It’s time to take a stand on sensitivity, sexuality and religion

by Caroline van Kimmenade

This huge topic has been on my mind for months now. Some things take longer to verbalise than others. Warning, this is less of an article, and more of a rant!

What is interesting is that, when you create something – anything at all – it starts to get a life of its own. People start to own it for themselves.

In my case, a lot of people resonate with -what they think – The Happy Sensitive stands for. Unfortunately, some people take it to mean things that are pretty much the opposite of what I ever intended.

How did that happen? Well, it happens all the time, everywhere, with everything.

  • We see something we like and stop questioning or investigating further, we just assume it is what we think it is.
  • We see something we don’t like but just ignore it and pretend it’s not there.
  • We want something to be a certain way so badly that we just -in our mind- make it into that thing.

So the irony is that as I keep sharing things that I believe are important – and helpful – to share, some people have responded outraged with words like “I AM a Happy Sensitive… and what you are doing / saying / talking about is wrong / disrespectful / crazy etc”

So some people have internalised what I am about to the point of saying “That is SO me!” and at the same time, they attack me because they had an idea of what I’m about and it no longer fits.

Suddenly they see that it’s not what they thought it was. So they say that I don’t know what I’m doing at all and that they are now the authentic “owners” of what it means to be a happy sensitive.

So, who knows, 5 years from now there might be websites popping up all over the place with names like: / / / /

And all these people will end up with competing ideas of what being happy and sensitive is all about… but agreeing on the fact that they are the ONLY ones who got the “true” meaning. (Is this a weird dystopian remake of Plato’s Cave or what?)

Pfffff. Whatever.

The cool thing about the online space is that if you don’t like something, you can stop reading it, you can unsubscribe. If you have something to say, you can start your own blog. It’s the ultimate version of free speech: we all get to choose what we say and who we listen to.

What we don’t get to do is try to prescribe what others should or shouldn’t be saying (unless it’s plain illegal)

Some people who got on my newsletter list seemed to miss the point on that completely. Sadly.

So anyway, I thought I’d clarify some things I haven’t said in so many words before. Things which I take to be pretty self-evident. I decided to publish this as a blog post so that hopefully, whomever needs this clarification will see it before they sign up to get more info from me.

If you disagree with the things below then you best unfollow me. (For the few VIP jackasses out there: sending hatemail and then “requesting” to be unsubscribed is narcissistically insane. All newsletters have an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. Mine do, other people’s do as well. It’s required for anyone who writes a newsletter. Click it. On Facebook, you can unfollow and unlike a page. Really, unfollowing people digitally is really easy, no need to request room service and imported grapes to make it happen).

So yeah, being sensitive is not about being a VIP jackass. Some people really don’t get that. They think that being sensitive is the same as being entitled to all kinds of special things right away.

I know that means different things to different people, so let me share some recent examples:

  • Sending unnecessary hatemail ending with “please unsubscribe me” (see above).
  • Expecting email responses within 24 hours, always. – Yeah, never mind I have time off and other clients. So no, not happening.
  • Sending me a skype message at midnight saying “can we do a quick call now?”. Nope, we can’t.
  • Sending a long email about how much you respect my work and how much you believe that someone as exceptional as you should surely get a significant discount on my biggest coaching programme (because obviously, you have bills and other priorities, while I live on love and light alone).

To most people following my posts, these are obvious “I can’t believe someone did that!”. Yet to some, they are “normal requests”. So just putting that out there to clarify. (Do I really need to do that? Apparently, yes. Sigh.)

Because… being entitled is not what I teach at all. When you learn to really own and honor your sensitivity, you’ll be less of a bother to other people. Sure, you’ll have your “it’s a little bit out there” request from time to time just because that unusual thing makes all the difference in the world for you (no problem!), but you’ll know how to do it in a way that can even make someone feel good for helping you out.

If you find yourself running around telling other people how they should behave and how they should treat you and that you’re sensitive and you expect this and that… something is off.

Of course, if you have people in your life that are really narcissistic, they’ll end up feeling bothered by you (because you stop taking their crap) but that’s a different thing.

Ultimately, being a happy sensitive – in my mind – is all about learning to take really good care of yourself. That means you don’t depend on what other people do or don’t do for you: you know how to respectfully ask for what you need. You know how to take the needs of others into account. And if your needs aren’t and can’t be met, you’re willing to get them met yourself / in a different way. In other words, you respect yourself and others and you take responsibility.

