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The Cost of Sensitivity

“Get over it!” A sign of sensitivity – not! That is what I wrote yesterday in another summary of an article in the genre of self development articles. I think this week looks like turning out to be an examination of the topic of sensitivity. Through personal experiences, it is a subject that fascinates me.

You can view all the previous summaries in the series by clicking on this category link. And here is a link to my Personal Development page for your convenience.

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Today’s Self Development Article – The Cost of Sensitivity

Today’s article was written by Rachel Griffin. She posted it on Medium and I found it there under the same title The Cost of Sensitivity.

Favorite Quote from the Author In the Article

There isn’t one. I substitute my own quote on the subject of sensitivity.

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 Summary of the Article

Ms. Griffin deals with her own sensitivity in some detail in her article. She delves into her life history and is frank about this character trait of hers.

She tells us that the reason she is so sensitive is that “she is an empath to the extreme.” Then she came to realize that there is strength in sensitivity. Finally, she concludes that she is proud to be “an empath, a sensitive girl.”

Reading Time of the Article

3 minutes
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About the Author and Lesson(s) Learned From The Article

Rachel says this about herself in her bio on Medium – I write books. I read books. I wear bold lipstick and love fashion. I drink a totally reasonable amount of caffeine.

I learned this from the article that there are degrees of sensitivity. Rachel describes herself as an empath. Perhaps, there are also degrees of being an empath? And, exactly what is an empath?

My Take

My first reaction was to look up “empath.” It is a word I was not familiar with. Merriam-Webster could not help me. It listed empathy but of course I am familiar with that word.

Google gave me this definition at the top of the results page – noun, (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.

I don’t think the author is suggesting she has paranormal abilities.  The remainder of the results came from personal development type blogs and articles. It appears to be a label within the genre of personal development.

My belief is that the author is over-extending the use of this word (if it is a word) in applying it to her own sensitivity. One blogger in this field has this to say about the use of the word –

I was using the word empath to describe myself as highly sensitive and responsive to other people’s emotional states. I later discovered, however, that being a true empath means quite a bit more than that.

I recommend that you read that full article about what it really is to be an empath. I found it enlightening. It is a far better read than Rachel’s musings.

It’s also worthy of note that the blogger who wrote the article on empath is honest enough to declare that there is a hot debate as to whether there is such a thing as an empath. It may be another degree of sensitivity or hyper-sensitivity.


It’s an article that troubles me. I have difficulty with the innate integrity of the piece. For example, the author concludes by writing “I’m proud to be an empath, a sensitive girl.” I’m sorry Rachel, the two are not mutually inclusive. If there is such a thing as an empath then it is far more than simply being sensitive.

It sounds to me like being an empath may be classified as a mental disorder. If that is the case, then I find it strange that googling the word brings up no results in any medical or psychiatric journals or article.

Beware of mumbo-jumbo in the self development world!

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