The marketing gurus say that stories are what people love, and that I should be chatty and charming and tell you lots about my life. This is not comfortable territory for me as an HSP coach or as an introvert, nor for many of the highly sensitive.
I’ve been an instructor for different kinds of classes for a couple of decades and have reservations about using a class or blog for personal stories from my own life or that of people I know. Here's why.
1. It’s hard to tell my story without telling part of someone else’s.
That someone else owns their story until they give me permission to share it. Establishing personal connections is valuable. At the same time, family, friends, neighbors, and former co-workers shouldn’t have to check regularly to see what I have written about them.
2. Client information is confidential. Period.
“I have a client who…” is not the way I should ever begin a sentence.
Telling someone's story and leaving out identifying details might not seem to be too bad, if I remember not to tell it differently next time. Eventually, it's possible to give out enough information that the individual is easy to identify. People love to follow the breadcrumbs, hoping to solve the mystery of who this might be. This kind of story-telling may be entertaining but it risks confidentiality.
3. Just having a success story doesn’t qualify me to teach.
As an instructor and an HSP coach, I need to be able to look at being an HSP from the perspective of many individuals, not just one perspective, my own. The more someone is like me, the more they will benefit from hearing my stories. The less like me, the smaller the benefit, if any, will be.
Sometimes, if I discuss a problem, some take it as an invitation to troubles talk, when I want to move to solutions talk.
4. There has been an explosion of “highly sensitive person” comments, blogs, and articles.
The story of a single individual includes their HSP trait plus many others totally unrelated to being highly sensitive. It is difficult to get a clear idea of what it means to be an HSP versus what it means to be that person.
Many of these posts are from people who have heard the term but are not fully familiar with the research. Some ignore the upside of being sensitive and focus only on HSP vulnerabilities or what they call “HSP symptoms.” As a result sensory processing sensitivity is being incorrectly defined in the minds of the public.
the concept [of sensitivity] has been taken up by a wide range of persons with various skills and education who wish to make a career of helping the highly sensitive. Many have shifted the meaning of sensitive slightly. For, example, some equate it with being disabled or else with extraordinary psychic powers.