The Social Challenge Of Highly Sensitive People

The Social Challenge Of Highly Sensitive People file0001931890417

Source: Morguefiles

 

Highly sensitive people are known for being independent and able to be alone.However, that does not mean that we necessarily are happy and comfortable with it.

Recently I have been asking myself why being alone is considered, “bad” or a sign of a problem.

Do I need to be herded into a group, an identity, or a cause?

Why Is Being Alone Stigmatized?

Have you ever noticed that being alone carries a stigma?

Why do we disparage the “crazy cat lady”, or the “poor” bachelor?

It amazes me that to this day the early definitions of being human still apply. You are to be married, have children, women should be mothers and men should be warriors.

These are important and valued roles. They are the subject of most social discourse. Succeeding at them is gives us status which gives us social protection.

Does Popularity Protect Us?

Acquiesing to and succeeding at these roles also give us popularity.

That is a lot of social incentive to conform!

Does popularity protect us?

Popularity may have had important survival implications in the past.  Consider an old civilization having food shortages. Who would eat and who would not? Certainly the least popular would  be less likely to be saved.

The popular social roles once has serious survival implications. People did not live long, so we continually need new ones. War was common and soldiers were needed. War, disease and short life spans meant that only certain roles were supported, roles that affected the ability of the group to survive.

Those days may be over. However, they still seem to live in our minds.

We have certainly developed a lot of skills around coercing people to be a certain way. And the stories that we tell are often around our survival story.

Saving ourselves is a popular story and popularity is like social grease in a complicated world of many differences and agendas.

Ostracism As Punishment

Being alone is often used as a punishment.

It is the basis of shunning and ostracism, and designed to engender conformity.

Being alone or the threat of abandonment is a great way to enforce loyalty to a group. Since we need others to survive, ostracism is a serious threat. It does not matter whether you are an adult or child, unless you have independent resources, ostracism can be very harmhul to your health and well-being.

However, it is often more of a social game than anything else in modern society – the game of who is in and who is out. A game with consequences.

Social Rejection

For me and from other highly sensitive people, social rejection is a greater concern than being alone.

Social rejection for many highly sensitive people comes from being different, something over which they have no control.

Being holistic and inclusive thinkers, we do not naturally see the divisions, rules and roles that others may call reality. The survival game that engages so many people is not a natural conversation for highly sensitive people.

The problem can also be a sensitive one since highly sensitive people are outnumbered and will be unlikely to have a significant voice in many social situations.

Highly sensitive people are good at seeing beyond social and cultural drama, so when they are being rejected it can be because they see life and what is important differently. The value of highly sensitive people does not lie in the the survival drama, it lies in the manifestation of our higher selves which we need to do more of.

Finding Social Value For Highly Sensitive People

The Dalai Lama made the observation that we do not need more successful people, we need more healers and peacemakers. We need more people to lay down their weapons, give up chasing trophies. We need more people to become grounded in the reality that we are not really adversaries and there is no prize to be had. There is no one to beat.

Highly sensitive people offer a lot to a world that sorely needs their holistic brains in order to detach from the human survival  story so that something new can emerge.

Our social value comes from our wisdom and insights, our knowledge of the pain caused by repeating the survival drama with each new generation.

We can question, offer new ideas, encourage new thinking, offer our creative prowess and friendship.

This are important social contributions that make highly sensitive people valuable and worth having around.

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Comments

  1. says

    This post definitely describes me in a nutshell. I love being around other people, when I don’t feel forced to become pulled into their dramas, power-plays and roles, but so often that is the case. I feel so much better when I’m alone or at least have enough alone-time to recenter myself and relax while being an open channel for Divine inspiration which enable me a constant flow of creativity. Thanks for sharing!
    /Alexandra in Sweden

    • Maria says

      Hi Alexandra,

      I have a lot of difficulty with dramas and power plays as well. We HSPs create our energy so we have to be careful how we allow other people to use it.

      Maria

  2. says

    Great post, Maria.
    I actually love being alone. I like the quiet. I get more done. It serves me to be by myself.

    What’s interesting too is during school years (grade school, high school, college) I never ‘fit’ into any crowd. During that time I would feel sad or uncool since I wasn’t really feeling accepted.

    The lesson learned is to accept oneself. I find that it’s so much easier to live- with a group or alone- when we love and accept ourselves for who we are as individuals. Then, once we accept ourselves more, it’s easier to enjoy the social aspects of being around people (at least in my experience).

    Thanks for a great post!
    Elizabeth

    • Maria says

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I love silence and being alone also. I find that my greatest sense of possibility comes from those 2 things. Self acceptance can be difficult since our culture seems to prefer that we do not. I guess it is harder to sell stuff to people who accept themselves! We HSPs have a harder time with self acceptance but it is worth the effort to do so because e have so much to offer.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

      Maria

  3. Ronan says

    For me popularity is when others accede some power to you because they perceive you in some way to be better than them be it from low self esteem or an unrealistic lack of belief in their own social skills.

    This can lead to resentment, people wanting to constantly challenge you, people can go from one side of this coin of idealisation to the other a desire to destroy a popular person. Being less socially popular can be lonely but it can also get lonely at the top.

    True friendship and connection comes from a genuine desire to connect with others, the desire to connect is as natural a desire as breathing; we think for our developing children, we are who we spend our time with, our thoughts resonate with each other physically in our brains through a share of values and beliefs. We just need to get out of the way of our selves, let loose and let others see who you are.

    • Maria says

      Hi Ronan,

      Thanks for stopping by and responding to the article. I can see that you have given it some thought.

      There is no question that we can think that others have it easier when in fact they may not and anyone can be lonely. Sometimes just getting out of the way of ourselves and being friendly can be all that we need. That works for HSPs sometimes, however, often they find that being different can be an obstacle. It comes from having a different set of values in our culture.

      However being different does not mean that we cannot find friendship. I think that HSPs probably do better one-on-one, where they can relate in a deeper way or in smaller social groups of like-minded people.

      All the best,
      Maria

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