The other day, a friend asked me if I think all people are sensitive. Yes. Yes. YES. When I talk about sensitivity, I’m simply talking about our ability to sense stimuli through our sensory systems. I’m NOT talking about any magical powers (although I do think our bodies are magic!). I don’t believe that any of us can truly know how another person is experiencing the world and their emotions, and assuming that we know is a violent boundary violation.
What I am talking about when I talk about sensitivity is sensory processing. EMOTIONAL PROCESSING IS ALSO SENSORY PROCESSING, because emotions are just sensations that we assign meaning to.
All humans have 8 sensory systems. Yes, 8 sensory systems (not just the 5 we usually talk about):
Visual System (sight)
Olfactory System (smell)
Auditory System (sound)
Gustatory System (taste)
Tactile System (touch)
Vestibular System (balance, motion, and spatial orientation)
Proprioceptive System (the body’s external awareness)
Interoceptive System (the body’s internal awareness)
Structurally, all of us are similar. We all have the same 8 sensory systems. What is NOT the same is how our unique sensory systems process the information that comes their way. What is NOT the same is the behaviors we develop to manage the incoming sensory information.
Some of us develop patterns of avoidance, some of us develop patterns of seeking out more sensation, and most of us develop a combination of both. Some of us need background noise to focus, some of us need complete silence. Some of us seek out fast car rides and skydiving adventures, and some of us avoid crowded malls and concerts. Because of nature, nurture, trauma, etc. our nervous systems and coping behaviors are all a little different.
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