My mocha still tastes like mothballs.
Specifically the seven boxes of moth balls spread under our house to encourage Pepe Le Pew to find a new romantic rendez-vous.
A week ago, we couldn’t imagine anything as bad as waking up at 3:00 AM to a house reeking of fresh Essance du Skunke.
But after seven days of mothball mochas, I’ll admit it:
I miss the good old days—when the house just smelled like skunk.
Deskunking and Debunking
While waiting (and waiting and…) for the skunk smell to leave my house, I receive this email from a reader:
…[myth] debunking is a lot like de-skunk-ing. Gonna get those smelly revolting ideas out of my head and heart.”
Reflecting on her words, I notice three ways that myths about sensitivity are similar to skunk odor:
- They’re stinky.
- They’re strong.
- They’re s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n.
57 Myths About Sensitivity
Here’s the list of myths about sensitivity that we’ve brainstormed as a community. (I divided them into four groups to make them a wee bit more manageable.)
As you read, keep track of how many myths resonate with you:
Myths about what you should (& shouldn’t) do
- You should just be able to control your sensitivity.
- You should just be able to switch off your sensitivity.
- You should just be able to stop overthinking things and let them go.
- You need to grow thicker skin and grow up.
- You’re supposed to suck it up [Buttercup].
- Sensitivity is a state of mind that needs to be overcome — it’s really all in your head.
- If you tried harder, your sensitivity wouldn’t be an issue.
- If you would just give it to God, you wouldn’t have any problems.
- You shouldn’t feel _________. (intimidated, upset, embarrassed, etc.)
- You shouldn’t take things so personally.
- You shouldn’t react so easily.
- You’re the only one who ______. (thinks that / feels that / reacts that way)
- Nobody else ______. (thinks that / feels that / reacts that way)
Myths about what you can’t be or do
- Sensitive people can’t be leaders.
- Your opinions are invalid because you’re “too emotional.”
- You can’t think through problems and come up with real solutions.
- You don’t have strength or fortitude to make decisions.
- Sensitive people can’t handle the stresses of a relationship.
- Sensitivity is a disability.
- Type A overachievers can’t be highly sensitive.
- Being sensitive means you can’t take a joke.
- Only women are highly sensitive.
- Highly Sensitive People are incapable of logical thought.
- You can’t expect to be taken seriously.
Myths about your true motives & hidden meanings
- Being so-called sensitive is just a ruse to gain attention.
- You think you’re a Know It All.
- You are a Drama Queen.
- Sensitive means that you’re easily offended.
- Being sensitive is the same as being too emotional.
- Sensitivity means that your emotions are out of control.
- All conflict is automatically your fault.
- You cry to get your own way.
- If you’re “too sensitive,” your relationship with God is not what it should be.
- It’s your own fault when you’re hurt; you’re the one who over-analyzes everything.
- You “over explain” because you’re afraid of failure.
- If you congratulate someone, it’s not genuine; it’s because you are actually threatened and are trying to be manipulative.
- You can’t possibly hear / smell / see / taste / feel that; you’re making it up.
Myths about your core identity and worth
- There is something wrong with you.
- Sensitivity is not normal.
- Sensitivity is a personality flaw.
- Being sensitive is a bad thing.
- Being sensitive is a sin.
- You need to change.
- Sensitive people are weak.
- Sensitive = whiney cry baby
- Crying is weak.
- You cry because you are way too emotional.
- Sensitive people were those who cry ALL THE TIME OVER ANYTHING.
- Sensitive people are high maintenance.
- Sensitivity = immaturity
- You’re unstable.
- You’re too intense.
- You’re overly-dramatic.
- HSP’s are selfish.
- HSP’s are no fun.
- Sensitive people are just big scaredy cats.
Other: What myth(s) did we miss?
How to Debunk Every Myth About Sensitivity
So, now what?
My original plan was to write a blog post series debunking each myth, one-by-one.
But 57 separate myth debunks? NOT gonna happen.
Don’t need to happen.
Every single myth can be debunked with the same approach.
The process below is one I’ve used for years. But you’re getting my first attempt at turning it into a step-by-step tool. I’d love your feedback so we can improve it together.
Go ahead—click on the image and download the 2-page PDF file.
(I’ll be right here, sipping my mocha and pretending moth ball is an acceptable coffee flavor…)
Let’s walk through it together:
Step 0 — I fill in the specific myth I’m struggling with:
The sensitivity myth I’m struggling with says “You shouldn’t feel sad.”
Step 1 — As I pray-cess this myth, I’m asking, “What’s them?“
This question gives me perspective.
When I recently told someone close to me, “I miss Shatzi” (my dog who died last September), their response was, “You need to focus on your cats.”
This tells me that they aren’t comfortable with grief. They aren’t open to feeling pain, let alone sitting with me in mine.
Step 2 — As I pray-cess this myth, I’m asking, “What’s me?“
This question gives me understanding.
I know that I need to feel my feelings of sadness, loss, and grief. Not dwell in them forever. Not drag others down into them. But I need to honor them, listen to them, and learn from them.
I also know that I need to talk about how I feel. Talking through experiences and emotions is normal for a verbal processor.
Step 3 — As I pray-cess this myth, I’m asking, “What’s True?“
This question brings me courage.
I recall the way Jesus intentionally joins Mary in her grief over her brother’s death, even though He knows full well that he is about to perform a miracle that will reunite all three siblings.
I remember that God understands my grief.
Step 4 — As I pray-cess this myth, I’m asking, “What’s new?“
This question brings me Strength.
The conviction I sense today sounds something like this:
I have a habit of taking my Emotional Connection Cup to a dry well and feeling angry, resentful, and bitter that I walk away thirsty every single stinkin’ time.
So, I need to do 2 things new:
- First, I need to take my Emotional Connection Cup, first and foremost, to the One who can give me living water so I will never thirst again.
- Second, I need to focus on what this person can offer, and go to them for that.
Let the Debunking Begin
Now, it’s your turn.
Pick a myth that’s been stinky, strong, and stubborn in your head and heart.
Pray-cess it through the Myth Debunker.
- What’s them?
- What’s me?
- What’s True?
- What’s new?
I’ll be cheering you on.
(And hoping that your mochas never taste like mothballs.)
- How many of our 57 myths about sensitivity feel familiar to you?
- Which myth feels most personal?
- What about the Myth Debunker worked well for you? How can we make it even more useful?