According to authors Jenn Granneman and Andre Sólo, the basic human trait of sensitivity is not widely understood, though it has been extensively researched by scientists. Both highly sensitive persons themselves, Granneman and Sólo relate that “sensitivity is often seen as a bad thing”–parents have been known to discourage their children from being sensitive and adults are often expected to toughen up and not display their sensitive natures.
In this engaging, down-to-earth study of the gifts and burdens of highly sensitive persons, the authors hope to change our culture’s negative perceptions of sensitivity. Sensitivity is defined “as the ability to perceive, process, and respond deeply to one’s environment. This ability happens at two levels: (1) perceiving information from the senses and (2) thinking about that information thoroughly or finding many connections between it and other memories, knowledge, or ideas.” More simply put, “If you’re sensitive, everything affects you more, but you do more with it.”
Employing scientific research and enlightening anecdotes, the authors spell out the five gifts of sensitive people–empathy, creativity, sensory intelligence, depth of processing, and depth of emotion–and the burden of overstimulation that they encounter.
The authors put a spotlight on relationships, parenting, schools, and the workplace as they explore the power and positive impacts of choosing the Sensitive Way–embracing and celebrating sensitivity–over the Toughness Myth of perceiving sensitivity as a weakness to hide and overcome.
In conclusion, they write, “In our loud, fast, too-much world, we must look to sensitive people, for they have lessons to teach us. They show us the value of slowing down. Of connecting deeply. Of creating meaning in our ordinary lives. More than that, sensitive people are also the compassionate leaders our world needs.” (Harmony)