That makes me the only non-highly sensitive person in this little family of ours… and that puts me in a unique position.
Sometimes, it makes me the odd man out. I end up feeling like a lumbering, clumsy bull in the china shop of their highly sensitive natures.
I can’t tell you how often I’m told my tone is harsh or angry when I don’t mean it to be. Since they were very young, Z has accused me of yelling when I don’t think I am. I’m constantly being asked to modulate my voice for those two highly-tuned beings.
At the same time, living with an HSP (E) and an HSP/empath (Z) gives me a direct line to my own and other people’s emotions. They usually know what I’m feeling before I do. So many times, Z has asked me, “Mom, what’s wrong?” and I insist I’m fine for minutes or even hours before ultimately realizing that they’re right and I am feeling sad for some reason. It’s almost creepy the way they can read my emotions better than I can!
At the best of times, being the odd one out means I can sit back and study E and Z in order to learn from them. One of my favorite pastimes is watching and listening to these two highly sensitive souls in their interactions with each other so hopefully I can learn to be more like them.
My observations thus far have made me realize beyond a doubt that if everyone was highly sensitive and treated others like they too are highly sensitive, then the world would be a happier, more peaceful place.
Here are some tips for interpersonal communications that I have learned from watching my two highly-sensitive loved ones interact:
- They always use a gentle tone with each other. I always love to hear the tone of voice E and Z use when speaking to each other – it’s so calming. warm and reassuring. The rest of us (non-highly sensitive people) often don’t realize that we’re coming at someone with a harsh, negative, sarcastic, cynical or critical tone – yet we do. Non HSPs are simply not as tapped into our emotions, so often we don’t even realize we’re feeling sad, hurt or mad and then we act or speak from that place without realizing. With HSPs, they are so sensitive to each other and so in tune with their own and others’ emotions that E and Z almost always communicate lovingly and gently with each other. It’s truly beautiful to see and it makes me want to be more like them.
- They are careful with their words. When they are speaking to each other, E and Z are so loving and careful with their words and almost never use harsh, hurried or unkind language. HSPs almost always operate from a place of deep empathy and compassion. E and Z know how very sensitive they both are, so they treat each other with extreme thoughtfulness and care. I would love to learn how to be this aware and sensitive to others so that I don’t have to apologize later for my words or the tone with which I spoke them (which I often seem to end up doing). We could all benefit from assuming the person we’re speaking to is sensitive, fragile and easily hurt; then perhaps we would temper our words accordingly. We can all seek to have more empathy and compassion.
- They always know how each other is feeling. This part is the most uncanny. Sometimes, E will say “Z is feeling ______ today” and it’s something I haven’t noticed at all – even though I spend way more time with Z and consider us super close. Empaths and highly-sensitive people (HSPs), simply have a gift in this area. They pick up on subtle energy, cues and hints the rest of us cannot see or feel. E tends to telescope his emotions more, so I usually know when he’s upset or mad, but with Z it can be far more subtle. Sometimes I am just oblivious. That’s when I will look to E to tell me what’s going on inside of Z. I am trying hard to learn my family members’ highly-sensitive ways, but it’s difficult for a mere mortal to pick up on some of this stuff. Their brains are simply more developed in this area!
Can you imagine a world where everyone, even strangers, treated each other with the care, thoughtfulness and sensitivity that my two HSPs exhibit toward each other? I can. It would truly be a more caring and gentle place to live. I think all of us could benefit from being more sensitive with and to each other.
What would our day be like if we set a goal to intentionally treat others with sensitivity and care – whether family members, loved ones, friends or strangers? What would our life be like if we set that as an ongoing, longterm goal?
What would it feel like to always be treated with such empathy, sensitivity and care – would we blossom and bloom as human beings in ways we haven’t even begun to experience?
I challenge you today, as I continually challenge myself, to walk through life and interpersonal relations as if we’re highly sensitive and those around us are, too. Let’s watch for subtle cues about the internal, emotional “weather” inside each of the people we interact with – and let’s assume it’s best to treat them as though they are sensitive, fragile and easily hurt.
Maybe we’ll all treat each other a little bit better and with more kindness… and maybe that kindness and sensitivity will ripple outward, touching more and more people as it goes. It’ll be like when one person pays for the car behind them in the Starbucks drive-through, and then they pay for the person behind them, and then suddenly there’s a whole line of happy people in cars. Hey – I may not be highly sensitive, but I can dream!
Do you have experience with highly sensitive people in your life, and do you agree with my theory that the world will be a better place when we all evolve to be more like them? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below or over on Facebook.