Things seemed to be progressing in the direction I desired, albeit slowly and with frequent yellow flags, but nevertheless, I finally felt confident enough to share something more personal with her than our daily chitchat about our lives in and out of work.
She knew I was a writer and that I’d had a book of poetry published because I’d spoken about it during our many visits.
And I remained haunted by the same dilemma that had plagued me since childhood: How can I be as sensitive as I am and still be a man?
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Research tells us that high sensitivity, discerned from a pattern of observation before action, affects 15-20% of individuals of many species, including humans, and male and female in equal numbers.
Rick Belden, a poet, writes about the experience of being a highly sensitive person.
Prior experience with that sort of “help” from others tells me it doesn’t work at all.
That incident was a pretty good example of the state of my relationship with my own sensitivity as I moved into my early forties.
This was a possibility that had never been presented to me before, not in person and certainly not in the culture at large, and it was the first step in beginning to own my sensitivity, not just as a valuable element but a element of my masculine identity. It’s an ongoing challenge to see my sensitivity as an asset rather than a weakness to be feared and hidden from others.