Being Highly Sensitive In An Insensitive World and Environment

thehighlysensitivepersonI do not remember being this highly sensitive — as a child, an adolescent, or even as a younger adult.

In fact, it wasn’t until I returned to the Philippines in 2010 after my four-year sojourn in Northern California, that it dawned on me just how incredibly sensitive I am!

I first came across Elaine Aron’s book, “The Highly Sensitive Person” in 2006/2007.

I was browsing through the library at the Unity Church in Pleasant Hill where I was residing. I borrowed it, read it and returned it after a few days.

Sparks didn’t fly. No fireworks. No huge aha moments.

Sure, I resonated with the material — slightly only though. It wasn’t as if it gave me an answer to what I had long been looking for — not that I was looking for any at the time.

Of late though, it is giving me numerous light bulb moments.

Me? Highly sensitive? No way!

Me? Not able to stand the noise? But I am was the one with a loud voice!

If you ask anyone who has known me, be it as a child or an adult, being highly sensitive is something that wouldn’t even find its way in my list of traits and characteristics. These people would, not surprisingly, question or argue. Moreover, I would, too. I did.

You see, my being highly sensitive is something that I’m only in recent years coming to terms with. I’m only now embracing — and proudly at that — my being a highly sensitive person!

Initially, I viewed it as part of my transition and evolution. People change. I have been taking every step to raise my vibrational frequency. Being sensitive, therefore, is simply a result of my endeavor.

Yet, am I simply going back to who and what I truly am? Was it a trait that I rejected because it isn’t something that conforms to society’s norms? Might I have simply reached a point in my life when I no longer wanted to pretend? That it simply was no longer possible to put on a mask? That it was simply too painful….too draining….too energy-depleting?

If that were so, how did I do it? How did I cope?

Oh, I’ve asked myself the very same questions. And I’m amazed how I was able to survive those years — decades — of pretense!

But I know what helped me cope.


I smoked a lot; I drank a lot. And I mean, drank A LOT. I could even out-drink men!

I had my first taste of cigarette and alcohol at a young age of 14. I wasn’t simply curious or being a ‘normal’ teenager. I was rebelling and escaping — but I will reserve the details for future posts.

I started regularly smoking — as a daily habit consuming at least one pack a day — when I was 16. Alcohol drinking didn’t come far behind. (Oh and it made it so much more convenient that the Philippines, my country of origin, does not strictly implement laws restricting selling cigarettes and alcohol to minors.)

And it has dawned on me only recently that drinking alcohol was my way of numbing myself — my senses.  I drowned myself in alcohol to drown out all the noise and the chaos — literally and otherwise, inside and out.

It was much easier for me to quit smoking. Immediately after my pivotal thyroidectomy in 1998, I quit. Cold turkey, yay! 😀 I didn’t experience any withdrawal syndrome. And I haven’t had any craving! Woohoo! 😀

Giving up alcohol is a whole different story.

It has been a major challenge for me to stop at having only one glass of wine. (Merlot was my favorite, yum!) I even justified my alcohol consumption — which was truly excessive — that drinking red wine is good for the heart. Sure — if it’s only one or two glasses a day. My conviction was even strengthened when I read one of Carolyn Myss’ books where she wrote that having up to six or seven glasses of red wine a week is ‘healthy.’

But I could never stop at one glass of red wine! One glass would easily, effortlessly end up to be one bottle!!!

I’ve been ‘sober’ for three years now. I did have a couple of relapses — one in 2012 and one in 2013. (I wasn’t able to finish the whole bottle — two glasses max with a terrible hangover the following morning!)

Thankfully though, I haven’t had any desire to drink since — a major feat considering I’m in a place — beach and resort — where there’s simply too much drinking going on!


So, why is my being highly sensitive something that I’m looking into quite intently now?

Because it is a major factor in how I’m adjusting and adapting — not easily admittedly — to my living situation at the resort where I’m currently staying. I had a major hiccup with one of the staff last month which I blogged about extensively beginning here. (I came back here in early January after a two-week respite in the nearest major city with the intention of regrouping, but my time there even caused me more stress! I wrote about that here.)

I’m now in the process of gaining clarity on what to do moving forward with my living situation.

I’m deciphering how much of my discomfort here is because of my high sensitivity.

I’m discerning if the difficulties and challenges that I’ve been facing — being highly sensitive in an insensitive world and environment — is, in fact, the growth opportunity being presented to me by my living situation in this resort.

Could it be that wherever I go, I will face the same challenges of being misunderstood and not accorded respect (aka ‘judged’ and feel not valued enough), in part, as a result of my being highly sensitive?

Am I being given the chance to learn how to not just survive, but thrive and create my Heaven and Haven, despite the chaos in my midst?

If so, how? And where? Here — still? If not here, where?

More unknowns……

Unknowns that, not only do I trust, but I know will, in their own time, be made known.

