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Elaine Aron - A Talk on High Sensitivity Part 3 - Complete Q&A

Elaine Aron - A Talk on High Sensitivity Part 3 - Complete Q&A
Okay, this is an excellent question. "What advice do you have for someone in love or in a relationship with an HSP, when that someone is also sensitive but perhaps less so?" And that's a good way to put it, because very often they're two sensitive people but one is even more sensitive than the other. So I think the first thing to do, I always say, is to go ahead and grieve the things that you're not going to be able to do together because of this difference in temperament. So often I tell people when they go home and they announce to their

part

ner, "Hey I'm

high

ly sensitive! I'm sure you'll be really glad to hear this news, because now you'll understand me better. And I'm so happy to know about this! I'm sure you're happy." And the

part

ner, very often, is not too thrilled to, to hear this news, because it means things are going to change, and and now the sensitive person has an excuse to not go to the football game or not, you know, not do these things that, that maybe they were doing before just to be nice. So you have to grieve the difference in temperament. And both both sides have to grieve it. Because I will tell you a little piece of research. My husband likes, you know like I said, he likes to study close relationships. So I brought up the subject of sensitive people getting more bored in relationships with non-sensitive people. We get bored because the conversations are not deep enough. Sensitive people, even...
elaine aron   a talk on high sensitivity part 3   complete q a
in the most satisfying, otherwise satisfying, relationships are more easily bored by the conversations that they have. We found it's not they're more easily bored not because they'd like to be riding on roller coasters, it's because that they think about the meaning of life and they want to be able to discuss it with other people. So there are these, these differences that are not going to go away. It's like you have to figure out what a person can change and what a person cannot change. And there are things people can change. And it's not right to have to put up with somebody who's not sharing in the drudgery at home or something like that. That, people can change. But other things, they can't change. So once you have done that, then you can get creative in terms of how you're going to adapt to your differences. Like you take two cars to a

part

y so that the person who's more sensitive can go home early. Something like that. Also sensitive people speak in a lower volume, and I don't mean how loud you speak, but more, instead of just asking we tend to give hints like, "Doesn't it seem hot in here?" you know. (laughter) Not "Would somebody please turn the air-conditioning on?" it's more that kind of thing. So, and they don't like - it's hard for them to have the bluntness that non-sensitive people use to get across their point to other non- sensitive people. So just little things like, "Why did...
elaine aron   a talk on high sensitivity part 3   complete q a
you do that?" you know. "What were you thinking?" But those kinds of things - argh - I already know I made a mistake, don't pound it in! But I had one sensitive person tell me that she was getting her review at work and, and the manager said, "Well, where do you want, the good news or the bad news first?" I mean that pretty much ruined her day right there. Well, what's the bad news? That's all she could think about, What is the bad news? So turning down the volume. My poor husband, who's not

high

ly sensitive (laugh) - We cannot make a bed together or put up a tent together. Of course that's the ultimate test of a marriage, isn't it? (laughter) But because he's always giving me orders. Like - Now we put - now we do this, now we put the pillows up, straighten up that side, do this, do that - I feel like I'm being given orders! And he says "I'm not giving you orders. I'm just telling you what we need to do next." I said, "No, I would rather do this in silence because I know how to do it and it's like we could do it like a dance, like we'd be reading each other's minds and it would be . . . (laughter) He makes the bed! (laugh) We don't try to do it together anymore. So turning down the volume can be hard, and and also listening for hints. And sensitive people have to turn up the volume a little bit. My husband says I give him a 'one' and a 'two' and then I hit him with...
elaine aron   a talk on high sensitivity part 3   complete q a
a 'ten' or if I could just give him a 'five' then he would know what I wanted and he would do it! (laugh) So okay, so those are some of the points. Let me see, oh yes, in The

High

ly Sensitive Person In Love I have the results of the first and only sexuality and temperament survey. Now you're all going to go out and buy the book. (laugh) Well, I asked a lot of questions that I was personally curious about. But we found that sensitive people are very different about their sexuality. And this is an important

part

of a romantic sexual relationship is to get that right. And sensitive people are more easily over stimulated. They don't like a lot of variety as much. They don't need to do it in the restroom, on the airplane. They find sex more mysterious and powerful, and . . . So there was lots of interesting things there so just - you can imagine. In every area of life we have a difference in the kind of style that we use or when you're sensitive and when you're not. You know this this, trait is invisible. But I think it's bigger than gender in some ways. You think about the

