Ten years ago, I read a book that changed my life.
My dad was the first in our family to read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. “You girls need to read this,” he said, handing my sister and me each a copy. “And once you have, I want us to talk about it.” So my sister and I read it—because it looked interesting, yes, but also because Dad had taken on a tone we knew not to argue with. (We’d long ago become adults, but, hey. Once a daughter, always a daughter.)
From Quiet, I learned that being introverted was not a flaw, but a gift.
I learned what Dad had figured out and wanted our family to understand. That the entire lot of us were highly introverted. (Which explained so much about my childhood!) The quiet life was loud enough—and we weren’t alone in thinking that way.
And from Susan Cain’s references to it, I learned about another trait woven into my DNA. One I’d lived with and never known the term for: highly sensitive person (HSP).
Highly sensitive? As in, you might be easily annoyed by strong perfume? You might dwell on imagined offenses no one else cares about? You might be thrown off kilter by a last-minute change of plans?
That kind of highly sensitive person?
Yes, and no. When a highly sensitive person is bombarded by stimuli (external or internal), they can quickly feel overwhelmed. Often, a messy reaction is all the world sees.
But inside a highly sensitive person, there’s usually a highly empathetic person. A deeply compassionate person experiencing the world in extraordinary ways.
Someone finely tuned to notice nuances—with an ability to see the big picture and the little things all at once. Someone who recognizes life’s patterns—and evaluates whether those repetitions bring beauty or destruction. Someone who naturally envisions potential when others understandably give up.
Twenty percent of the world’s population is highly sensitive. We are introverts, extroverts, and everything between.
Interestingly, a considerable number of us are creative and artistic.
That’s one reason I’m writing The Wren Island Series. It’s one reason my stories are free of graphic violence and it’s why I’ve promised to protect certain characters. Readers like you influence every story I write, and I absolutely adore hearing from you and learning more about you.
So, dear reader, would you tell me more about yourself?
What are the three words that describe you? Please send me a note and let me know!
(Do you think you or a loved one might be a highly sensitive person? Check out these helpful resources from my friend Cheri Gregory. Do you want to read more of my thoughts about being an introvert? Check out “Why an Introverted Writer Continues to be on Social Media.”)
[Photo courtesy of Unsplash.]