If you have never heard the words “You are over sensitive, you need to toughen up”, then chances are you are not a highly sensitive person. Those of us who are highly sensitive have either heard these or similar words many times throughout our lives. And asking someone to understand the highly sensitive person is like asking a man to understand what it is like to be a woman.
He could read a myriad of books on the subject, listen to women speak on being a woman, even try to get in touch with his feminine side, but he will never truly and completely understand what it is like being one. A woman can not stop being a woman, likewise, a highly sensitive person can not stop being highly sensitive.
Some people view this as a weakness but there is no diet to reduce or correct it, no exercise to thicken the “thin skin”, and no pill to remedy it for it is innate. What happens instead is that these people learn to develop various coping methods, such as hiding it through perceived shyness or hiding themselves through isolation. This hiding only builds walls which hurt not only themselves but those who would benefit from association with these compassionate people.
Being compassionate is just one of the similar traits among most of them. They are creative and intuitive due to their heightened senses and strong attention to detail. Their sensitivity is also manifest in physical ways. I personally cut all labels from my clothing and even wear pajamas inside-out to avoid the scratchy feeling of seams or labels.
These traits are just a drop in the bucket of the highly sensitive person. Not being able to fully understand them, however, does not mean that one can not learn how to treat them in a kind and loving way. To do this you need look no further than the example set out by Jesus, who, in my mind was a highly sensitive person, and treated people with great love and compassion.
We can read many examples of Jesus fair and considerate treatment of others in the Christian Greek Scriptures, commonly referred to as the New Testament. Along with his example are his teachings from his Sermon on the Mount, which includes Matthew 7:12 where it says “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them…”
In the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, the way God wants us to treat each other is scattered through Leviticus 19: 9-37, but can be summed up by Leviticus 19:18b where it says “…you must love your fellow as yourself.” To do that would require thinking about how our words and actions will affect all those around us, including the highly sensitive ones.
So…instead of suggesting that they toughen up, why not try putting yourself in their shoes as best you can, then maybe you will see that you need to lighten up.
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
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