High

ly Sensitive Person scale. That question. There are people who say "Yes" to every item and there are people who say "No" to every item. And we're all living in the same world. I mean it's scary when you think about that. Like I am NOT conscientious. I do not know what if notice what other people are feeling. I do not have a rich complex...
inner life. Okay, okay, okay . . . okay! (laughter) Okay. "Are you aware of any research studies besides mine on HSPs?" Yes. There are people doing studies all the time now that I don't know about. "I'm willing to loan my brain in the interest of medical science." Well, unfortunately your being here just spoiled that, because you can't use subjects who are already knowing what the studies about. So too bad about that. On the other hand, if you would like to be a graduate student in psychology, sign up. "Would you please discuss how HSPs tend to interact and may attract narcissists? Thank you." It's a good question! Well, there are two kinds of narcissists, I think. One is the - just the ones that have been spoiled or/and entitled and just kind of just - blanket like that. And then there were the wounded narcissists, who are defending themselves against a deep wound. And they have to be the best all the time and they have to have everyone noticing them because they secretly feel very insecure. So you kind of have to sort out which kind you're dealing with. Because just the entitled, spoiled ones you could kind of knock them down a bit or maybe you can't. But it's the other ones who tend to pull you in because they need your your love and attention. And then as soon as they know they've got you, they like to exert their power and push you away. And it's - sometimes we call this the 'windshield wiper...
relationship' because they're also often avoidance - and I

talk

about attachment style. Attachment style has been well studied now very interesting subject zillions of studies on attachment style. The first two years of life, the way that you connect to your first caregiver, affects how you relate in intimate relationships for the rest of your life. There, it's possible to change it, but it's remarkably conservative, how the brain views this. And there's three different styles: one is secure. And about fifty to sixty percent of people have secure attachment styles, in which they think that people will love them and they tend to like most people and it's all really nice. Then there are two kinds of insecures: one is the avoidant type. and they tend to be the narcissists. They're the ones who learned early don't count on your caregiver. Act tough, look brave, be self-sufficient. But they're still tracking the caregiver, they're still tracking the

part

ner. But they're trying to act like it doesn't matter. So this is where you get this 'windshield-wiper' relationship because if you try to be friendly . . . if you, if you show affection to them, they back away. And if you, if you back off and say "I've had it with this person", pretty soon they're calling you and they want to see you again. So it goes like that. And that's, that's tough and it's not easy to be in a relationship with somebody like...
that. I have written another book which didn't sell very well. it's called The Undervalued Self, which goes to show people didn't want to read books about me, they wanted to read about

High

Sensitivity

, although for some reason it sold 30,000 copies in Korea. I think it sold about 7,000 copies in the United States, so that's . . . But in it I think it was quite a brilliant book except for the title, which I had nothing to do with. But you know I have the subway test - Are you gonna read this book on the subway? Who's gonna read The Undervalued Self on the subway? Who's gonna loan this book to a friend and say, "You should really read this book! (laughter) It changed my life, it'll change yours!" But in it I propose that, that the obvious - that human beings, like all other animals, do two things socially. They either are linking: being friends and paling up with each other, or they are ranking: they're deciding who's better. And we do both of them all the time. But what I noticed about . . . I got interested in this because I noticed that all my patients although they wanted to be loved and linked and attached, in fact they were tending to rank. They saw themselves as inferior, or some of them saw themselves as superior. One way though it wasn't very good way to feel loved. Well, turns out that insecure attachment is really about power, if you think about it: the avoidant wants to stay in power and be one up over everybody...
else. Like I'm in charge of when we're close and when we're not. And the insecure person - I didn't describe the insecure did I? They are the - they're called 'anxious preoccupied' and they're the ones who tend to be jealous and afraid that you don't love them enough and, and they can be difficult to be with too. They're costly checking on whether you care about them or not. Constantly accusing you of not really caring about them. But so there's these - the, the narcissist that has this wound inside is doing the one-up thing, and the other the insecure as one-down. Feels always one- down, like you could leave me any time. I have no power over you. I couldn't leave, it's you could leave. So it's it's about ranking. So the thing with the narcissist is that it's very difficult to link with them on an equal level. But that's what you, you know, have to do. Now the question was, "Would you please discuss how HSPs tend to interact and may attract narcissists?" Well, I think that the fact that we tend to be attuned and empathic and caring is very attractive to everyone, but especially to someone who's very wounded plus sensitive people often have special talents and narcissists love to have people with special talents tied to them in some way. And so we can easily become sort of the priestly adviser to some warrior king narcissist and it's not a pretty picture when that goes on. I should just say...
one thing is that almost everybody in their lives will get caught in a relationship with a narcissist or with something more extreme like a sociopath because if we go around not realising that there are people like this until we get into relationships with it. Sometimes people marry them or, you know, get into a work