😀 😀

# # #

Copyright © 2011-2015 Nadine Marie V. Niguidula, M.A. and Aligning With Truth


About NadineMarie (Aligning With Truth)

I find much joy & fulfillment in sharing my experiences & insights through writing & blogging. I created the site, ALIGNING WITH TRUTH as a virtual center for healing where I share my thoughts & reflections, as well as the tools & resources that are helping me as I move along the path of awakening & coming home to the Self. As I live in joy & align with Truth, I AM shining my Light which is how I contribute to the planetary & humanity ascension. Brightest & Magical Blessings!!! Om Shanti. Namaste...💗💖💜Nadine Marie💜💖💗
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12 Responses to Being Highly Sensitive In An Insensitive World and Environment

  1. I enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing. I’ve always been pretty sensitive to unnatural things, other people’s smoke, perfumes etc, and yes it’s hard to fit in socially as I don’t fancy going to parties in people’s homes where they smoke indoors, but these days people do seem to understand at least. I did drink quite a lot when younger, but can’t really handle much alcohol at all these days, so it seems I may have got more sensitive perhaps because of what I put into my body then. If I’m dancing though, I can still process it fine, and I am quite happy not having much anyway, I’ve got other priorities, like writing, and healing, so I prefer to keep a clear head as much as possible, but I can still let rip on a dance night. Things like perfumes and many household cleaning products are actually really toxic to us, so I respect my body for letting me know to avoid them!


    • You’re most welcome Julia, and thank you for reading and sharing your story as well. 🙂

      Like you, I also cannot be exposed to chemicals, perfumes, dust, and other toxic substances. I have allergic rhinitis. I knew about my condition even when I was still smoking but ignored it until it took a toll on my health — as is the usual story. Being around smokers is now a no-no — has been for several years now. My health and well-being has been my top priority. Much as I love and miss the taste of red wine — not the hangover — I know that because of all that I’ve done to detox and cleanse my system and raise my vibration, my body simply can no longer accept alcohol or anything toxic. And I’m totally happy and at peace with that — I’ve had more than my fair share! 😀

      Thanks again for visiting & reading & commenting! 🙂

      Blessed be. ❤ ❤ ❤ .


  2. candidkay says:

    Oh my goodness! I have this book in my book basket, awaiting a read. I’ve always been highly sensitive–the good and the bad of it. Thank you for the nudge–I need to get to this one!


  3. Shawna says:

    Thank you Nadine for sharing. Gosh, I love how the universe works. I am learning a lot on being highly senstive, detoxing, raising my vibration, being more assertive, etc. and you what you share makes so much sense. I’ve really been enjoying reading your blog. 🙂

    I’m having light bulbs go off. I think I have been numbing myself all of these years smoking and drinking too and my angels are urging me to stop that. I work and live in a very harsh environment and that has been my escape, even Facebook here latey has been an escape for me. It’s so hard to be sensitive in a highly insensitve world. And maybe like you I am learning how to thrive in the chaos, not just survive but I need to learn how too without the use of other toxic things.

    I just bought Doreen Virtue’s book on Earth Angel Detox and I’m hoping that will help me and I’ve been praying and asking for help to release these toxicities in my life. And the book I’m going to read after that is her new book on Assertiveness for Earth Angels.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and allowing us to share ours.

    Love & Light
    Blessed Be,


    • I’m so happy you resonate with my journey! 🙂 It always makes it less challenging knowing we’re not alone.

      I can completely empathize with the difficulty in releasing the toxicities Shawna — destructive patterns, unhealthy habits and all. I can’t even begin to tell you what I’ve had to do to kick my habit of drinking — rituals, affirmations, visualizations, etc. Name it, I did it, whew!

      I don’t mean to discourage you with what I just said — it’s meant to convey to you that I totally, totally resonate and relate with the challenge!

      And we may not be ‘succeeding’ right away with what we’ve initially set to accomplish, but let us not be too hard on ourselves and overlook the fact that we have, in fact, taken steps and continue to take whatever steps are necessary for our healing and recovery.

      The biggest hurdle is overcoming our refusal to admit (aka, being in denial — like I was for the longest time) that there is a situation that needs to be addressed. We cannot change something that we don’t believe needs to be changed. Admitting and acknowledging — truly, truthfully, unequivocally — that’s the most difficult step. Anything after that is much easier. So, yay for our efforts! 😀

      Having said that, may you take heart that the steps that you’re taking are Divinely-guided all the time! You go girl! 😀

      I thoroughly enjoyed Doreen Virtue’s “Assertiveness for Earth Angels.” I’m sure you will too! 🙂

      Thank you for joining me in my journey Shawna! Blessed be. ❤ ❤ ❤


  4. Grace says:

    Ive grown a very thick skin over the years to protect myself…..a survival adaptation :-). One of the biggest challenges to being a HSP is learning to distinguish what is “mine” and what is “others”,,,,many times, especially where addiction is involved, our boundaries need some propping up. At least, in my case. To live amongst the world and still be tender and open is a challenging proposition, for sure.


    • Distinguishing what is ‘mine’ and ‘others’ is also one of my biggest challenges. I haven’t quite mastered it yet.

      “To live amongst the world and still be tender and open is a challenging proposition.” — Indeed. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Grace. Blessed be. ❤ ❤ ❤


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