Book Review: The Highly Sensitive Person – How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You

Chances are you know one. It’s even possible you’re one yourself.
In her new book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, author Elaine N. Aron (Ph.D.) discusses what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person (or HSP) in the 21st century, and offers scientific and physiological explanations as to why some people are born highly sensitive, and how the trait reveals itself.  
In a culture which values achievement and power, the so called “weak” or “shy” amongst us often lose out. Yet it is rarely understood what makes these people the way they are, nor the special talents they have at their disposal. Elaine Aron attempts to throw light on what causes an estimated 15-20 percent of our population to be classed as Highly Sensitive People.
 I have included an extract of the blurb:
·         Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams?
·         Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water?
·         Are you ‘too shy’ or ‘too sensitive’ according to others?
·         Do you feel overwhelmed by bright lights and noise?
One in every five people is born with a heightened sensitivity; they are often gifted with great intelligence, intuition and imagination, but there are also drawbacks. Frequently they come across as aloof, shy or moody and suffer from low self-esteem because they find it hard to express themselves in a society dominated by excess and stress. The Highly Sensitive Person offers effective solutions to those feeling overwhelmed. With numerous case studies, exercises and advice, Elaine Aron focuses on the strengths of the trait, teaching HSPs that their sensitivity is not a flaw but an asset. This book  also offers great insight into raising a sensitive child.
The book is a must read for anyone who can personally identify with being a HSP, or knows someone who is. It aims to abolish many of the old ideas of people needing to “toughen up” or “being a whimp” and identifies the inherent intelligence and often intuitive qualities these people have.  The book is particularly useful as a tool for identifying highly sensitive children, and putting to rest your own demons of being an unacknowledged HSP, particularly in childhood and infancy. It acknowledges the challenges faced by HSPs in the modern world, and offers strategies to overcome them.
I didn’t always like the tone of the book, nor the amount of time the author spent dwelling on just how special these people are, but her theory and research into HSPs has an undeniably important place in the understanding of modern psychology  and, hopefully soon, the world at large. If you wish to broaden your understanding of some of your more sensitive bedfellows, I guarantee this will more than help you.

Waity Katie Gets Her Datey

It came as a shock to no one, yet the news sent media outlets (and supporters of the British monarchy) into a feeding frenzy.
The bait? The highly digestible news that Waity Katie has finally been given a wedding date – and a ring – by her long-time beau, Prince William.

Princess Diana’s engagement ring, no less.

I suppose this is a big deal, and an important moment in British history and all that. But honestly, I just can’t get up the energy to care.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids. I think they make a very aesthetically pleasing couple and would rather see their profiles on Commonwealth currency than, say, old Charles. And while we’re on that topic – I do hope they beat old Charlie to the crown, and have a blast ruling. Can’t you just picture the pair of them mixing it up in the throne room with Harry and Chelse? Hectic.

But it must be said – even in the early moments of the story breaking, it felt like old news. Let’s face it: the utter predictability and lack of scandal with which this couple have conducted their public life pointed to only one conclusion – eventual marriage. William himself was even quoted at one point saying he wouldn’t marry until he was at least 28. It’s no surprise that he’s popped the question to Kate in his 28th year.

The media has spent the past 8 years canvassing this story up to pussy’s bow and back. Now that the anticipated outcome has actually been reached, there’s really nothing new to talk about, except the usual discussion of wedding plans, costs and the dress make etc. Even the vague speculations on whether it’s appropriate for William to give Katie his mother’s ring (which is, of course, a ridiculous question) seem hackneyed and old hat.

In fact, it’s my belief that the only refreshing part of this fairytale is Katie herself. She presents as a poised, unselfconscious young woman from a working-class family with no pretensions to pomp and grandeur (except for marrying the heir to the British throne) and whose status as a commoner seems to be embraced by the public and royals alike.

If William, Harry and Denmark’s Fredrick are anything to go by, the new generation of princes like their princesses common and without pretension (clever boys!).

And now that Katie has ensnared a ring and date out of her prince, and the scent of scandal remains as elusive as the crown on Chuck’s head, a fresh topic must be introduced. My bet is that a new wave of Diana-esque nostalgia will ensue, with endless comparisons being made between the young pair and William’s parents.

Good luck to you, Katie and William. And while I don’t really give a fig about your wedding, I do hope you have what your predecessors never had – a long and happy marriage.