part

nership with them. So everybody makes this mistake. A lot of people make this mistake. So don't feel too bad. It may be that HSPs are not anymore in a relationship with narcissists than non- HSPs. We may actually figure out and avoid it. It's just, it's it's painful when it happens and probably sensitive people are more bothered by it. And, how we tend to interact, I think we tend to take, we tend to willing to take that one-down position because most of us have felt most of our lives like there was something wrong with us. So it's pretty easy to manipulate that us into feeling there's something wrong with us - you're so great, I'm so terrible. And that's what the narcissist would like. So definitely you're going to upset a lot of narcissists after you start thinking about yourself as having an advantage. Alright those are the only three questions that I had but I think I now have more. Wait - yeah, okay, good, okay - Oh "Does

high

sensitivity

have to do with the level of our soul energy as being more powerful?" Oh definitely, definitely! (laughter) And we've done studies of this too. We, we have a number...
of studies in this but we don't publish those, but come around later and I'll give you the real studies. I'm not going to answer that. (laugh) Usually I go through and pick out the ones that I want, but I'm trying to be fair tonight. "Are there degrees . . ." I don't mean to put that - I'm sorry, that was not the right way to respond to that. I just don't, I just don't know. Because I think that possibly yes, except because we pick up on - we can be so easily damaged by the environment maybe we're more at the extremes. That might be more true of whatever that soul energy means to each of us, because we do have an idea of what that means. "Are there degrees of being

high

ly sensitive?" Oh. Not much. You tend to either be it or not. But there are other traits that modify it and I forgot to

talk

about

High

Sensation Seeking. That is a - sometimes we think that the

high

ly sensitive person has something called a a behavioral inhibition system that's more active. That doesn't mean that we inhibit our behavior. Now. it understands that it inhibits our behavior enough so that we can pause to check and observe and reflect more than other people do. Behavioral activation system makes us go for it. Now some people have both. They have a very active inhibition system and a very active activation system. So it's like one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes. And I should have explained this early because a lot of...
sensitive people are like this especially ones who come out to things. (laugh) And it's quite a different feeling having this, and I just did say it a little bit about Janine Ramsey because she calls us the sensationalist and she's one. And lots of people in the media are. Every time I'm interviewed by someone, they always turn out to be

high

ly sensitive and

high

sensation seekers. Because it's such a good combination. You, you have a good intuition about what people are going to want to read. You you're able to ask provocative deep questions, but you're also interested in in everything and you want to interview a different person today than you did yesterday on a different subject. So, but we've actually - someone Franziska Borries in Germany, who am i just met, and was a really nice person, did her graduate degree, or did her dissertation, on this very subject. There's a way to do a statistical analysis to find out whether something is a dimension or a category. And

sensitivity

is definitely a category and not a dimension. That doesn't mean that if we took all the scores on the HSP scale and put them in a scatter diagram we wouldn't we wouldn't find them all along the thing, but that's because there are many things that cause people to say "Yes" and "No" to those items besides their

sensitivity

. I mean we know that, that people tend to say "Yes" to this and "No" to that because...
they're sensitive. But there's other reasons why people might say yes and no to them. One thing we find is that even though every item on that self-test is one in which men do not answer anymore less often than women. So like we didn't use 'cries easily' because men didn't, didn't say "Yes" that much. Yet when we give this test to men and to women, men score lower on it. So all I can figure and we're gonna - we're studying this now - is maybe what's happening is that there . . . that as they go down the test, they starts saying "Yes" to fewer and fewer items because they're starting to get anxious because it's going to look like they're

