A Highly Sensitive man in an insensitive world

I was in my forties, when I found out that I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I came across the documentary of dr. Elaine Aron, Sensitive: The Untold Story. After watching this, many things started to make sense. Shortly after that, I connected with a HSP-coach, with whom I dove very deep into my life and my mind. This wasn’t about healing things that had happened. It was about understanding why, about what (and who) is underneath, about my thought patters, and how my mind worked.

In my case, it’s not just about being a HSP, my giftedness plays a major role, too. As does being an empath… and I’m also a starseed. I started to realize I wasn’t broken or crazy… there was nothing wrong with me. And I found out I wasn’t alone. It would still take me many years to change the views I had of myself from burden to gift. My sensitivity is exactly that: a gift for myself, for the world, and perhaps for others, too, including you.

I learned to use my gifts. However, more than four decades of conditioning otherwise, have not made it easy. Society holds a hard and heavy judgement towards High Sensitivity in men. Even without the tough exterior, judgments are rooted in core beliefs in our collective consciousness, which include religion, gender roles, and modern spirituality (read: spiritual ego). The key is to not be attached to any of that. The only thing we can control and change, is how we view ourselves and our behaviour towards others.

What is High Sensitivity?

Let’s sum up a few things from a scientific perspective, before we get into any personal or societal significance. About 20% of people are HSP, with identical prevalence in men and women. It’s an innate trait, meaning that you are born a HSP, even though it’s not hereditary. The brain of HSP’s work differently from non-HSP’s. You can measure and visualize this beautifully with MRI-scans.

HSP’s process sensory stimuli, as well as emotions and thoughts, for longer, more vivid, deeper, and more profound. They literally make more connections in their brain and easily interlink with other stimuli and/or experiences. HSP brains process dopamine differently. They’re therefore less prone to addiction and react less intense to ‘reward’ stimulation. They’re less susceptible and more alert. Their mirror neurons are more active, allowing them to better understand what’s happening with(in) someone else.

We see High Sensitivity in other species, too. This suggests an explanation for the occurrence of High Sensitivity in animals. Each member has its own task to serve the group. Some animals are protectors, while others take care of the little ones. The sensitives detect food and water more easily, sense danger, comfort others, and lead the way during migration. It all benefits the survival of the entire group.

One way to understand High Sensitivity in humans, is through the acronym DOES. D stands for Depth of processing. Everything goes deeper with HSP’s, which may be one of the reasons many become creative artists. The O is for Overstimulation. HSP’s are easily overwhelmed and often need more time to recover. The E stands for Emotional Reactivity and also Empathy (directly linked to mirror neurons). HSP’s feel more profound and react more intense. The S is for Sensing the Subtle, like with danger or food for the group, or in said arts.

What High Sensitivity meant for my childhood…

I realized pretty early in life, that I wasn’t like the others. This wasn’t an issue in itself. It would soon become a problem, though, when many of the children of my age (especially the boys), as well as some teachers, couldn’t deal with who and how I was. They made their inability and incompetence into my problem. I know this now, but back then, as a child, I had no idea. All I knew, is that I didn’t belong where I was, that I was unhappy, and wanted things to be different. As said before, my giftedness also played a major role, and later I’d find out I’m a starseed. There’s obviously overlap between these three innate traits.

I never understood why others couldn’t see or experience what I did, and this deeply frustrated me. Sometimes, I saw right through things, while everyone else lost themselves in a mirage. Other times I was probably the most gullible child ever, lost in fantasies and daydreaming. Some children bullied me, and some teachers humiliated me in class. I never really felt safe. My parents loved me and did their best, but my father never understood my world. I had some friends, but never more than one… and I never belonged to any group.

I didn’t feel accepted or supported. If anything, I had learned I could never be myself. If I expressed what was in my mind, I would make myself vulnerable and thus risk getting hurt or humiliated. So, I drew attention to myself in other ways, hiding my true self. I put on masks, played along and did much pretending. This went from bad to worse, including a psychosis when I was 16/17. In the psychiatric world, btw, High Sensitivity is still wrongfully considered an indication of personality issues.

