Understanding Highly Sensitive People

Understanding sensitive people was very difficult for me because I’m more or less straight forward and actually appreciate bluntness.

There are two very sensitive people in my immediate family so I know what it’s like trying to deal with them. When I was a lot younger, highly sensitive people were annoying to be around. I always found myself having to explain my words and intentions.

When my niece was fourteen, she and I were getting water from a vending machines where you fill your own jugs. She put the money into the machine and pressed the button. However, she forgot to put the jug beneath the spout and the water was just pouring down.

I laughed, reached for the jug on the concrete and put it beneath the stream of water. “Gee whiz, Susan! Where’s your mind?”

She was startled and stepped back in surprise. “I thought I put the jug under it!”

Shaking my head with a laugh, I said, “You must’ve left your mind at home or something.”

When the water stopped I put the cap on it and headed towards the car saying, fill another and this time remember to put-“

“I KNOW what to do! I’m not an idiot!”

Stopping dead in my tracts, I turned to her and her face was red and wet with tears.

I just don’t understand this kind of reaction. I knew it was an accident. She was probably distracted. We all do things like that but most of us simply laugh at ourselves when we do such things.

Most highly sensitive people are easily embarrassed. Embarrassment hurts. When things like that happen, they immediately think they’ve done something wrong or stupid.

Another example is when my brother-in-law misread a sign a guy was holding up to a television audience. He turned to me and asked, “Why is he holding a sign that says applesauce?”

I ginned and said, “That’s applause, Nimrod.”

His face burned red and he began to fidget. “Oh, well, I guess I didn’t read it right.”

What was the big deal? So he glanced at it and the word “applesauce” came to his mind. So what? If it had been me, I would’ve laughed out loud. But he was terribly embarrassed. I honestly meant no offense and wouldn’t have hurt his feels for anything.

Dealing with my highly sensitive family members taught me that we need to be careful around them. They can’t help the way they are. I’ve seen them get hurt many times and it’s not necessary. People who are not as sensitive should be more understanding when dealing with a highly sensitive person. Why hurt their feelings?

When you’re dealing with someone you know is highly sensitive, never ridicule them, even in jest. Trust me, they don’t think it’s funny. Defend them when they make mistakes. Assure them that everybody does things like that.

There was the time that Jesus Christ was having a meal with a man when a woman came in and cried at his feet, wiping the tears with her hair. The man arrogantly believed that if He had known the sort of woman she was, He wouldn’t have allowed her to touch Him.

However, Jesus knew her sins full well but rather than embarrass the man, which He could have very easily, he told him a parable about how those who are forgiven much, love much.

Then there was the woman caught in adultery who was deserted by her accusers. Jesus could’ve lectured her, but instead, He simply told her that He didn’t condemn her and to go and sin no more. Surely He felt her shame and embarrassment.

Try to be patient with highly sensitive people. Their feelings are very tender and they’re easily hurt. One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re down, they are the first ones to offer comfort and support because they know all too well how it feels.

Lastly, avoid sarcasm at all times. Be kind, patient and understanding. Highly sensitive people are easily embarrassed and have very tender feelings. Go easy on criticism and heavy on compliments.