High

ly Sensitive, which is quite worrisome to some people. But at any rate, we don't think that there are degrees even though we do see that male - female difference. We don't see it in animals and we don't see it in children but as people get older and they've gotten more worried about their

sensitivity

showing up and the problems in the culture, then then you do get men scoring lower. "Do HSPs make good actors?" Yes they do, and there's many, many, many actors. And you know it used to be you'd hear about it all comedians and actresses "I'm really a very shy person!" Well this is what they're

talk

ing about. That's a great trait to have to be able to act well. "What might you suggest for HSPs trying to deal with...
social media, smart phones and the constant demand to be available and responsive?" (laughter and applause )Well, I'm not, so why should you be? I do not even have a smartphone. Yeah. And I thought it was like gonna be seen as 'cause I'm old, but it's not that, it's not that. It's that I just - for one thing I don't have a very good neck, so maybe that's age, but I know that if I keep my head like this a lot I'm gonna not feel good. But it's more than that. I do not want to see my email all the time, I do not want to have all these apps. I would like that Google traffic one, so I call my husband and I say "Tell me what the Google traffic thing says about" and I need that one day a week to get out of San Francisco on Friday evenings. So you know, I don't have a Facebook page. I don't, I ignore LinkedIn requests. I don't tweet or Twitter or any of that because it's . . . email is bad enough. It is so bad! When I look at my life before and after email. So you know why do you need all these friends? I mean, one or two close friends is good enough and, and then you see them once a year for dinner, at their birthdays, you know. You could hold people in your heart and not have to be in constant communication with them. I mean it's just it's not good for sensitive people. Somebody did a study - they thought when the internet came out that sensitive people would be on the internet more. (Well they were...
actually doing a study of introverts and extroverts.) That introverts would be on the internet more because they wouldn't have to be face to face with people.But no. And we all know now that that sensitive people and introverts are using that stuff less because it's to cut down on stimulation that we need and and we, you know, it's just it's made things much too easy. So I think it's, I think it's good. It's like the canary in the mine thing. I think it's good to role model doing less of it. Now, I've seen now that if you want to get a job, you know, people want to see your Facebook page and your website and all this in order to see that you're really alive and kicking like the rest of everybody, you know, like the other 80%. So that I can see could be a problem. But this comes into the whole problem of how you

talk

about your

sensitivity

to other people, and how you

talk

about in the workplace and all that. And I think if you get the right answers, then you can teach people something. And the right answer is different for different people. For a while I had a thing that said I only answer my emails on three days a week if you want to reach me then call this phone number. But I realized that was not that good. But I just don't answer my emails very often. I try not to do it every day. I try to take three or four days off and put an out-of-office reply on. I just think it's a curse, really, for sensitive people. So I think...
it's okay to fight it in whatever way works for you. Well, this is a passionate one. "How can the HSP reconcile himself, himself we noticed, to the oppression of living in an extroverted oriented culture. Where is the good life available for an HSP? Am I, the, in the wrong country or on the wrong planet?" (laughter) Oh, I feel for this person. Of course, it's just, it's almost a wail of despair. It's not really meant to have an answer. But to know that many, many people in this room wonder about these same things. Like I said, if the're people can say "Yes" and people can say "No" to every item on the self-test, you definitely can feel like you're in the wrong country or on the wrong planet and that is really hard. It's really hard. And I think it's, I think this person is identifying himself, probably, as a man. And I think it's so much harder for men to to be among non-sensitive men. and and just, it's just really difficult. And I just can only express sympathy and, well I could also say, if you're up to it you might go to an HSP gathering, because Jacqueline Strickland, she's an extrovert and some people think, "Is she

high

ly sensitive?" She's done 27 of these and I don't know many people who would do that who is

high

ly sensitive. She is

high

ly sensitive. But she's gotten really good at this. And she can really, in a weekend, make a person feel a lot better about being...
sensitive. So that's something that a person could do. And then what you do is you begin to have friends. As the two women who were here, they met in an HSP gathering and another friend was there too. She had me take them, they wanted a picture taken. That the woman who wanted the picture of me and her, is in, goes back and forth to Dominican Republic and speaks about

