Highly Sensitive People

The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)

Rosi Lalor

Graduate Student, Creative Writing, UCC



Elaine Aaron’s The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When The World Overwhelms You was a life-changing book for me, and I suspect it has been life-saving for many other HSP’s. Previously, it had never occurred to me to look at how my innate physiology, and in particular my nervous system had influenced my choices in life, both big and small. Three years after discovering the book, I continue to integrate its message and its implications.

On a personal level, one important effect is that I can shhhhh my inner critic whenever it wants to find fault with me for not being able to cope with the extremely high levels of sensory stimulation that are considered normal these days. I’m creating a fulfilling life for myself that is balanced and sustainable, and choosing environments that suit me, as opposed to trying to endure environments that feel harsh and exhausting. Rather than causing me to disengage from the world, my understanding of sensitivity has enabled me to engage with it more fully. I am more selective, more empowered, more able to meet it on my own terms.

Looking at the bigger picture, my continuing research has sparked an interest in attitudes towards sensitivity in education, and how these differ with regards to gender. I am also very interested in the specific role that HSP’s may be here to play in the evolution of human consciousness.



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“House of Water,” by Rosi Lalor. Audio Recording.

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Reichert, Michael. Interview by author, 2015. Audio Recording.

TheFamilyguy421. “Unhappy chimp gets the cold shoulder.” YouTube, 0:28. January 24, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6f03jNdMkU.

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WildFilmsIndia. “Woman athlete catching her breath at the Rural Olympics.” 0:40. December 12, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3_XXCl-0es.


The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)