…and later on in life

After my psychosis, I learned how to ‘act’ without being outcast. I pushed the sensitive fire down and focussed on my mind only, suppressing most emotions. At university and in my IT career, this part of my sensitivity actually proved useful. But it wasn’t sustainable, and I had to look for ways to quiet my mind. I drank too much, so I could numb myself. I would overshare and force myself on others, just to get it out of my system. In everything, I’d always give much more than I received, so people took advantage of me. There was simply no balance in my life… it had to collapse.

Don’t get me wrong… it wasn’t all bad. I’ve always had a good relationship with animals, for instance. I attract animals that keep their distance with others, and this love is mutual. For many years, I did volunteer work with street and rescue cats. But here too, I couldn’t keep balance. I have a sharp eye for details, which was handy in my IT-work. I deeply understand the connections between seemingly unrelated things, and I easily jump from details to bigger picture. If I was personally involved, however, I’d often drown in those details and lose myself in possibilities.

I’m a great cook, without having had any training. Some say I’m a great listener. My house is warm and cosy, but organized. My sexual partners have been very diverse, and my relationships were never boring for most of the time. But I’ve also been told, that I’m not ‘a real man’. Some women still see my sensitivity as weak or feminine. In physical contact, like massage or tantra, I often intuitively feel what to do. Some women have experienced healing as a result, and this has even happened during sexual contact.

High Sensitivity in society

You’d think that society celebrates and cherishes a trait like this, but the opposite is true. The majority of people never look deeper than one or two layers. They’ll appreciate music, actors/actresses, achievements in sports, anyone that’s somehow successful. But they don’t like the process behind it. They don’t like people just being different. You can keep crabs in a shallow tub, no need for a lid. They’ll never escape, because as soon as one appears to break free, the others will pull it back. This is exactly what people do with someone who is different.

My father asked me why I always have to do things differently and always choose the difficult path. He couldn’t understand there was never another option for me. I don’t see another (normal) path. Sadly, when you do things apparently differently, people won’t stop judging you. The majority shall never understand. You can’t explain to someone who’s colour-blind, the countless and subtle shades of green of a forest canopy. Many HSP’s won’t even begin to try.

This is why we see a loss of diversity in arts, music, and cultural expression. “The dictatorship of the majority”, I called this as a child. More people than ever go to university, but not because people get smarter. This happens because the bar got drastically lowered. Society has become shallow, uniform, mono-cultural… a simplified shell where appearance rules over content. All to serve the disconnected majority.

Whoever is different, becomes a threat to the status-quo. People are afraid of change, or to have their fragile egos challenged. We no longer teach people how to think, only what to think (black-white propaganda). Many HSP’s see or feel right through this. But what can you achieve if 4 out of 5 people can’t see or feel what you do…

High Sensitivity and masculinity

High Sensitivity is equally prevalent in men and women, but there are massive differences between them. Empathy, subtlety, emotionality, creativity… they’re all considered feminine traits. Young boys are taught they shouldn’t cry, and toughen up. Many sensitive boys swallow and internalize their emotions, eventually having their feelings devour them from the inside out. They may close up and hate, even harm themselves, through e.g. addictions. If they find alternative ways of expression, those are seldom healthy ways. When you cook emotions long enough, they usually turn into anger. Where will that anger get directed towards? In school, family, TV/movies, they teach boys that expressing emotions is bad, but aggression is acceptable. It’s a recipe for disaster later in life.

This is the image we see everywhere in society, especially on TV and in movies and on social media. Women are supposed to be like this and men like that. But this often already starts with the mistake that masculine equals male behaviour. Masculine energy has little to do with that. It is the energy of structure, creating conditions, supporting the feminine. The feminine, on the other hand, is creative, flow, formless, it is content. If water is feminine, than the glass is masculine. They need each other and complement each other.

Society expects males to behave aggressive and masculine, meanwhile condoning violence and low vibrational emotions, like revenge, hatred, nationalism. Many Hollywood productions glorify these themes, portraying the protagonist as a hero if he kills for honour, family, and revenge. Likewise, feminity and female behaviour are portrayed as either submissive or seductive. Many HSP traits are more feminine than masculine. What should an HSP man do? Showing female behaviour, he’ll be considered weak, gay, not able to defend his family and the group. He won’t be considered “one of us”.