sensitivity

there in Spanish. It's really neat. So, anyway, meeting other sensitive people is probably one of the very best things that you can do. "How do you release painful memories as an HSP?" There are a number of these kind of questions that go into the, into this side of things. And it's not so different for non-sensitive people in terms of what you have to do in therapy and there's no single understanding or theory of how to do this. Somebody asked, "What about meditation and, you know, techniques to regulate your nervous system like meditation, biofeedback and EFT tapping. And lots of people - I'm a big fan of TM myself which I've been doing for 42 years almost, almost without fail twice a day. Tonight was a fail (laugh) so far. But meditation is good. Biofeedback can be good. EFT tapping good. It just depends on what works for you. And I wish I could be more helpful on these things but it's so individual. Each - even though there's a sensitive versus non-sensitive thing every person is so unique. You look around everyone is different. Their thumbnails are...
different, their brains are different, their experiences are different. So what you need, if possible, is a therapist who's a really good, of which there are not that many, I will admit. And and then that person figures out what works for you. It's not to be so much method driven as someone who has a variety of methods and figures out what works best for you. And often being listened to is the very best healing thing that could happen. And somebody asked, "How, what do you do if you can't go to therapy?" and I actually I'll say that I wrote this, The Undervalued Self in order to give away everything I knew about psychotherapy. There! There's a copy of the book, right there! And, and it really does try to lay out a program that takes years, because the're steps to it. But you you don't have to, you can go through it and the steps you just keep.. But it basically goes with the idea that we all feel better when we're linking than when we're ranking. And you, if you can just do that, great! You're done reading the book. But if you can't then you we go into the reasons why you can't. And I think all therapy does take place in a relationship. But it's not required that you be with a psychotherapist to heal. If two people were to read The Undervalued Self together and and work with it, they could easily help each other a lot. There used to be, and I don't hear much about it, some kind of peer counseling programs where...
people used to learn how to do therapy with each other. Just not - just listening, just reflective listening, and people got so much from it. So create your own therapist out of your best friend or - it's, it's possible. You do it for each other. "Did you accept your

sensitivity

right away or did it take time? I found that four years ago. I'm just now able to receive the joy." Yeah, it took time. It took time. And took writing the book and my husband I had a big, not a big fight, but quite a disagreement when I wrote chapter seven in The

High

ly Sensitive Person about close to relationships. And what I wrote was: You're really fortunate if your relationship is with a non-sensitive person, because that person can help you and make you feel better and do all the things that you can't do and blah blah blah. And he said, "What?" (laughter) He said, "That's true, but you don't get at all what I get from being in the relationship with you." And so that was a wonderful experience to hear that from him and I, I've got it now, I see it, but I didn't see it when I was writing the book. "What is the correlation between being an HSP and depression and anxiety?" And I'm saying it's what we call an 'interaction', a statistical interaction if you have had a stressful life, especially in childhood, you are more likely than other people to be depressed and anxious. If you have not, you're less...
likely than other people to be depressed and anxious. So there's no correlation, per se. It's this interaction. So it's a different kind of statistics. So, so it's not a correlation, it's an interaction and so that's how it is. And that's the answer that question. "How does one tell the difference between their own energy, feelings versus someone else's? For example, how do you know where it's coming from?" Well, that's a good question! I think of that mirror-neuron thing and maybe some people's mirror neurons are not saying, "W,ait that's you and not them, you know, or that's them and not you." maybe. That's really seriously a problem for some sensitive people, if they're mirror neurons are more active. I don't have as much of this problem as most people do and I'm not sure what that is. "How does one tell the difference between their own energy or feelings?" I guess one thing as a psychologist, you, you learn about projection. And you learn to be suspicious when you think you know what someone else is feeling. You have to check and say, "Well could that, could that be what I'm feeling and I'm projecting that onto them?" So sorting out, I mean that's what therapist has to learn to do, is to sort out how, you know, is this me or is this the other person that's creating this feeling in me? So I suppose it's practice, and questioning all the time. Like...
- what could be going on here? Using, using a little depth of processing to try to sort it out. And this is similar about about this speaking the unspoken. "What to do? "I'm so sensitive to picking up other's energies. That something is going on - I feel an enormous need to state it openly and feel uncomfortable about it but later others tell me they were so relieved that I said it." Well, so that's good. Sometimes people are not relieved and and then you use your

