Highly Sensitive People Can Change The World — If We Let Them

Highly Sensitive People Can Change The World — If We Let Them

Why it's dangerous to devalue empathy and compassion
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Starting in the 1970s, psychologists began assigning the trait of “codependent” to patients whom they believed possessed a self-destructive desire to please others. This construct is very reminiscent of experiencing abuse in relationships, as it pinpoints the susceptibility of one’s emotional state to external influence as the sole reason for distress in one’s life. An issue I find with the idea of codependency as a diagnosable personality disorder is that it casts a negative light on victims of emotional abuse. Rather than celebrating a person’s willingness to exude love and kindness, the notion that codependent individuals “care too much” demeans them while excusing perpetrators of emotional abuse. Emotionally abusive people already have the upper hand in terms of the relationship’s power play. Therefore, placing the burden of the relationship’s failure on the victim by declaring their “codependency” reinforces societal tolerance of emotional abuse. This leads us, as a culture, to devalue traits such as empathy and compassion, while rewarding those who possess cold, manipulative attitudes.

Typically, women embody the more benevolent characteristics of the ones listed above. This could be an indirect result of many western social structures: pigeonholing women into caretaker roles, the feminization of emotional literacy, equating fierce individualism with professional success (which is inexplicably linked to masculinity), etc. Visible links exist between how we regard empathy and the careers which involve its application. For example, teachers, though integral to curating the young minds of our nation, are often underpaid and under-appreciated. Why? Well, the field just happens to be dominated by women. The same phenomenon pervades in the sphere of social activism or humanitarianism. From caretakers in nursing homes to the vast network of volunteers propping up schools, churches, community centers, and nonprofit organizations, women are on the frontline. As my mother has told me, “The world runs on the unpaid work of women.”

Naturally, those who respond emotionally to human suffering make perfect activists. They understand the importance of putting their own needs aside for the greater good. Combined with a dose of pragmatism, organization, charisma, and vision, these people are able to lead movements and create progress. This hypothetical personality is pretty admirable, if you ask me. Yet, too often are these people referred to as naive, impractical, or overly emotional. I would know. I’ve always been an idealist; I’ve always been an activist. My worst nightmare, (or “personal hell” for the Meyer’s Brigg’s INFJ personality type) is a world in which all people are subjected to the rule of an unjust, oppressive force without anyone to advocate on their behalf. I identify as female, and fit 100% into this profile that I’ve introduced. I’m told that I’m wrong for letting my passion for change guide me. But why is it right to promote selfishness above improving life for everyone?

I discovered one of my favorite quotes from a Chipotle bag: “We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naive to work toward a better one.” -Steven Pinker

Apathy helps one achieve a momentary feeling of superiority. Passion and relentless caring, on the other hand, can help you accomplish something so much bigger than yourself.

Our manmade gender hierarchy has pitted everyone, even women, against the idea of embracing feminine qualities. Since we’ve shoved genuine concern for others into that corner along with an affinity for pink, it’s been difficult to convince people that it’s okay to let your guard down and show your soft side. However, it’s crucial to strike the correct balance between selflessness and self-preservation. Women have been conditioned to feel responsible for the needs of others. Mothers forego sleep to tend to their children, wives sacrifice pleasure to inflate their husbands’ sexual egos, and so on. Along with our ability to feel vividly, we are blessed - and cursed - with the ability to detect and, subsequently, serve the emotional needs of those around us. Maybe that’s where the idea of codependency came from, the thought that some only know they are loved or valued when they feel they are needed. I reject the idea that codependency is the root cause of women’s interpersonal issues. Rather, I believe that the trouble lies in the inability of others to accommodate highly sensitive people.

The “highly sensitive” person is one so in tune with the emotions and needs of others that they neglect their own self-care. They are sweet, generous souls who want nothing more than to leave the world better off than when they entered it. We could all do well to assist in their efforts, first by acknowledging their emotional nature as something beautiful and unique. We must try to shift our cultural values away from materialism, personal wealth, and individual progress, to a holistic understanding of what progress really looks like. In order to do this, we cannot afford to belittle our instruments of change for having larger hearts.

Secondly, we need to remind them that they must take care of themselves in order to help anyone else. Activists, like myself, often fear that we’re not doing enough for our causes. This is especially relevant to highly sensitive college students, who sometimes care more about meeting external expectations (like getting good grades, volunteering, and attending social obligations) than self-nurturing. This leads to a dismal lack of sleep, mental health concerns, physical illness, and spiritual dearth. Everyone should make sure that the highly sensitive person in their life is eating well, resting when need be, and addressing all their personal needs --whether psychological or tangible.

Lastly, we need to build up women. We can make sure female spaces are positive and inclusive, that women are serving as role models for each other, and that the female figures in our lives all communicate feminist values. But we also need to have men expressing their support for highly sensitive women. The next time some guy says a woman is “crazy,” when she may just be emotional for a perfectly valid reason, call him out on it. And the next time anyone compares someone of a different gender to a woman as a means of insulting them, shut it down. This person could be highly sensitive, which is something worth celebrating. Highly sensitive people have the potential to positively change the world. Let’s make sure we do whatever we can to enable them.

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I'm An 18-Year-Old Female And I Will Never Be A Feminist

Honestly, I'd rather be caught dead than caught calling myself a modern-day feminist.
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"A man told me to have a good day... I'm triggered." How ludicrous does that sound? Tune in because that is the extent of modern day feminism.

