On the one hand, I think this book is helpful, and addresses some of my needs as an HSP. I'm tempted to recommend it to other HSPs (read: empaths and...moreOn the one hand, I think this book is helpful, and addresses some of my needs as an HSP. I'm tempted to recommend it to other HSPs (read: empaths and sensitives) that I know.
On the other hand, I get the impression that I wouldn't like this man very much. I don't think that I'd want to spend much time sitting and talking to him, and I'm having trouble reading parts of this book without wanting to just give up and chuck it across the room.
(I'm only on page 31)
I've been trying to figure out why it's bothering me so much, and if it's an unfair resistance to something that I'm going to have to eventually accept that I need to change, or if it's a valid complaint, and I'm starting to lean towards the later. A current example I'm facing is the following segments regarding evening routines and one's choice of entertainment and activities:
"Your evening activities should consist of calming endeavors such as reading uplifting books, writing, taking a bath or engaging in light discussions." (Zeff, 30)
"Paradoxically, when HSPs are in an out of balance state, they sometimes desire to be involved in activities that push them further off-center. Sometimes, when you internalize the Type A lifestyle, you may actually enjoy watching overstimulating television shows or getting into intense discussions late at night, regardless of what they do to your sleep schedule. However, as you begin meditating and living a more contemplative life, you will instinctively begin to desire more peaceful activities." (Zeff, 31)
The tone of the book's advice often takes an "all or nothing" approach to the problem of being an HSP. What's good for the proverbial goose (in this case, the author himself) is "obviously" good for the gander, and vice versa (bad for one = bad for the other). The specifications such as reading material needing to be "uplifting" or that television shows are by their very nature (for the most part, implied) "overstimulating" rankles me. I feel like he's petting my fur in the wrong direction. I've done experiments with a volt meter and various stimuli to see how I react to it - "agressive" music actually grounds and centers me. By the same token, I'm not just imagining that watching shows I like (most of which I'm sure the author would call 'overstimulating') relaxes me and allows my brain to let go of the stresses and tensors of the day. Certainly there are some shows that stimulate me in ways that aren't conducive to sleep (forget falling asleep immediately after an intense episode of BSG, for instance) but that is directly related to how emotionally involved *I* am with the characters, not with the content on it's surface. Crime shows and mysteries (both of which are singled out by the author numerous times) facilitate my relaxation, because I can follow the patterns and the logic and not get too wrapped up in what's going on.
Too much emphasis is put on *telling* the reader what "will" cause over-stimulation and what "will" stop it, and not enough emphasis is placed on teaching the reader how to identify the warning signs of over-stimulation and how to cope with and correct it. In other words, he tells us that something like loud, agressive music *will* be too stimulating for an HSP and that it is better to avoid that stimulus most of the time, rather than saying "if you are at a concert, and you start to react in certain ways, you may wish to counter that by doing x, y, or z." The overall message that I've come away with so far is that one should insulate one's self from stimulus as much as possible. While this may be a tactic that could work for some people, many of us aren't just tricking ourselves into "thinking" that we like stimulating things - we genuinely do like them. They genuinely bring us pleasure and happiness. A "contemplative" and "quiet" life isn't going to be right for everyone that happens to also be an HSP. It isn't going to make all of us happy. Some of us, it's going to bore to tears.(less)