sensitivity

to know, to discern what's going to likely be the case. I think a big problem in groups for sensitive people, especially at work, is that we hear an idea and maybe we could shoot it down right away - this is not going to work, or we have a better idea. We have ten ideas and nobody else has any ideas. But do you display all this and have people be jealous or upset, or feel your a pessimist or something, or do you hide it? And if you hide it you feel alienated from the group and if you speak up you risk various things. It's one reason why it's important for people to under - for the a group of people working together to understand these different traits so that they turn to the sensitive person say, "What do you think about this?" and then say, "Well if you want to know, this is what I think." Otherwise, you just have to feel it out. Can't, can't say more than that. "Does inattentive mother qualify as a troubled child?"...
Definitely. (inaudible) Okay, I've answered one question of three on that card so I think it'd only be fair for me to stop there. "HSP seems to have a number of things in common with Asperger's syndrome: the difficulty in social relationships, social. . ." Okay. This is an important question because people are asking this all the time and it's very important to realize that they are very, very different. There's one thing that's similar and that is that people in the autistic spectrum, which is what they call it now, are easily overstimulated. Why? Because what we think is that they have a hard time discerning what's important and what's not. So, and

part

icularly socially, so the expression on your face and your face is interesting, but so is that lamp and and so it's what's the sign up there that says 'Exit', and you know it's all kind of equal. And they're trying to process it all. They don't have that ability to prioritize. So, so they're getting over stimulated. But it's different. The sensitive person is getting over stimulated from too much processing. So it's a really different feel inside and into some it certainly must look different in an MRI. And the other thing is that sensitive people are exquisitely sensitive to social stuff, and the autistic spectrum that's - the main problem is the difficult - there's a difficulty in social relationships where you can't read what...
other people are doing and you just really out of synch with them for that reason. It's quite different from the difficulties that sensitive people have and I imagine you've, you've gotten a sense of that by now, how they're different. "Is there a correlation between

sensitivity

and migraines?" I suspect there is, but I don't know of any research on that. I suspect there is. "Does trauma make a sensitive person out of an otherwise hearty person?" No. PTSD can make you hyper vigilant, and startle easily and have some things that look like

sensitivity

, but it's in, it's in the area of the trauma, it's not broad and it's not the kind of processing when one is calm and reflective. It's - that doesn't go with with trauma per se, since the people can have both, of course. "I counsel men who are

high

ly sensitive and they do tell me they don't want to know this." I hope that this whole evening will help this person with this. That's a tough one, isn't it? But sounds like this person has already told them. So self knowledge is valuable, even when it's not knowledge that you're delighted with. I think this evening surely has helped with that question. "Has your public speaking helped you overcome the negative traits of

sensitivity

? And if you had, if you had them, in other words, as it made you heartier? Does anything make it (inaudible)." I think public speaking has definitely made...
me heartier. Absolutely. I mean when I was in junior

high

the worst thing that could have happened to me, and it did happen to me, was have to give a

talk

or speech. That's horrible, and it is. Practice just improves it. And

talk

ing to sensitive people is a big, big difference. I've been pretty nervous in front of non- sensitive people. Makes a big difference. and I'm always

talk

ing about something that I really know a lot about. And, and so the best way to get heartier and these kind of situations is just to be super, super prepared and knowledgeable, until all you're thinking about is giving people the information and not thinking about yourself. Although I do still think about this. (laughter) Oh. we fixed it already! (laugh) Oh, I'm sorry. Okay. "Chicken or the egg? There is anxiety depression with some, most HSPs and there as a medication for them. But more than that, or separate altogether, is the ability to feel. For those who feel so intensely that it alters decisions and behavior, is there medication for that to help?" Well, I really think that things like adjusting your lifestyle, meditating, developing a philosophy of life that helps you to be calm like, you know, some people really get a lot from Buddhism for that reason. Taoism. Things that help to . . . I mean those are really important. Not that I'm against medication, but it, it, it's a, it's a hard street to go down, because it's they're hard to get off of,...
for one thing, and we don't know all of their effects on the body. if a person is depressed to the point of feeling suicidal, there is no doubt that they should consider medication, because it saves lives right and left. I've seen it lots of times in my own practice. But don't let people push it onto you because of your

