On Being A Romantic (Or Highly Sensitive as Some Say)

I’ve always felt like I walked a very strange line between being shy and friendly, quiet and hyper, intelligent and dumb, motivated and lazy…and just about any other kind of descriptive words you can think of.  And the oddest part is that I’ve never felt like any of them really describe me. I don’t think I’m particularly shy or friendly, quiet or hyper, intelligent or dumb, etc. Rather, I’m just a victim of my environment. When I’m in a comfortable environment, I can be the life of the party, but instantly zap me to an unfamiliarplace and I curl in on myself like one of those rolly polly bugs. Only much more adorable.` I think a lot of people can say this about themselves, which is really why I started this blog in the first place. To talk to other people who have what I would call “romantic sensibilites” but what a lot of experts would more define as high sensitivity.

I remember crying a lot about silly things when I was little. Like the old Kroger in Oxford being renovated. I clearly recall thinking to myself “why can’t things stay the same? It was fine the way it was!” It was a Kroger grocery store. I was about 8 or 9. Why that mattered, I have no idea. But I tend to clutch to keeping things the same as much and as often as I can. I like nostalgia and fiction stories and sitting quietly for hours. My husband gets annoyed with me because I take “time outs” often during the day. He gives the impression that it may be borderline laziness, but I really just need quiet reflection…even away from my fairly quiet children. I can’t watch anything but comedy movies because I get too emotionally invested. I had to watch Children of Men once in class and even now I can still spend a whole day mulling and slightly obsessing over it. It wasn’t even that good of a movie but it had that much of an effect on me. Loud music is great….as long as nothing else is going on. My husband likes to play music loudly and drive and yell over the loud music and I struggle to not let my head explode. In short, I’m a sensitive person. That’s just who I am.

It’s who my son is too. And boy is it hard raising a little male version of myself. It’s not that terrible, because since we’re similar we tend to not be in places or situations that stress him out. But it’s a bit harder with him because he has an obsessive mind too. My daughter is more daydreamy like me. We may be upset but our heads are so over stimulated anything can quickly be overpowered by more pleasant things. I’ve mentioned before how much my son loves playing baseball. I mean really, he’s quite obsessed. Every day he puts on all of his baseball gear and goes out to the field my husband has cut in our yard and plays. Even when he’s not playing he usually is carrying his bat or wearing his hat, or building baseball fields in the sandbox or with blocks. It’s adorable, and a lot of great people have been intensely focused like that. If he can learn to channel it properly I’m sure his focus will be great.

But combined with his sensitive nature, his focus sometimes gets out of control and he is unable to forget about things that bother him. He’s always been kind of a fussy…in a mother hen kind of way…always fixing things, getting upset when things aren’t “correct” like his sock isn’t straight (he’s been complaining lately that “Mommy you’re not doing my shoes properly.” That’s a direct quote), and is easily bothered by loud noises, large groups of people. Most of it is just silly two year old problems, and already he’s made great strides in learning to control his anxiety. He’ll reason things out to you, like when you say he can’t have his green shirt because it’s dirty and he’ll start to cry then say “oh, you wash it and then I can wear it to bed” in a half crying-half hopeful way, like he’s desperately wanting you to confirm this thought to him.

I have concern for him mostly because I don’t want him to be upset, I want him to be flexible and adaptable, because I know how important these things are in life. But as a sensitive person myself, I treasure so many things about his personality, even those things that I know make him unhappy, or life difficult for him. It tears at me when he crys over me getting a tiny cut because I so clearly remember sitting under a bench in the corner of a chiroprator’s office sobbing because I could hear him cracking my moms neck and thoughthe was hurting her (I still swear that her head turned 180 degrees, although I’m also pretty sure I imagined it. But it felt real! lol). My son sits and looks into my daughter’s face and asks her “you happy?” and when she says yes, somewhat annoyed, he says,”big happy?” I always say that I could endure his finicky ways forever as long as he continues being as absolutely sweet and caring as he is. I lightly worry that he will become neurotic or an introvert or truly obsessive, but I’m hoping that I will be able to do as well as my parents did with me in keeping the line between nurturing and pushing him.  Wikipedia says this about studies on sensitive people, “research by Pluess & Belsky has shown that children with difficult temperaments in infancy are more susceptible to the effects of parenting and child care quality in the first 5 years of life. Intriguingly, these children not only had more behavioral problems in response to low quality care, they also had the least problems of all children when having a history of high quality care. This suggests that children with difficult temperament are highly susceptible rather than difficult and therefore able to benefit significantly more from positive experiences compared to other less susceptible children. These discoveries have prompted Pluess & Belsky to use the term vantage sensitivity in their review of such results, highlighting the evolutionary advantages of the trait.”
Hopefully, he’ll just grow up into a romantic.

Here is short test based on Aron’s 27 question test to roughly determine your or your child’s sensitivity level, although for a more in depth personality test or if sensitivity is negatively effecting your life, you should probably talk to a professional. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,’script’,’//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’); ga(‘create’, ‘UA-52731437-1’, ‘auto’); ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

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