Dear valued HSM-readers, I have just received an e-mail from the highly valued Dr Ted Zeff who has not only been a very generous contributor and advisor to this site, probably many of us if it wasn’t for him never would have learnt about the topic of Highly Sensitive Men. Here is the message I received from Ted: “I am happy to let you know that I am currently offering 50% off all phone consultations to discuss HSP coping strategies for you or about your child’s sensitivity. We can also arrange an email consultation if you want. Half-hour consultation normally $45 now only $25. One hour consultation normally $85, now only $45. Please visit http://drtedzeff.com/appointments/ to arrange an appointment Thank you, Ted Zeff, Ph.D.” So if you feel overwhelmed and could really use some helpful and practical coaching on how to better deal with overwhelm, I can only recommend you to get into contact with Ted. You can learn more about his work and contact him via his website: http://www.drtedzeff.com Ted Zeff is the author of The Strong Sensitive Boy and The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide.
Spring is here, hormones are flying around, the sun is shining, and you might be wondering where your perfect girl is running around? To save yourself a lot of dating pain and lost time and money, first ask yourself these two questions to clarify your dating goals and improve your dating success right away . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVD_7G4h3ME
Most Highly Sensitive Men spend their life in what I call “Defense” mode. You are overstimulated and as a result the world is overwhelming you. That doesn’t have to be the case. While more changes may be required, this 1 simple technique can help you to relax instantly when you are overwhelmed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZSb2VhJYUw Overwhelmed? Try This Simple Technique
It has become more popular in recent years to become an HSP, even to become an HSM. In fact, resources on this topic are booming like never before. Here are some of the reasons that awareness and topicality of the HSP topic is increasing more and more. Today’s world brings with it a lot of inventions and tools that really have facilitated our lives. I wouldn’t want to live without a car, a plane or a really nice coffee machine. Yet, especially the information and technological evolution has turned this world into a place where technology often no longer serves us, but rather we serve technology. We have smartphone, laptop, tablet with us everywhere and are bombarded with information from all sides. Animations, audio and video content bring more stimulation than a simple book or CD used to. While everybody talks about how great this entertainment (what does that even mean?) is, few people have begun to point a finger at the overflow of information we have to deal with. And it doesn’t get better. So as everybody starts a business and wants your attention to become a paying customer, as goods are shipped worldwide and transported 24/7, marketing and transport have exploded and create noise and stimulation that our minds and bodies have to deal with. Therefore, more and more people in trying to keep up with this burn themselves out and reach their level, teir threshold and then they are overwhelmed and done. HSM or not by definition, more and more people are overwhelmed by society as the environment around us gets more and more overwhelming (“challenging” would be a total disnomer as presenting an ideal to aspire to live up to when the development is anything but desirable). For all men overwhelmed by surroundings, the HSM concept can be very comforting and enlightening. So the word is spreading and a certain shift within society is bound to happen. What that shift will do? We don’t know, but you can have your say in it! Tell us what you think of more and more HSPs and HSMs finding out about themselves. Is the term even hypey by now?