sensitivity

and don't go that direction if, if changing your lifestyle would make the difference. Okay. A little bit on on careers. "What are good professions for HSPs?" and "As I discover myself I find myself searching for a new career. Can you speak on career areas which you're better for, especially mid-career. Currently a project manager." Well, I think sensitive people can do anything if they do it their way. But we also have to have meaningful work. We, we are not happy when something is not meaningful. And what often happens - Barrie Jaeger wrote a book, Making Work Work for the Sensitive Person. Unfortunately her main advice was, if you don't like your work you should change jobs. Which is the only advice I would be able to give either, so that's why I haven't written a book on work. But it's obviously not practical for a lot of people. But she makes a distinction between drudgery, craft and calling. And I really like this distinction because sensitive people just, probably get very depressed and anxious in a drudgery job. They can't do it for long. And some people can because they're just...
earning money to, you know, do the things they want to do. But sensitive people can't last long in a drudgery job. A crafts job is one in which you're very good at what you do and sensitive people can enjoy that up to a point. Once you've mastered your craft, then it can become drudgery. And this is much more of a problem for

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sensation seekers who need variety in their lives. So you have to find your quote "calling", which is a very romantic idea, you know. Two hundred years ago nobody had a "calling". It's, it's very romantic. It's like you fall in love with your job. But it's true that if you love what you do, it's, it's a blessing, just like if you love your

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ner it's a blessing. So it's, it's really worth trying to find your calling. And then how do you support yourself doing that? Well, one thing that I've written and like this thing, I think it's so true, is you, you'll support yourself happily where your own greatest bliss intersects the world's greatest need. And a creative person, a sensitive person being creative - look around, see a need that's not being met, and feel that - I'm sure the first dog walker was a

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ly sensitive person. I mean, and and there are so many interesting things that people still need. I think, done! I keep thinking that somebody and maybe somebody does it but I don't know of anyone who does it, should volun - not volunteer - but be paid...
to study any illness that a person has gotten who's very busy, and wants to know the best treatment. So you come down with Lyme disease. Hire somebody, you know, and this is a sensitive person with a very objective, discerning (unknown), you know, will, will present you, you know, you with, with the research and the arguments pro and con. And even if you're really busy, it's a big help to have somebody. I, my husband did this for somebody with, with breast cancer. Should she or should she not follow up the radiation with chemotherapy? What did the research say? My husband did a whole review of the literature and gave her what is known at this point as to the answer to that for the kind of cancer she had. I'm sure it's all changed. But that's, you know, there's so many places where people are frustrated and need help, and sensitive people can do it. And I think sensitive people do really well in self-employment. It's hard, but all the politics of the workplace are gone. You have your own schedule. So what's hard, of course, is being able to support yourself at it. But in terms of good professions for sensitive people. Traditionally we were the doctors, the lawyers, the teachers, the artists, the historians, the scientists, and sensitive people have kind of been pushed out of those a lot. But those are anything that reflection - and then reflecting on something improves it, is a good place for a sensitive person if you can find your, your...
your right way of doing that. A lot of sensitive people I joke, have all become massage therapists or gone into alternative medicine some way. And I think it's true that sensitive people are very good with bodies, they're very good with animals, they're very good with babies, they're very good with elderly people who have reached the point where they can't communicate that well because we're able to pick up on all these nonverbal cues. So I mean the main thing is to find something that you love and something that will make use of your ability to process things deeply, avoid your getting over stimulated, make use of your emotional empathy, your emotional responsiveness and your ability to notice subtle stimuli. Okay, romantic relationships. Oh, we can do this in five minutes. (laughter) I wrote the

