Is There A Problem With Being “More Sensitive?” A Few Thoughts

Whether in an executive office or otherwise I often hear people talk about sensitivity:  they believe some people are “more sensitive” than others, they have a child who is more sensitive than their siblings, or they are “more sensitive” than their spouse or other friends.

What sensitivity-meter did they use to come to this conclusion?

There are cases where someone has been traumatized and is undeniably and logically reactive to the events.  But for the vast majority of people this is not the case and many have moved beyond a specific trauma with professional and personal support.

A few thoughts:

  • Each of us are sensitive in many different ways, both internally and externally, and this is part of being human.
  • Each of us experiences our sensitivity in our own manner, within a very wide range of behavior.  The issue is that we may rate someone’s sensitivity based on our interpretation of their response, as if there is a correct way to exhibit sensitivity.
  • When we consider someone to be “more sensitive” we are applying a different standard to their behavior and possibly nurturing a sense of entitlement, whether with a child or co-worker.
  • If we consider everyone to be sensitive we are made more likely to create a warmer work or home culture, while still focused on accomplishment and success.

One of the greatest dangers in labeling people as “more sensitive” is that possibility of encouraging tyranny without intending to do so.  When you apply a different set of expectations to a person based on perceived sensitivity there is an inevitable signal to the person and everyone one else that the standards are different.  Be careful because if you take this course you may be working against the very thing you want to achieve – equality and prosperity.