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Are You Too Sensitive?

Do you take things too personally? Overanalyze the situation? Feel defensive? Then you are almost certainly among the group classified as Highly Sensitive People.

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Fifty thousand years ago, an HSP would have been happily cocooned in her comfortably appointed cave (from which she ventured only when the coast was clear). Contemporary life, however, is all about being forced out of our caves, which means exposure to the elements. As a psychotherapist friend remarked to me recently, "Once upon a time, HSPs would have been the safest people on the planet, and now they have to see someone like me to deal with modern society."

Helen Kirwan-Taylor is an American writer living in London. Her piece on the murder of her sister appeared in the February 2010 issue.

Originally published on November 16, 2010

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