I stumbled upon an unexpected definition of a familiar word recently.
All my life, I’d been so sure that I knew exactly what it meant. But as it turned out, I’ve been partly wrong all along.
Likewise, many people believe they know exactly what being a Highly Sensitive Person is all about. Turns out, they too may be at least somewhat wrong.
It’s up to us to intentionally and actively debunk myths about sensitivity. As we do, we help ourselves and others to:
1. Reveal the truth — the whole truth — about what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person.
Is there some truth to each myth about sensitivity? Of course! But not the whole truth. And the problem with having a partial truth is that it easily becomes a stereotype … and even a prejudice.
We all need to be working with the whole truth—complex and messy though it may be!
2. Review potential decisions with the lens of truth about sensitivity.
When we believe a myth, then our choices are grounded in error. We act inappropriately. Or we get stuck in inaction and fail to act at all.
Knowing the whole truth about what it means to be an HSP facilitates wiser, more intentional actions. Better beliefs lead to better behaviors.
3. Recognize socially-acceptable bullying of HSPs.
Is the purpose…
- …to dismiss you?
- …to shut you down?
- …to declare you “less than”?
- …to make you feel unworthy?
We need to stop accepting subtle bullying as normal and call it what it is: hurtful. It hurts us to be bullied, and it hurts others to behave as bullies.
Often they do so without meaning to. But unintentional bullying is still bullying.
And when no one speaks up, nothing changes.
Believe, Behave, and Change
That unexpected definition I ran across? It was for the word bullying.
When I read this on a Facebook meme, the third bullet point hit me in the gut.
When someone unintentionally says something or does something hurtful, and they just do it once, that’s RUDE;
When someone intentionally says something or does something hurtful, and they just do it once, that’s MEAN;
When someone intentionally says something or does something hurtful, and they keep on doing it—even if they see you’re upset or you’ve asked them to stop—that’s BULLYING. (source)
I’d always wrongly assumed bullying was limited to loud, obvious, physical actions like yelling and hitting.
So I’ve told myself Just don’t make any waves and pretended that the bullying I’ve experienced didn’t bother me. You’ve likely done the same, in your own way.
Will you join me in identifying myths about sensitivity and working together to debunk them? Because when we do, we help ourselves — and those around us — to believe bigger and behave better.
Together, we will be catalysts for change!
Let’s create a collaborative definition of bullying:
Feel free to respond in the comments here on the blog, over on our Facebook page, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do you define bullying?
- What are some obvious forms of bullying you’ve experienced as an HSP?
- What are some subtle forms of bullying you’ve experienced as an HSP?