Violent negative demands

So much to love about CS Lewis, and when I read such things as this, I smile and I “get” it (from the chapter titled Light and Shade in Surprised by Joy, which is really a very interesting chapter:

At the same time I now see that my view was closely connected with a certain lop-sidedness of temperament. I had always been more violent in my negative than in my positive demands. Thus, in personal relations, I could forgive much neglect more easily than the least degree of what I regarded as interference. At table I could forgive much insipidity in my food more easily than the least suspicion of what seemed to me excessive or inappropriate seasoning. In the course of life I could put up with any amount of monotony far more patiently than even the smallest disturbance, bother, bustle, or what the Scotch call kurfuffle. Never at any age did I clamour to be amused; always and at all ages (where I dared) I hotly demanded not to be interrupted.

I did this test to see whether I was a Highly Sensitive Person recently. Apparently if you score over 14 you are highly sensitive, and even being fairly reluctant I scored 20. Oh well. And some of it rang very true (like my extreme aversion to watching violence – believe it or not I haven’t even finished watching the latest version of Les Miserables, which I kept stopping because I thought it was violent). I guess it is good to be aware of your points of difference.


  • The HSP test is the one personality test I don't like. Probably because of the person who suggested I take it. He makes HSP his ticket to avoid anything difficult (not violent movies but long work meetings – very convenient) and I prefer to get out there and have skills to cope.

    But also I think the questions are kind of vague and leading, at least they seemed so in the one I was sent. Like the one there about having a rich complex inner life. Everyone has a complex inner life, I would have thought. But I don't know a lot about it, maybe it is a very valid thing and an excellent test.

  • No, I think you are right. I didn't put a whole lot of stock in that test, and am not going to go around calling myself a "highly sensitive person". It seems to be a thing that introverts have a more complex inner life, but it is very subjective as everyone likes to think they have a complex inner life, and how can you really tell? And I do agree on the developing skills to cope. I am probably a shy person by nature, and I do find it hard to walk up and talk to certain people in the middle of crowds etc, but I like to think I've overcome most of it (e.g. talking to new people at church – no-one has an excuse not to try I say).

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