On what coaching is…

Another thing a few people apparently get confused by is that they seem to think that my job as a coach is to give endless attention, head-nodding and overall “you’re so right and THEY are so wrong!”. Uhm, that’s not what coaching is.

You sign up for results when you sign up for coaching. That means that if your own issues are getting in the way, I will be looking for a way through. First gently, and if that doesn’t work, I will lay it out for you in a way that you can’t avoid looking at it anymore. Why? Because in the end, when it really comes down to it, I care much more about whether you get results, than about whether you like me in the moment, or at all.

On religion…

Philosophy-wise, I believe that everyone should believe and do what works for them… within limits.

I used to not take a public stand on anything religious at all but over time I’ve seen that there are some things that are just incompatible with the “choose what works for you” essentials that I hold dear.

You see, there is no way to be pro everyone doing anything. Some people will do their own thing in a way that lets other people be who they are. No problem.

Other people believe that for them to be who they are, and to get their needs met, they need to meddle with what other people are and aren’t allowed to do and be in their own private lives. You can see that’s a problem.

So in terms of religion, I take a practical stance. Religion to me is a like a spiritual diet. I know that pragmatic approach offends some people (those people are free to unfollow me right away). Like diets, I don’t believe there is one right diet. Some people swear by paleo. Others had miraculous breakthroughs with green juicing. The key is: it’s food, it’s supposed to nourish you and keep you healthy. Do what nourishes you and keeps you healthy. Some recipes have been passed down for generations. You swear by your grandmother’s pea soup. That’s fine. Honor your roots, follow what feels meaningful. Just know that other people have similar reasons for doing things differently.

When I first became a vegetarian (which I no longer am b.t.w.) other vegetarians often tried to pull me aboard their campaign car for the “everyone should be a vegetarian” speech. I’ve never believed that. Meat just didn’t agree with me. It was a personal choice. End of story.

I believe the same for religion. There are so many ways to feel connected to the divine. I think the idea that there is one “right” God or religion, and all the ‘others’ are wrong, is ludicrous. There are different ways and paths and practices for connecting to the divine. That’s it. Let everyone do it in a way that nourishes their soul. I’m not a fit for people who try to “tolerate” other people who are “obviously” on the wrong spiritual path because their path is not the ONE religion they consider to be the truth for all and everyone.

Pinpointing the “one true religion”? That’s the stuff of world wars, persecution and all kinds of nastiness. And that goes against the love and truth all religions lay claim to.

On sexual orientation…

And then there’s gender and sexuality… do I really need to point out that we’re not living in the Middle Ages anymore? We. Are. Not. Living. In. The. Middle. Ages. Anymore.

It baffles me how other people’s sexuality could be anyone’s concern. Unless you’re attacked by a troupe of gay men who force you to join them on a parade, wearing only a thong, against your will… what on earth is the problem? (Or maybe this is what some people are afraid of? “What if they’re super hot and I can’t resist and it turns out I’m different than I thought I was? – Well then, you’ll find there’s a community that can help you deal with it.). And this is not to say I think everyone’s doing parades, or that all gay men are hot, or that lesbian women are not allowed to wear thongs, or that everyone needs to fit a box, or that sexuality is clear-cut anyway… or whatever.

And even if you were the victim of a highly unlikely parade attack – the attack is a crime, sexual orientation is not. Two separate things.


I write for people who are shamed and judged for being more sensitive (that does not mean choosing to be more sensitive or “well you could be “normal” if you wanted to and went to Toughen Up Camp”) So, I expect everyone on my list / following my blog to get that what matters is that you get to be you. YOU decide who you truly are, not other people.

You’re born in a way that is different from the majority. You are more sensitive than most. Some of the problems that come with that are unique, others are universal: being shamed and judged and told that you shouldn’t be who you know you are, that’s universal shaming. It applies to sensitivity, it applies to sexuality and gender, and it applies to lots of other things too.

So whatever your sexual identity is, it’s fine with me. Gay, Bi, Trans or something different or in between… you’re a fascinating human being having a unique human experience. Will I fully “get”what that’s like and what it entails for you? No of course not, but I’ll try if it comes up. Will I have biases and misunderstandings? For sure, and I’ll do my best to be aware of and correct them.

What are you taking a stand for?


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