Highly Perceptive

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

I’ve known many highly perceptive people in my lifetime and I have admired their ability to pick up on elements in circumstance – the subtle nuances – that I often overlook. I have also empathized with the challenges that come with this gift, that is, the self-doubt, self-righteousness, hubris and perceived vulnerability that frequently come up when they see and feel things that other “normal” people around them don’t.

The self-doubt is understandable as such people are often the minority in the crowd if you’ve ever been a minority, you know how it can wear on your self-confidence, especially if you are being targeted for your differing views. The irony of the matter is that highly perceptive people who tend to doubt their perceptions tend to be more accurate than they might imagine.

On the other hand, those perceptive people who become self-righteous and excessively proud of their abilities tend to be less accurate than they think. They beat others over the head with their superior vision and they start to make mistakes. I imagine the hubris distorts their vision and disturbs their heart to the point that even their feeling nature becomes clouded.

I imagine that most people who are possessed of a finer sensitivity initially feel vulnerable and “beat up” by the world around them. The coarser elements in people and circumstance stand out and appear more significant to them and they tend to go one of two directions when faced with such feelings: 1) they withdraw from their perceptions and in essence harden their hearts or 2) they start to take things too personally and collapse under the weight of their perceptions.

In both situations, the value of the gift is lost to the world. Fortunately, however, there is a third option. You can continue to use your gift for the good of humanity by deliberately cultivating a purity of heart. You do so by avoiding the twin evils of arrogance and victimization. Both are impurities that distort the lens of perception; the former constrains to insensitivity while the latter leads to over-sensitivity.

Identifying yourself with the victim state is just as a choice as declaring yourself to be “above” everyone else. They are two sides of the same coin. One way out of both of these is to remember your sense of humor. It is just as important a gift as your perception as it can neutralize the poisons of arrogance and victimization. Sometimes a little well-placed levity can give you the altitude required to gain a new perspective on the matter.

Go ahead…laugh a little!

5 thoughts on “Highly Perceptive

  1. Colin

    That feeling that you get when you are upset, the troubled heart, makes it really tough to see accurately what the next steps should be. I have found that nothing resets it better than a little levity. As for the people that are naturally perceptive, I think for their gift to remain naturally pure and accurate, they also need to remain generous with others in their judgements, always leaving room in their hearts for people to change. This helps with both the arrogant and the victims. When you don’t pigeon-hole someone, you don’t really live in the black and white world that you need to live in to be arrogant or be a victim.


  2. Joshua

    It’s certain that we have all been thankful at some point for some well placed levity, to pull us out of the array of less than favorable elements of character that can emerge. Knowing this, it is our responsibility to use this gift to the greater advantage of others, that they may gain the necessary perspective also.
    Greatly appreciate you bringing this to point,
    Your timing is impeccable as always.


  3. Scarlett

    Wow, what an perceptive view on perception! Humor is such a delight, as long as it’s meant to uplift. Sometimes, the perceptive person who gets beat up by the world or takes things too personally becomes cynical and sarcastic using humor to lash out and gain the upper hand on those around them.


  4. David R

    It seems to me that we are each built with perceptive abilities that match our particular purposes. There is a broad range of purpose and therefore a broad range of perceptive ability. To be able to blend our particular perceptiveness with that of others, to be able to provide balance and assistance without assuming that one’s own perspective is either rightly dominant or even always accurate – this is what allows a whole and balanced picture to emerge.

    Put simply, each one’s perception and perspective has unique value, but not as something isolated. Furthermore, we can and should continue to develop the keenness of our perception, but not to the exclusion of the ability to blend and work together on a team basis. If we are genuinely perceptive oursleves, we will always be appreciative of the perceptive capabilities of others. Love and appreciation oil the machinery of shared perception and function!


  5. strawberryfield

    Love this post. I’m not one of the gifted but I have the pleasure of having a couple as friends. Their ability to assist seems to be in direct proportion to the “arms length” the situation is from their own heart. Thanks for the insight.


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