Do you remember the story of The Princess and the Pea? A prince wanted to marry a real princess. The way the queen mother determined if a particular young maiden was a real princess was to place a pea under 20 mattresses and the put 20 feather beds on top of the mattresses.
In the morning, the queen asked the princess how she had slept and the princess said she was black and blue because of something hard under the mattress. The determining factor for being a “real” princess was to have such delicate skin that she could feel a single pea under all those mattresses and feather beds!
I always wondered about this story. Why would anyone want to be that sensitive, much less marry someone so sensitive? Grant it, being sensitive to someone’s emotional state, and showing concern, tact, and care for another being is a good thing. Being extremely emotional to the point that you are debilitated is not so helpful.
Many times my clients, especially the women I work with, tell me they want a man who is more “sensitive” to their feelings. Men can learn this skill and some are taught early in their lives, especially if they grow up surrounded by caring women. Sometimes women are the insensitive ones, and need to learn the skill of being more sensitive.
Being sensitive, that is, showing concern for the well-being of others, is a wonderful thing. Too much sensitivity can crush a relationship.
I’m reading the book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. It’s great information and I’m finding that I have many of these traits.
I’m not as sensitive as the “real princess” is, but I relate to the book, and I have found that many of my clients could be said to be HSP’s too. You are not weird or crippled or socially inept. You have a wonderful gift.
You experience the world differently and you need time to care for yourself and to learn skills to protect you from feeling overwhelmed. You are able to sense when others need extra attention and care. You are conscientious. You can concentrate deeply. These are great traits.
If you notice that…
- You are aware of other’s moods and they affect you, sometimes deeply.
- You are very sensitive to pain.
- You tend to withdraw on particularly busy days to get relief from over-stimulation.
- You are uncomfortable with loud noises, crowded places, bright lights, strong odors, certain fabric textures, or sirens/alarms.
- You startle easily.
- Deadlines with too much to accomplish distress you.
- You are very conscientious.
- You tend to be a perfectionist.
- You avoid certain shows or movies with violence or other painful themes.
- Change is very difficult for you, more so than it might be for others.
- You go out of your way to avoid situations that might be stressful.
- As a child, you were labeled as shy or sensitive.
…you may be a Highly Sensitive Person.
This is only a short list of the examples in Dr. Aron’s book. Maybe you’re not as sensitive as the “real princess” is, and you may be a highly creative and productive person. Sensitivity is a good thing. Too much can affect our relationships. Too little can also create rifts with the ones we love.
If this post rings true for you, contact me and talk to me about how I can be helpful to you. Let’s talk and see if you and I are a good fit to work together to help you reach your personal and relationship goals.
There is no obligation; it’s just a meeting to figure out what you would like to do to help yourself reconnect with the one you love in a way that allows you to learn to create your very own happily ever after (or if you are single, help you to create a plan to find the one for you).
The Relating from the Heart™ Process is a step-by-step method designed to help married women over 40 learn dynamic ways to relate at the heart level, and rekindle a sense of passion with the man in her life.
Through experiential methods you learn highly effective skills of compassionate listening, communication, and problem-solving by reconnecting with, and remembering the deep feelings, that led you to say “I do” to your husband. If you love your husband, but you’re not “in love” with him, together we will work to rekindle the love that is not lost, but is simply asking to be remembered.
Michelle Vásquez, author of Creating Happily Ever After: A Marriage Manual For What to Do After the Honeymoon is Over, and creator of the Relating from the Heart™ Process, is a Relationship Coach in Huntington Beach, CA. With over 18 years experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor, she is passionate about helping married women over 40 learn dynamic ways to relate at the heart level, and rekindle a sense of passion with the man in their life.
Dollar download: Creating Happily Ever After: Golden Nuggets from Michelle.
Get my book: Creating Happily Ever After: A Marriage Manual for What to Do After the Honeymoon is Over or get the downloadable, e-book version.