How to thrive in an overwhelming world

Review - The Highly Sensitive Person - How to Thrive when the world overwhelms you - by Elaine N Aron

I’ve always found it hard - nearly impossible - to find my place in this world. I rarely connect to peopleand I’ve often been overwhelmed by the jobs I’ve considered myself lucky to get.

I freeze. I have no idea what to say. My brain can’t come up with the most simple things.

But this doesn’t happen because I’m stupid or even because I’m shy and struggle in all social situations. My system just shuts down because I’m overwhelmed, and that’s because I’m just wired that way. It turns out my sensitivity is an inherent part of me.

Thanks to my rage-a-holic bullying mother and manipulative and controlling father I never felt safe as a child. Both parents emphasised how dangerous the world was. They also insisted and encouraged me to be a part of this hell on earth. Thank you, mixed messaging. No wonder I became inhibited, on top of my natural sensitivity and introvertism. While this book takes care to explain the difference between sensitivity, shyness and being an introvert, I appear to be all three. On the upside, shyness is a state of being that can be overcome, something that’s come about because of my sensitivity and introvertism, both of which I just am.

Another revelation for me was that I’m not odd for not being curious about people. I’ve heard and read a lot about how curious I’m supposed to be, how it’s a sign of being aware and good mental health. Now, for the first time, I’ve read that it’s okay to be curious about things and ideas rather than people. Again, something that I thought was a major shortcoming and spoke to there being something wrong with me has been dispelled.

I’m also not abnormal for not socialising as much as I feel I should do. My level of socialising is normal, for a Highly Sensitive Person.

It turns out it’s okay to be myself and to find my own ways of doing things. To read this book, and to discover I’m right - about myself - has been a relief.

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