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ly Sensitive Person In Love for this. "Can two HSPs have a successful romantic relationship? If so, how without overreacting to things etc.?" Well, you can always live in separate houses. (laugh) I mean that it's, yeah, overreacting to things. Yeah. I guess a lot of forgiveness helps, because I find that for myself when I'm tired - the whole thing is understanding the tiredness. That and complexes. So tiredness just, you know, sensitive person when we're tired we're not nice anymore. We've really gotten that down in our relationship-wise I say, "Don't say a word to me, just get me to bed! Just don't say a...
word!" (laughter) and that has really helped a lot. So, and the other thing which I wrote about in The Undervalued Self, quite a bit, is about complexes. And complexes are areas in our life where we become totally irrational. And they're usually around some trauma and then it gets all, all this stuff gets defences and feelings and thoughts. So for instance, jealousy. You know like a person's been betrayed once and then they have whole complex about jealousy. And that's a whole thing that happens in any relationship. But I don't think it's easy to have a good relationship with out understanding about complexes. In fact, I don't think it's easy to have a successful romantic relationship without knowing quite a bit of psychology. About how attachment affects your relationship, how projection effects it, how self defenses manifests themselves and blaming the other person and all that. Let's just . . .I don't know how people do it! (laughter) "How - what do you suggest to HSPs going through heartbreak?" Well, that's a really difficult one. Everyone knows that time is the main thing with heartbreak. The other thing I'd say - and I hate these glib answers, but I have to get glib here - is that attachment is different from love. We're attached to people if we spent time with them a lot, if we've lived together with them, if they've ever done anything nice to us. We treat them kind of like a caregiver and . . . But...
love and the undervalued self - I define love very specifically, and a lot of people find out that people who quote "love" them don't really love them. Love, I think, is when you are attracted to the other person in some way. I want to I want to be around you, I want to know a lot about you, I want to know what your day was like, I want to know what you're thinking, I want to know, want to know all about you and I want to help you as much as I can. But people are not . . . people, you know, lots of parents say "I love you." and they don't want to be around the kid and don't want to know anything about them, and they don't want to help them very much, but like to hire someone else to help them. That's not love. But so in a, in a relationship you can fall in love with somebody and fall in love and, and meet each other's needs for a while and be used to being together and, and also feel crummy about yourself if they leave you which is a whole other issue. But that's not love, and so you just have to say I got to wait through the . . . My husband and I, we did this kind of together. I have a theory about love. The motivation of life is to expand. And, and close relationships are a way that we expand. And we, we come to include the other person in ourselves, so we treat the other person as if they are ourselves. And there's actually studies, cognitive studies, that show the brain does this that we confuse the other person the...
closer we are to them. But then when you go to separate, it's like disentangling this overlapping self, and that it's like there must be certainly neurons that are just going Owe! Owe! Ooo! that's being ripped out! And you all you can do is be patient and do all the things you do for physical pain. Distraction is a good one you know. One of the best for physical pain and psychological pain. We did - there was a study, not done by us, but a study in which they they made people feel terrible about themselves while they were in the fMRI thing, you know. They told him that they had worked with these people on a task and then while they're in the machine they tell him, actually these people didn't like you very well and they don't want you to work on the task any more with him. Then they tell him later that this was just an experiment. But people's brains register in the same area as physical pain. So when we say "Heartbreak", we literally have the physical pain of the heart breaking. And, and so all these analogies, metaphors are not even metaphors to the brain. It hurts. Why did you hurt my feelings? So you, you have to appreciate that it is going to be painful and since sensitive people feel things more than other people, this is where we all have to become more and more skilled. And often it's through a variety of ways of of learning to regulate our emotions. And infants are helped by their parents to regulate emotions. And we...
literally read from our parents how to respond to things. And like there's a famous visual cliff thing where they there's glass and there's a, you know, the baby's crawling and looks down and even though it's glass there's clearly there's a big drop. The baby looks to the mother who's on the other side of this thing to see whether or not it's safe to cross. You know we're getting all of our cues from our parents. So if we didn't get good affect regulation, if our parents couldn't control their emotions, then it's harder for us. But somewhere along the line we need to learn how to, to calm ourselves down, and then that helps heartbreaks too. . . "Pros and cons of being an HSP versus none HSP vs. two HSPs." That's all in the

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ly Sensitive Person In Love. "What advice do you have for the dating courtship process for HSPs?" That's also in the

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ly Sensitive Person In Love. (laugh) Okay. Nine o'clock. we become pumpkins. Thank you very much for coming. Thank you very much.