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Highly Sensitive People
Know your Stage of Awareness

Stages of Cultural Awareness & Acceptance

The following definitions are from Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1996.

The examples following the definitions may help us to rethink what we have been taught, what we have internalized and what we might do differently when it comes to being a Highly Sensitive Person.

Stage 1: Disparage
To belittle, demean, ridicule, discredit

(HSPs are weak, irritable, inferior, fearful, too emotional, too nervous.)

Stage 2: Deny
To refuse to recognize or acknowledge

(You're too sensitive, you need to toughen up, bite the bullet, suck it up.)

Stage 3: Acknowledge
To admit to be real or true; to recognize the existence of different needs and ways of being

(Yes...your needs and mine are different ... help me to understand you, so I can help you to understand me.)

Stage 4: Affirm
To state or assert positively

(HSPs have a unique way of being in the world, we have a more finely tuned central nervous system, and we process things deeply and purposefully.)

Stage 5: Promote
To further, advance, or exalt; put in a higher position

(HSPs are not "better" than non-HSPs, nor are we superior...
HSPs have unique gifts, talents, and skills and much to contribute to the world around us, our families, our workplaces, relationships, etc.)

From: Dr. Evonne Hedgepeth, Ph.D., "What Does It Really Mean to 'Affirm' Versus 'Promote'" - a handout used in cultural diversity training. Modified for HSPs by Jacquelyn Strickland

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