The good fortune made it that I could spend this beautiful day in the supposedly most romantic city in the world – Venice. Reason enough that I put some thoughts and experiences together on the topic of dating and the HSM. While we are honored to have been able to also post here a similar post by Rick Belden of “The Iron Family Outing”. There were many instances in my personal life where I disliked my own nature, and it has been a constant battle with self to get to the point of acceptance of my HSM identity. The first dating experiences when I was younger – starting at about 15 – were all coined by fear from my side if the girl would actually like me or not and then hesitation until the point at which she left and had usually developed interest for someone more sure of himself and non-doubting of his own attractiveness. In high school when the other guys and girls were all flirting with each other, “together” for a few days, and starting to write text messages or online on a constant basis, I would just sit there and usually observe them. But not only did I observe them, I wanted to be a part of it. Yet I couldn’t get myself to it. It just seemed that this hectic, fast-paced, springing-of-the-hormones environment was too stressful for me to engage in. I took time to think, I couldn’t talk to three girls at the moment, and feeling I was interested in one of them made me nervous starting to hold back any interaction from my side. Let alone the fact that this fight for attention by everyone around me seemed artificial and superficial. When I was almost 17 I finally did talk to a girl in my class that I was really interested in – and she seemed to be very interested to. We exchanged phone numbers and talked a lot after school; however in school I never got my nerve up to go over to her group and talk in class, some of her friends I wasn’t really comfortable with. Eventually when in the cinema I tried to make my move, yet was very unsure, and eventually she rejected me. Moreover, after many more attempts to call her she put me out in class and told me “Please get a life. And a personality.” Yuck, that hurt. I had written her poems for Christmas, and she told me that a bit before Valentine’s day. And there I sat asking myself what the heck I had done wrong, and why I can’t be like the other guys that seem to have multiple girls at the same time interested in them… So my journey of being “one of them began”. That was when the seduction community in the internet was just coming out, and I became one of the pioneers. I downloaded seminars, read e-books, heard audio-records and went ahead to change my behavior accordingly, driven by the pain of past rejection. And I truly did have a lot of fun trying on different behavior and getting different reactions. I guess HSMs know how to and enjoy feeling themselves into a possible other role – at least when it feels like being an actor in an interesting movie. Later I fell in love with a long-term girl-friend of mine and we saw that we had more feelings for each other. The relationship was great, and it taught me a lot. I naturally did all the things that I really enjoy – writing a poem for some anniversary, a thoughtful note in the handbag, a random decoration made from apricots of the garden in a heart-shape form just because I felt that way and loved to see her smile. Eventually the relationship ended – I ended it – as the tension and excitement seemed to be gone. My HSM soul was uninspired and understimulated by the situation I now see it. Well, being in University, the dating waters were ahead of me. Not knowing any better, I joined my friends in going out to nightclubs and to meet girls there. Yet I felt the same way as in high school. Loud music, lots of smoke, people drunk – I didn’t admit to myself I don’t enjoy such a scene. Yet, I never really talked to girls and started a conversation, I danced to the music and enjoyed having a new environment to observe and study. Some less-than-meaningful dates and “Hey-what-club-do-you-go-to?” dates later – about 1 year of this, I met another girl that would change my life. Ironically, I met her when going out and she was out for about the first time. Our view was magic, she smiled at me, me smiling back – instant attraction. What we had was beautiful. It became about 1 ½ years with a girl that introduced me from date 3 to the idea of HSPs. There is no doubt that she is the real inspiration behind this website and me having gone into this whole topic and understanding myself. As an HSP herself, she told me about it and lent me a back to read, as I would probably be interested in it as well. Life got us busy, many fights within myself for not accepting my true self later, and she was on with her life, to see more of the world and what the dating world has to offer. I was heartbroken, yet found a book in my room that she had left. “The Highly Sensitive Person in Love” by Elaine Aron. Missing her I started to read and that was the beginning. Long journeys into all the possible HSP literature later I realized that she had been right all along, and that I was probably really a HSP. What to do about it – I still didn’t want to accept, after all the seduction community talks about being an alpha, a group leader, going out and being novelty-seeking, god-knows-what. It wasn’t seemingly compatible with the HSM thing. I felt that I had two options:
- Keep on developing into the attractive group alpha that I felt was the only way to “have girls” (and avoid dating mistakes of the past).
- Accept being an HSM which explained what I did in the past and feeling victimized to never truly be attractive to women.