Sure, I think boys are stupid and that I'm probably better than 90% of the male population, but that doesn't make me a modern-day feminist. Now I believe that woman should stand up for themselves, and Golding's quote: "I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been," is by far one of my favorite quotes... but modern day feminism is not something I want to be associated with.

I'm all for "anything you can do I can do better," and "We can do it!" but realistically speaking in some situations, that isn't feasible. As an 18-year-old woman who works out regularly, and is stronger than the average female, I couldn't carry a 190-pound man back to a safe zone after he was shot on the front line of a war even if I tried. It is not anatomically possible for a grown woman to be as strong as a fully developed male.

Reality check: Men and women are not equal.

They are not physically equal, they are not mentally equal. Modern-day feminism is equality between the two genders, but corrupt and on steroids. I support what feminism used to be. I support women who work hard and have goals and ambition... not girls who hate men and stomp around with no shirts on to piss off the public. Feminism has developed into a polluted teaching that young men and women are plunging into.

We are built dissimilarly.

The human brain is literally an organ that is sex oriented. There is a cognitive difference, that singlehandedly destroys gender equality.

I will not spend my time running a revolution against anyone who likes Donald Trump. I am not going to binge watch Trump's twitter in an effort to start some leftist gob of drama. I refuse to be part of this head hunt to attack all Republicans on the newest Instagram post made about how feminism is stupid. I do not hate men, and society would crash and burn without the successful men and women who work together to create what we call the United States of America.

Why, you ask? Why are the 15-25 year olds of our society clinging to feminism? They are hopping on the rapidly growing bandwagon where all the hipsters, feminists and Trump haters reside. It's "cool" to hate Donald Trump. Twitter is a world of liberalism, hatred and fake love towards all. Social media is where this generation is living — and modern-day feminism brews there.

We need to keep separation in the household within roles.

We must raise our children to do what they are best at rather than trying to do something they are incapable of just to prove an irrelevant point.

Women must stand up for what they believe in and be strong in their shoes, while not getting so caught up in what your modern day feminist says she thinks is right.

We cannot let this briskly changing society sway us away from what is going to keep the world working precisely.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Joe Mullins

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President Trump's Government Shutdown Is A Threat To National Security

National parks are unstaffed, but not closed. Americans can visit them without paying an entrance fee, but it is "go at your own risk."

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Just as Americans were settling in for the holiday season, President Trump intiated a shutdown of the federal government by rejecting any budget that did not include funding for a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. There is a four-way wrangle between, Mr. Trump, senators who are for the wall, senators who detest the wall, and senators who are clueless about what to do next. About 380,000 of federal government employees(civil servants and government contractors) are on unpaid leave while another 420,000 essential security personnel (FBI agents, Border Patrol, Secret Service agents, airport security agents, etc.) are working without pay. The shutdown began on December 22, 2018, and is still continuing in mid-January, 2019.

Mr. Trump's is asking for over $5.6 billion of homegrown American taxpayer dollars to complete the wall. Neither Mexico nor Central America countries have indicated any desire to pay for it, another promise Trump campaign on. Mr. Trump states that "Drugs, terrorists, violent criminals, and child traffickers are entering our country" with consequences of "drug debts, violent murder, gang violence." Of course, we cannot allow that to happen. From his "state of emergency" and "TEXT BORDER" advertisement, it looks like America is in a war zone.

But are we?

A concrete or steel wall might be practical if there were a stamped of drug dealers, gangs, and violent criminals charging toward the U.S.-Mexico border. The only war zone there is on the U.S. Senate floor, where neither party nor the president can come to a conclusion about border funding. President Trump is also pushing for the establishment of the United States Space Force to keep our country safe. The issue is that if the country can't even maintain a ground force at the southern border, how can there be a Space Force?

On a more serious note, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be missing their first paycheck. While raising the minimum wage is debatable, receiving no pay is not. This past Christmas, many federal employees, and their families had to cut back on Christmas gifts and spending in general as they face financial hardship. That's not even the worst part. The 420,000 essential security personnel are forced to work for no pay because America cannot be kept safe without them. Recently, close to 21% of TSA employees, who work in airport security, have called in sick. The men and women who work in airport security usually earn an average starting salary of $15.50 an hour. Airports now have fewer screeners and security agents, which entails shutting down security lines or conduct more brief security checks. Longer lines will lead to more frustrated passengers and lateness for those traveling for business purposes. It is very likely that airports will move towards looser security check since impatient crowds of people aren't going to sit still. It is also possible that more people will avoid flying and drive instead-if the route is driveable.

National parks are unstaffed, but not closed. Americans can visit them without paying an entrance fee, but it is "go at your own risk." Bathrooms are unmaintained or closed, there are no rangers to ask for guidance or help, and few if no one to call in an emergency.

The FDA is affected by the shutdown, meaning food safety inspections will be conducted even less frequently, which will increase one's risk of foodborne illness, especially the elderly, those with weak immune systems and younger children.

While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is still in operation, but the staffing is down to 45 percent, which will reduce their capability to detect and prevent cyber security threats. These individuals already overworked, and not paying them would only decrease their morale, further lowering productivity. DHS was also received one of the lowest ranks in the best places to work in the government, which can lower prospects for seeking new employees to fill vital roles in government cybersecurity.

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