A good way to judge a book’s importance in your life is the emotion that you feel after you finish reading it. Some books make you sad, but in a good way: you wish the book didn’t end. Some books make you happy. But very few books give you a sense of relief and inner peace. In most cases, this happens because you look at your past in a fresh way and most importantly, you accept it. This book is one of them.
Simply put, a highly sensitive person is someone who feels everything more intensely than others. The nervous system of a sensitive person is designed in a way that he/she gets overaroused by things very easily. Dr. Aron has basically covered every area of a sensitive person’s life: from childhood trauma to social/professional life to relationships. I thought I would finish the book easily but Dr. Aron takes you back to the most painful moments in your life, in a very compassionate way and it takes time to come back to the present moment.
I couldn’t help but compare this book with Susan Cain’s book, ‘Quiet.’ The only complaint I had with ‘Quiet’ was why didn’t Susan write it earlier. With this book, I cannot even complain much. It was published in the 90s, even before Susan’s book came out and became an internet sensation. I wish I could go back in time and give this book to myself and everybody else who suffered because of the stigma around sensitivity.
I remember my growing up years when certain family members of mine constantly shamed me for my sensitivity. I slowly transformed that shame into anger but deep down, you always feel inferior. But the great thing about this book is that it doesn’t make it a ‘us’ v/s ‘them’ war. You just learn to respect your trait and once you do that, you can even empathize with those who don’t see your point of view.
Another great thing about this book is that even though it is written by a person with a Science background, she acknowledges the importance of spirituality, intuition etc. Not everything can be explained rationally and it takes guts for a rational person to admit this.
One thing I was looking for but couldn’t find was how a sensitive person can insulate himself from other people’s constant negativity and moods. Even though there was some advice on it, I wish there was more. Probably, Dr. Aron has covered that in her other books.
This book is truly revolutionary because it challenged the prejudices of the Psychology community and society in general at a time when very few dared to question what’s normal, acceptable and ideal.
P.S. A special mention to the anonymous person who borrowed this book before me from the library. I don’t know who you are but I am amazed. We both have the same scores! You made this book special because of your pencil markings. Thank you!