Some people have a high tolerance for lying and falsehood. They can hang out around others who frequently share false information, deliberately or from ignorance, and it doesn’t seem to bother them. Either they don’t notice the falsehoods, or they aren’t much affected when they do notice.
I’m not one of those people. I used to be though. When I was younger I could hang around people who spewed nonsense left and right and be okay with it. That’s basically how I grew up, being taught lots of false religious ideas about how the world worked, only later to realize it was a pack of lies.
But just growing up in that kind of bubble didn’t make me sensitive to lying. If anything I think it made me less sensitive. Somewhere along the way, I developed numbness to lying. I could be in the presence of lying and falsehood, and it didn’t affect me much at all emotionally.
Going vegan, experimenting with raw foods, and doing lots of health-related detox significantly raised the sensitivity levels over time. I’ve written before about the many internal changes that going vegan caused, especially with respect to the heart-brain connection. Many senses and impressions became more sensitive as I made efforts to clean up my body.
I think fasting helped a little too – I’ve done a 17-day and a 40-day water fast – but that was late in the game for me. Fasting probably would have had a bigger impact if I’d done it much earlier, like during my 20s instead of my 40s.
There are some nice advantages to this heightened sensitivity. I never get writer’s block because I’m sensitive enough to always tune into an abundant flow of ideas. I’ve published something new to my blog every day this year, and it’s not even difficult. The ideas mostly share themselves, and I take dictation.
I’m also super happy in my relationship with Rachelle. I adore and appreciate her so much. Each day we spend together is just delightful. I can’t help but smile when I see her. It’s wonderful being extra sensitive to feelings of love and gratitude and getting to feel those at full volume. It makes it so much easier to enjoy a beautiful relationship, especially with another sensitive person. Because we’re so sensitive to our feelings and each other, we’re really good at caring for each other.
So I wouldn’t trade this sensitivity for the world. It has added so much beauty to my life. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing you appreciate till you experience it though.
These benefits make me watch my diet and health habits and not let myself stray too far. If I eat a lot of heavier foods for a while – which for me is too many grains and beans (and foods derived from them like tofu) and not enough fruits and veggies – I can feel the sensitivity declining. But at least I know how to get back on track.
Eating more raw foods always brings the sensitivity back up again. Yesterday I had two large green smoothies and some other raw foods. This included bananas, cherries, blueberries, clementines, spinach, kale, mixed greens, celery, and cucumber. I can feel the difference this morning. I feel happier than usual. Writing feels even easier than it normally does. The simpler and cleaner my diet is, even on a day to day basis, the less friction I experience mentally and emotionally.
Sensitivity to Lying
Here’s a potential downside though. I’ve become a lot more sensitive to lying, falsehood, and deceit than I was 30 years ago. Watching, listening to, or reading lies and false statements causes a palpable reaction in my body. I’m not in control of that reaction when it happens, except that I can prevent or disrupt it by sabotaging my body itself, like by eating lots of heavier foods.
Many people joked about drinking lots of alcohol during the election, which is an effective way to suppress emotions for those who are more sensitive. Of course if you overdo it, you may just be swapping some negative reactions for others.
I have a strong negative internal reaction every time I watch Donald Trump speak. The reason is simple. He lies constantly.
I don’t exactly know why my body reacts the way it does, but it does react. I feel emotionally disgusted. Sometimes I feel a bit nauseous. It’s like I just had a spell cast on me that’s about to make me vomit up some slugs.
My body reacts similarly in the presence of Trump supporters when they talk about him. Whether intentional or not, they always resort to sharing lies and falsehoods to justify their support. There’s just such a huge abandonment of truth in that space.
I like being around people who speak the truth, and Trump and his supporters just don’t. At least I’ve never encountered one who does. Trumpism and falsehood always seem to go hand in hand, along with insensitivity to lying.
Interestingly I didn’t have this reaction to seeing Trump speak before he got into politics. Erin and I would sometimes watch The Apprentice when we were together, and while Trump was often a bit of a jerk on that show, it just seemed like ego-based entertainment and posturing. It’s different when the lying is sociopathic and directly harmful.
Trusting Your Inner Senses
At first I did my best to tolerate these feelings. And then I questioned why I should keep doing that. Is that really a wise approach? The feelings weren’t going down. They grew stronger and louder as the consequences of such lying grew even stronger, like lots of people dying unnecessarily.
In addition to being sensitive to my own feelings and senses, I also feel sensitive to other people’s feelings, and those have been especially loud this year. I could feel a lot of stress in the air.
The majority of people that I connect with regularly are also disgusted by Trump and his rampant lying, especially friends who live outside the USA. There are a lot of other sensitive people out there too, and I think many of them are good at broadcasting their feelings without always realizing it.
I opted to start trusting my body more. Otherwise I’m too tempted to disrupt my health to tone down those inner signals, and I don’t like doing that. I trust that this sensitivity exists for a good reason, especially since it produces so many other benefits that I don’t want to sabotage.
When I say that Trump supporters make me nauseous, I’m being literal about that. I recognize that it may sound like an exaggeration to someone who isn’t familiar with this kind of sensitivity due to lack of personal experience. I think many vegans and raw foodists will likely have an easier time recognizing that I’m speaking the truth here if they’ve experienced similar changes in sensitivity from dietary improvements. This effect is described in detail in some books too, such as Raw Emotions by Angela Stokes.
If you know that eating heavier foods and drinking alcohol can dull your senses and emotions, is it such a stretch to consider that eating cleaner can swing you the opposite way? How would you feel after drinking six shots of liquor? Now imagine how you could feel if you could somehow remove six shots worth of disruption from your body, starting from what you think is sober and normal. So many other aspects of life become easier, but then you have to live in a world where a lot more people seem like they’re drunk – mentally foggy, confused about their lives and purpose, and emotionally numb. It’s always tempting to want to return to the fold, but you can’t unsee what you’ve seen.
When you’re very in tune with your emotions and your inner senses, it’s hard to act against them – sometimes a LOT harder. The question then becomes: How much are you willing to trust these signals?
Trusting the Sensitivity
I do feel it was the right choice to honor those feelings, which led me to do some extra social purging during the past few years. That felt better than the alternative of engaging with bullshit again and again.
Last week I joked that I had to pay extra to upgrade my Facebook block list to 2TB. While I can look back and appreciate some of those connections for what they were, I also honor my body’s signal when it’s time to move on.
I don’t regret it. It was the right choice for me.
What I didn’t realize was that I can’t fully honor these sensitive signals while also trying to numb myself to them in some areas. If I put loyalty to friends first, I always lose something of much greater value. I have to honor the truth first and let my social circle align with that. And plenty of people do. I’ve grown closer this year to some good friends who are very sensitive too, and there’s so much more depth and beauty in relationships with sensitive people than with relatively insensitive ones.
So this has never been about politics for me. Nor is it about character either. It’s actually about trust – trusting the sensitivity that can be challenging to hear but keeps bestowing surprising gifts.
Moving on is a big part of personal growth, and it’s often difficult. I notice that when I do this intelligently, it’s a move into greater trust – trust in myself, trust in reality, or trust in the universe.
This kind of trust is hard. It’s so easy to doubt yourself. It’s easy to doubt your inner signals. It’s easy to want to numb yourself. It’s hard to let yourself sense what you’re sensing, feel what you’re feeling, and let that guide you.