High Sensitivity and spirituality

We also see this in modern spirituality. I specifically use the word “modern”, because I believe it’s not what spirituality is about. I wouldn’t be surprised, btw, if most real spiritual people turn out to be HSP’s. To be receptive of something that’s often barely part of this reality (or so people think), requires great openness, willingness, and perceptiveness, and it definitely needs sensitivity that goes beyond ‘normal’ human senses. Even if you can’t put a finger on it, you know it’s real. You see it, also if others can’t, and I’m not talking about things like clairvoyance or claircognizence. Perhaps this explains why a stable percentage of people in society are HSP.

Unfortunately, modern society, social media, capitalism (read: ego) have hijacked spirituality. It has become a hype, something “we all must do”… until there’s something new. In modern spiritualism, old-fashioned ideas about male and female behaviour experience a revival. They’ll call it ‘divine feminine’ or ‘sacred masculine’, but don’t be fooled by these names. Especially women abuse these terms to not take responsibility for their own (mis)behaviour. Some men, unknowingly, become either facilitators or victims. The more people in tantra talk about “overcoming duality”, the more divisive they are. It’s all ego and they wear spirituality as a badge.

Much of this is the result of people connecting with False Light. You can’t buy true spiritual processes and there is no miracle trick for ascension. Until not so long ago, there was only true spirituality and almost all processes were based on christic energy. Spiritual people and shamans were few, they received extensive, high-quality training. It had to be their calling, otherwise it wouldn’t work (I’d bet most were HSP’s). Real spiritual people, like shamans, masters, healers, teachers, are still around, but how can we find them now?

HSP’s and the False Light

On social media people can and will say anything. There’s no check on validity, truth or importance, and there are hardly any consequences. Popularity, clicks, shares and likes are usually the only indicator and motivator. It’s so easy for people to copy-paste from others, and they often do so without understanding the real content. The context is often crucial, and the original creator may have put thousands of hours into it. But most people don’t buy the content, they only look at the package. All they care about, is how it serves their appearance.

Sometimes, you’d have to be really in touch to see and recognize the fakeness. Especially if the one selling the message doesn’t know the content is hollow, untrue, or even dangerous. Strangely enough, this happens often. Too many people blindly follow others or parrot anything a social media king/queen says. They think it’s true, so they’ll pass it on as truth. I usually know when someone’s lying, but I’m in trouble if people truly believe false truth. I can’t tell the difference. But I can find out what it does to me, that is always true. My heart won’t lie to me… yours can’t, either. Learn to listen to it and follow its (modest) voice.

When people start to become aware of themselves and the world around them, they look for answers. But how many of them would be able to critically assess if the answers are true or not…? Especially in this stage, people are susceptible to find something that suits them best. They want to hear what they already think, coming from someone else. This is the moment they can easily connect to False Light. They think they connect with Source and work with Christic energy, but they’re in fact in a mirrored reality.

What to do as a HSP?

So, what does this have to do with High Sensitivity? Well… if there’s indeed a link between HSP’s and spirituality, I believe it’s our mission as HSP to do it right. First of all, we owe it to ourselves to connect with Christic energies and release as much ego as possible. We need to take care of ourselves first, before we help anyone else. From there, we become a beacon for others, promoting in stead of hiding our sensitive gifts. You don’t need a plan or business or life mission… all that matters is your intention. Finally, it’s important to share and be vocal. Anyone who doesn’t like you telling the truth, is not worth your energy.

I know that especially HSP’s will find it difficult to let go of something, but it’s crucial that you do. Otherwise, it will weigh you down… I speak from experience. Also, you don’t want to pass on your burden to others, regardless whether it’s a friend, partner, children… Often, everything is amplified for HSP’s, and it takes longer to process and heal and grow. But there is also an upside to that. When you do, your roots will grow deeper and stronger than those of others, and your light will shine brighter.

My mission is to take care not so much of the brightness of the light, but of it’s purity. Truth is essential, as well as cleaning ourselves of distortions and impurities, like ego, trauma, attachments, and expectations. This is part of my work. The continuing work on myself, but also the work with others through guidance, heart to heart connection, and personal sessions. If you haven’t done so yet, check out the rest of this website and see what I do. Click to my sessions and find out what I offer.

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