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Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

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Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

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Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

flaw power

Grace Kerina Grace Kerina writer's shepherd. meaning beacon. surreal stepmama.

Grace Kerina founded The Writer's Shepherd to help people find their own words and bring their unique wisdom into the open. Her goal is to eliminate writer's block from the planet. [www.the-writers-shepherd.com]

grace_kerina_featureRUN2

When I was two, I wouldn’t go anywhere if my socks were wrinkled up inside my shoes, so Mom took my shoes on and off, trying to smooth those wrinkles. When I was four, Mom ironed a dress for me to wear to preschool, but I refused to wear it and she couldn’t figure out why. So while I was at school she washed and ironed all my dresses, and from then on I chose for myself what to wear. In high school, I’d get so upset when Mom came to wake me up that she bought me an alarm clock and let me work out my waking up issues for myself.

Mom knew I was different. I was born with an extra sensitive nervous system, one that processes sensory information differently. So was Mom. But we both grew up before knowing about the trait or having a name for it. Mom called me independent and stubborn and creative. She tried to help me enjoy myself and work with who I am. She gave me solid ground to stand on and reach from, by not calling the innate way I am “wrong.”

According to Elaine Aron, the scientist psychologist who wrote a pioneering book about highly sensitive people (HSPs), this innate trait is found in 15 to 20 percent of humans (and also in animals). That means you’re likely to know some highly sensing people. Or even to be one.

High sensitivity arises from a physical construction of brain and body that produces heightened reactions to all sorts of things, from textures and smells to light and sound to people and thoughts and more.

Because of the work and support of Aron and others, highly sensing people are getting proud in greater numbers. Our “flaw” is transmuting into a power. Women did it. Gays did it. Nerds did it. Now HSPs are doing it – turning a natural quality sometimes disparaged by society into something to be proud of, something valuable.

With Mom’s help, by accepting my flaw I turned it into fuel. Pain became power, pride, and community. You can do this, too: Name all the blessings in your “flaw.” Find your people. Celebrate together.

What would a pride parade look like for HSPs? Maybe a public silent meditation, or a group hike through the woods on a warm spring day, or a barefoot conga line winding along a sandy beach in rhythm with the swooshing waves.

– Grace Kerina

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