I dated little in the coming time, the internal agendas kept me too busy to take on “more work” from the outside. I couldn’t bare the thought that I could not be attractive to women because of the way I was born. Yet, I also knew too much and had found myself too much in the HSP books that I could go back to trying on behaviours that were not me (some of them were! And I did integrate them, but most not!!) And the young and unsettling man inside of me was striving for the point that there must be a better way. We cannot be born to like the arts, to like the subtle and details, to be overwhelmed by observing and enjoying the beauty of a woman that we are around, and then be doomed to dating misery and being friend-zoned forever; after all, our endowment must also be a blessing we yet have to realize. The only thing that rang true for me was to finally embrace the things I really enjoyed doing, whether they seemed attractive or not. Samely, the thing I just did was to talk to women I was really attracted to and telling them that I find them beautiful and would like to meet them for a coffee and get to know them better. Lessons learnt some months down the road are that there truly is a better way. And there is a way to be an HSM and be loved by women – not just as friend, but also as a caring and passionate lover. Dr Ted Zeff (who we are very honored to have embraced and encouraged our website!) not only mentions these advantages, but also how important it is for the HSM to find a woman that is supportive of his sensitive side. In his great read “The Strong, Sensitive Boy”, Ted Zeff mentions many stages along the development of and dealing with the HSM identity. The success formula if you can call it that is a mixture of you being yourself and then finding the right stir for the pot. The bad news is that the big number of women out there may still be unavailable to our advances, but that is the way it is supposed to be. I have had the honor of making acquaintance with quite some women that truly enjoy what the HSM has to offer. The “trick” is to find them and be able to “screen them out”. More on that in future postings. For today, please enjoy the Valentine’s Day, or hopefully you already did, and don’t feel bad about the fact that you enjoy this day and might prepare a surprise with a lot of happiness instead of the typical guys-speech “Ah, another time this stupid day. Have to buy flowers and chocolate or she will be angry” stuff. You are not alone , - Chrisi
A lot of HSM watch American football. A lot more still may even play the sport. At its most competitive levels — collegiate and professional — it sees such tremendous nationwide popularity (and corporate profit) that it is no stretch to call it an American institution.
But it is an innately insensitive sport. At its core is perpetuated aggression highlighted by verbal intimidation and high impact collisions (with ever present severe injury risk) on which it has thrived for several decades. It comes just about as close as it can get to being the athletic symbol of Western masculinity in the United States. The ancient saying that goes, “there’s no crying in baseball” should really be updated to say football.
At the lower levels, trying out for the football team in school is a rite of passage for adolescent boys. Those who make the team instantly have a title in which to flaunt as a beacon of attractiveness to their impressionable female classmates and a jacket of physical and emotional dominance over those boys who were cut or those who didn’t try out at all (if I was American I would be in the latter group). In the severely insular and image conscious environment that is the student body in the average American high school, there is implicit and sometimes not so implicit administrative prioritization of football. This represents the crown jewel in the laundry list of challenges to the young highly sensitive American male’s sense of self (and self-esteem). Teenage years are already a legendary period of hormonal instability for both genders, sensitive or not.
For a while now however, there has been a storm brewing between those in football, American media and the populace around the chronic, irrefutable head trauma and subsequent brain injury risks at the highest levels of the sport. The National Football League (NFL), wherein an “average” team is worth over $1 Billion USD, is being sued in federal court by more than 4,000 former players over negligence in recognizing and accommodating such significant head injury risks (notably, concussions which can lead to early onset degenerative brain disease). Starting with the 2013 season, independent neurosurgeons will be stationed at the sidelines of every game. Ten years ago, or even five years ago, this would have been the definition of inconceivable. If the most popular sport in American by a wide margin is at the very least forced to consider, if not permanently implement sweeping changes in the name of player safety, how does this parallel with the current ignorance — and where applicable, intolerance – of highly sensitive heterosexual men in Western society?
Every football player of every age gives consent to risk injury to play the sport. But, while they have been conditioned that it is ok to get injured and even admit to many a different injury, short of actually being and staying knocked out it’s not ok to stay on the sidelines with an “invisible head injury” (concussion). Even the helmets used at the highest levels which feature the latest safety technology are no match for the physics of a brain floating in fluid being rapidly decelerated against the wall of the skull. While the brain may be the most important organ in the body alongside the heart, for too long it has simply been unbecoming to not just shake off “the stars” and quickly line up for the next play. Perhaps it’s not so much uneasiness, but I do get the sense there has now been a non-returnable wrench thrown into what used to be a well-oiled machine of football based masculinity certification. A line of dominoes has been set up and the US federal court ruling on the players’ lawsuit is the finger that may tip the first domino of consequences for all levels of the sport. Time will tell if the nation is willing to be honest with itself regarding the real danger that the higher levels of the sport pose to a player’s quality of life down the road.
