the necessary changes to make their lives easier and more manageable, and then go about their lives.

As I often say in my workshops "I feel like I have succeeded when you DON'T come back to see me, because that suggests you figured things out and don't require ongoing hand-holding."

The first step is to stop being in denial about being highly sensitive. You ARE a highly sensitive man-- don't fight it. You don';t need to tell anyone-- just accept it for yourself.

Next, learn all you can! There are a lot of good books available now-- there are also lots of informative web sites and blogs. Learn to know when, how and where your sensitivities affect your life-- know your "triggers" to becoming overwhelmed. Learn what IS, and is NOT part of your sensitivity. Learn where your boundaries and limits are... and learn to use the word "no," when it feels right. Don't allow "conventional" values to buffalo you into doing things that really don't fit you.

Then adjust your life in such a way that it incorporates your sensitivity. USE that sensitivity, rather than suppress it. Work at something that does allow intuition and empathy to be part of the picture. Perhaps you'll have to "reinvent yourself," as part of the process.

If nothing else, at least be aware that being highly sensitive is a real thing, and you can't "fix" it... so please stop trying!

Life is complex.  Parts of it are real and parts of it are imaginary.  (read in a novel by Gregory Benford.)

Absurdity is one of the great joys of life.

All you need for a rich life is to see more.

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