How are Highly Sensitive People VALUED in Western Culture

Reading Elaine Aron’s wonderful book “The Highly Sensitive Person”, I came across this research.

The study highlighted the differing traits that made children more popular in different cultures. It revealed Chinese children to naturally value shyness more than Canadian children. In fact, the ‘sensitive’ children in the Chinese sample were chosen above the other children for friendships.

This led me think about the traits of highly sensitive people and what we might be missing out on as a culture. Are HSPs being naturally marginalised due to our value systems in the West? What would our schools look like if we really valued the shy, sensitive children? 

Remembering that HSPs often struggle to do things when they are watched, they are likely to struggle to be seen, to find it harder than non-HSPs to give lectures, to be filmed, to give keynote speeches etc. I wonder how much we are missing out on as a society.

If our HSPs grow up feeling that there is something wrong with them and they are innately flawed, we miss out on all their gifts. 

HSPs are often artists, actors, writers, therapists, counsellors, teachers, and nurses. HSPs are often involved in social activism and feel a strong sense of social responsibility. These are things we need now in our societies. 

If you are an HSP and have ever been told you are too much, too sensitive, or too shy, know that you are highly sensitive and that is okay. Your needs are a bit different to 20% of the population and that is okay. Know that you have amazing gifts to give the world. The world needs you to be you. You are perfect just as you are.

Reference: Aron, E. N. (2016). The Highly Sensitive Person. NY, New York; Random House.

Chen, X., Rubin, K., & Sun, Y. (1992). Social Reputation and Peer Relationships in Chinese and Canadian Children: A Cross-Cultural Study. Child Development, 63(6), 1336-1343. doi:10.2307/1131559