Regardless of the state of American football a few years from now, the mere fact that this pillar of Americana has been dragged mostly kicking and screaming into systematic evaluation inspires me to continuing advocating for all the HSM. Heightened awareness of head injury risk exposure in football means there is a widening crack Fortress Football’s silent wall of “head injuries are for sissies” policy. This is to say nothing of other sports like professional hockey which have recently been dealing with their own concussion related media storms.
That said, I won’t be recommending that every HSM out there suddenly become immersed in football or other hard contact sports for the sake of “proving themselves.”
But I will urge you to use this news as motivation to find your niche as a highly sensitive man knowing that this insensitively dominated reality you’re living is very capable of turning on itself in the name of a legitimate cause.
Are we HSM victims? Have we been cursed with a sensitivity that makes it hard to relate to so seemingly different people and especially other men? Has the HSP literature shown me that I am truly a victim or is there a better way? Dear HSM, thank you for tuning in again. Today I want to discuss the connection between being a Highly Sensitive Men and the victim mentality. Now what is the point here? It is so easy to see yourself as a victim if you are a highly sensitive man. After all, you probably are having or had a hard time with other boys at school or when you refused to fight back and might have been abused or ridiculed a lot because of it. While all the jerks were getting and dating the beautiful girls that you were interested in but probably too shy to ask out on a date, you were sitting there and after being ridiculed by the guys were even looked at strangely by some girls that went with the tenor of the class jerks. So you have read the great books by Elaine Aron, Ted Zeff and other writers and you have finally found yourself. Now many things make sense – it is your sensitivity, that is why you remember conversations better than your friends, that is why you can’t sleep well in a noisy environment, that is why you can’t seem to be content with a girl that is good looking – you need a deeper connection and some of your friends laugh at the fact that you always make dating so difficult. You might conclude that there are others out there like you – you are not the only one who has suffered. You are not the only one that is a victim. There are other victims too and together you might share your sufferings. Or Is There A Better Way? Now by all means, some HSM might have suffered more than others and if there serious trauma has occurred, by all means do I encourage people to go and get professional help by a psychotherapist to get a handle on lingering issues. But I am also convinced there is a better way. You see, I love all the books that have been written on the HSP topic. You name the authors, there is so much great work out there. And I have read every book I could get my hands on. Yet there is one persisting theme that has always left me a bit dissatisfied. The Problem with Coping Strategies Every tip that has been given on coping is useful and should be adhered. Be it earplugs, working from home instead of the office, avoiding rush hours, staying in quieter places and areas are all beautiful tips and have their value. But there is a missing step. Coping just seems like you need to cover up something that you have, like you have some kind of handicap that you need to overcome by going extra steps. But your sensitivity is not just a curse you have been given that you need to cope with in your life. And I believe that the current literature has focused too much on coping strategies and how to take into account your sensitivity, but not born the idea that your sensitivity can actually be something that you can really use and tap into. That is where I would like to focus more. You Have Suffered, But Are You A Victim? You see, it is hard to say that all is fine and nothing is a problem when you have suffered for years because of your sensitivity. In schools, in college, at the workplace, maybe also in partnerships. Frankly said there might have been many bad trials in your life because of your sensitivity. But to conclude that you are a victim of your sensitivity and can’t do anything about it is wrong and dangerous. It stunts you into always seeing yourself as weak and having to cope all the time. It keeps you from using what you have been given, which can truly be a gift. If you choose to make it that. I encourage you to let go of the victim mentality immediately. Don’t use all the methods out there to just clear your past and overcome the sufferings you have gone through. Yes, it is important to work them over and go through them. But there is also a point in your future where you want to be free from the sufferings of the past and feel better and especially empowered because of your sensitivity. Maybe it sounds like a stretch, but it is truly possible. And the necessary step is to let go of the victim mentality. Do everything you need to take your sensitivity into account and cope in a potentially overwhelming world. But also harbor and protect the precious idea in your mind that a day might come where you can live fully and happy exactly because you are a Highly Sensitive Man. Let’s celebrate together! -Chrisi
This is a thank-you post to state my warmest gratitude to the comments and support from Dr. Ted Zeff, Rick Belden, and many other visitors that have come to our website and also expressed their support for this community and website. Unfortunately I have not been able to dedicate as much time to this website as I would like to lately, but the response has been overwhelming for me and I want to express my deepest thank yous for everybody who has left a comment, sent me a mail, or expressed their voice in some other way. While the last months have been focused a lot on the implementation and integration as an HSM in my personal life, my thoughts to others on the same journey have not disappeared. Quite the opposite, I am extremely excited to keep on making this into a community for highly sensitive men to exchange themselves, to learn from each other and feel better and confident about their trait to turn it into a gift to share with others. You can find more great information about High Sensitivity on Dr. Ted Zeff’s website (author of “The HSP Survival Guide” and “The Strong Sensitive Boy”) or on Rick Belden’s website (author of “The Iron Man Outing”).
