“The Highly Sensitive Man” by Tom Falkenstein

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highly sensitive man

I am deeply moved by things. I’d hate to miss the intense joy of that.
― Elaine N. Aron


An invaluable book by cognitive behavioural psychotherapist, Tom Falkenstein. The book explores the unique advantages and obstacles that men with higher sensitive disposition face, how it relates to male identity, provides useful advice and practical tools to deal with overstimulation and intense emotions.


There are multiple ways to describe of the concept of “highly sensitive”. An underlying characteristic that all highly sensitive people share is having a heightened sensitivity and reactivity to one’s internal and external environment. It means that they have an intense sensory perception, an intense life and experiences.

Elaine Aron describes 4 indicators that we can use to judge whether we are highly sensitive, which she refers to using the acronym DOES.

  • Depth of information processing
  • Overstimulation
  • Emotional reactivity
  • Sensitivity to subtle stimuli


After reading the first few chapters of this book, suddenly all the pieces fell into place. My early years and my entire adult life up to a few months ago suddenly all made sense. That for the first time in my life, I have a clear and profound understanding of my behaviour up until that point.

I felt an immense relief I was able to finally put a name to this temperamental trait. And to have a better understanding of it. 


Why I am the way I am.


The fact that I generally get along well with women and other highly sensitive men. Why I didn’t do well with activities that are typical for men (soccer, basketball, rugby, drinking beer, etc). 

How I think a lot about my emotional life, practice yoga and meditation.

When I am talking to someone, I tend to have deeper, meaningful conversations because of my depth of processing at an emotional level.


For years, I made a concerted effort to hide my sensitive side – in school, all throughout college/university and at work. Thinking that being sensitive is a character flaw because it is not seen as the masculine ideal in the Western world. This notion has had a deep and far-reaching effect on my relationship with myself and my sense of self-worth for years.


It took me almost 9 months to finish reading this book. I done it on purpose because I wanted to take my time to fully absorb its content. Reading the author’s interview with other highly sensitive men has helped me to come to terms with myself and realise that I am not alone anymore. There are others like me out there who have this particular trait, learn to live with it and thrive.

I am learning to accept that my sensitivity is not something to be ashamed of, but appreciated and cultivated, and is an important part of me. This book has helped me to recognise the behavioural and emotional patterns I have, the choices I have made.

At the end of the day, high sensitivity is an invitation – an invitation to live your own precious and fleeting life with genuine depth and intensity. Be more compassion towards yourself and realise that it’s an incredible gift to be used and shared with the world.


Thank you Tom for this gem.

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