Are people too over-sensitive these days?

Young Woman Biting Her Finger Nail

It seems like these days you can’t do or say anything without having to worry about how someone will feel so you have to tiptoe around what you wanted to say or do and be as politically correct as possible.

We can’t say “Merry Christmas” or even put up a Christmas tree in a public place anymore without thinking “Who am I going to offend?”. It has become so ridiculous that a business owner is being dragged to the BC Human Rights Tribunal because he called his beer and wings “Earls’ Albino Rhino Beer and Wings” and someone was offended because their feelings were hurt due to a skin condition they have called albinism which prevents them from forming colour.

We hear incidents like these more often around holidays that usually have nothing to do with hurt feelings, but some people will hypothesize it as an attack on the Christian faith by other religions that want to marginalize these events to promote their own religious agenda. Unfortunately, whether this assertion is true or not depends on what side of the fence you are sitting on. However, it is something to be discussed as our society becomes more pluralistic. Because if we fail to address this issue, we will see a greater divide in the future and possible strife that leads to violence.

Yet when we take away the religious variable from the equation about the topic of over-sensitive people, we find that there are indeed, to our surprise, people with a condition known as HSP (highly sensitive personality).

These people as described by Elaine Aron, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist, who has been studying this behavior and spent about 20 years educating others found that people with HSP are able to pick up subtleties that others might miss. This can include things like a look, a feeling, a message only detected by them in what would be considered a normal straightforward statement.

Other researchers from universities around the world have found that people with HSP also take longer to make a decision, need more alone time to think and are more conscientious about things like birthdays, anniversaries or special events.

In fact, an MRI scan of their brain indicates that they do find more details when examining a picture than the rest of us. Both men and women are equally susceptible to HSP and it afflicts about 15 to 20 percent of the population.

Although many will brush this off as mumble jumble, if you take the time to think back to some of the people that you met who seem over-sensitive, it makes complete sense now.

If you want to find out whether you are a highly sensitive person, you can take this self-test on Elaine Aron’s website or pass it onto your friends or family members. Once you identified what kind of person you are, you will have an easier time dealing with what life throws at you.