Currently on a beautiful trip in Venice, Italy I have gathered resources from what I read and experienced to make sure that you can travel in the best possible way in accordance to your high sensitivity. These 3 tips will show you exactly how.
- Stay outside of the city center. Very simple. Here in Venice, I walked the city center the last days. Just like in any other big international city, the city center is full of mass-consumerism tourists. Usually the city center is where all the main and classical sights are. That is also where the most people are. And that stays the same at night when you want to sleep.
- When booking, always check reviews on the keywords “quiet”, “calm”
This is another important step. If you are picking out online where you want to go and book an accomodation, then please be sure to check one that is quiet and calm. If these words are not in there, you might be in trouble. The people renting out their apartments know their value, and if they have a quiet room available then they will be sure to name them. Make sure you can get a good night’s rest, and you will be well able to enjoy a great time in your destination. – Schedule more days and less full. Another important tip that I can give you is to make your travel rather a few days longer but instead don’t have a jam-packed full schedule of 3 days of intense sightseeing. After the first day you will already be tired and the next days you can impossibly get to see and meet the city as much as you would like to. Remember, you don’t just want to see sights, you probably really want to get a feel for what the flair and the people of the city are like. If you can, take 1-2 more days in the destination town, and the first day just go there and walk around, have a nice and relaxing time and take one step at a time.
We are often confronted with the typical stereotype of what it means to be “masculine” in a certain society. Yet, not only are stereotypes always generalized oversimplifications, they are also not accurate for every person. And deviating from the stereotype does not make you wrong, weird, or mean that you have a psychological disorder (even though some people might want to make you believe that). As a highly sensitive men – HSM – you will probably have a tendency to take longer time to make decisions than most men do. That point hit home with me recently when I went on a longer holiday trip with one of my best friends, who is more of a fast decider. From every decision we made about taking a trip, where to go out or when to go for lunch, as well as affording big luxuries his speed of making decisions impressed me quite a bit. While I also felt the unease inside of me that felt rushed by him and not willing to decide so fast about bigger things. That reminded me of what I read about decision making in books from the authors Aron and Ted Zeff. And it combined with a lot of what I had read on “what women look for in a man”, “what makes a man masculine” and the topic of the “wimp” or “wussy” man that is not very attractive to women. I had learnt too much about myself, and high sensitivity that I knew taking longer to make decisions would be a mistake on my part; nor would I allow that trait to make me feel wrong or weird for some reason. Moreover, I had come too much in touch with myself to realize that this is the way that I make decisions. But then how does that tie in with HSM that want to attract a woman into their life, when it seems that some or many of the HSM traits are not attractive or counter to what women want in a man? So the point is that women will still look for you to make decisions and know what you want. But the smart women, the really worthy ones that we want to chose, are the ones that will not only allow us to take time and make fast decisions, in fact they will demand of us to take that time, for she knows that an important decision cannot be made that fast. Too fast and frequent decisions could – so the hypothesis – not show too much confidence, but potentially an oversimplified, mundane model of the world that can never live up to magnificient reality. Tips for making decisions:
- Use a rational approach.
- Write things down.
- Take the time to be alone when making the decision.
- When you have done all else, listen to your inner intuition, and then decide what feels right.
While it seems that being an HSM is often an obstacle to meeting women, it actually is a roadmap to attracting the right ones. As the metaphor of using an obstacle as a stepping stone. It is not in your way, but it leads the way and helps you step it. Since I am passionate about this topic, I will write more on the topic of chosing the right partner for an HSM in future posts. – Chrisi Brand