Jim and I went to an event a few days ago that was holding a spicy wing eating contest.
I was immediately excited because Jim never thinks anything is spicy. I’ve only seen him unable to eat something spicy once in all the years I’ve known him. (It was a ghost pepper bloody mary.)
I was so excited about it that he pretty much had no choice but to enter the contest.
So, just to clarify–it wasn’t about the quantity of wings eaten, but who could last the longest as the wings got spicier and spicier.
We went to the event and about 10 people had entered the competition. They all sat at a long table while the 100+ other attendees gathered around to watch the fun. I was nervous and excited for Jim!
Then the first bowl of wings came out for the contestants and immediately I felt REGRET.
It suddenly hit me–what had I gotten him into?
I don’t eat extremely spicy food, so I didn’t really think about the pain he’d be going through. The pain he’d be experiencing now and for the rest of the day.
As he and the other people started to eat their first spicy wing, I felt so sorry. The first two wings weren’t a big deal, but then came the scorpion sauce wings. A couple people dropped out. One guy’s face was red and sweaty and he had tears rolling down.
People commented on how calm Jim looked, but I knew he was hurting. His lips were kind of red and once in a while he’d take these little breaths. I felt so freaking bad, especially because the chance he was going to win was small, honestly. What made me think he could beat everyone? And if he does lose, he went through all that pain for nothing!
I felt so, so bad, and probably had such a weird look on my face as I intently watched him…like a look of sorrow. A few times I motioned to him, “are you done?” Finally he motioned Yes and stepped away. He was the third or fourth person left in the competition.
I can’t even express how bad I felt that I caused pain to the person I loved. I was extra nice to him the rest of the day. You can bet I’ll never volunteer him for a spicy food competition again.
photo credit: Wings a la Matt via photopin (license)
🙁 Can you imagine the suffering and pain the (non-volunteer) chickens went through? I encourage you to fully explore and question sensitivity and empathy as it extends to all sentient beings. Choose kindness and nonviolence. chooseveg.com
You raise an interesting point. I think it’s a matter of personal perspective, and it varies for each of us. I’m an animal lover, but I would probably feel much worse about running over a dog or cat than I would hitting a deer or squirrel. The reason why probably goes back to my upbringing. It’s not that I’m insensitive to wild animals….I was just raised to believe that these things happen, and the chances of hitting a wild animal are higher than hitting someone’s pet who wanders into the street. That’s just me.
Likewise, I think the choice to eat meat (or not to) is a matter of personal perspective. An HSP who was raised on a farm, for instance, may love farm animals, but was also brought up in an environment where livestock was raised for food and milk. It doesn’t make them any less sensitive than someone who believes that consuming meat or animal products is wrong. They just look at it a different way. Likewise, one could be a person who doesn’t consume plant products because they see plants as a sacred life form. Is any one person more “right” or “wrong” in their sensitivities than anyone else. I really don’t think so. Guess my point is, there is no “across the board” definition of highly sensitive people. We all have different sensitivities, and that’s what makes each of us unique.
🙁 i am agree with Katie… sometimes i wonder how some hsp aren’t vegan.i think maybe the pain of knowing and feeling the pain of animals for hsp is as bad as it causes brain to filter it unconsciously… by the way dear Kelly i really didn’t want to hurt your feeling. i always listen to your pod casts and i know you are so kind..
Hi.. why have you erased my comment? I haven’t said anything rude or bad to upset anyone… pls tell me the reason… Tnx
It is not erased. All comments have to be approved by me before they show up; I just hadn’t read it yet!
I think the point of this story was about how us HSPs feel more empathy and regret than the non-HSPs. Anyways, this story deeply resonates with me. I personally still have trouble letting go of mistakes I’ve made in the past. Thank you Kelly for sharing this story. It was very helpful
Kelly, I think the important thing to remember is that Jim ultimately made his own decision regardless of how much you may have encouraged him. Sure, your encouragement and excitement may have been a factor, but as adults, we are all responsible for our own decisions. I could cite the old adage “nobody held a gun to his head” (okay, I just did), but you get the idea. He could have said “sorry honey, but I just don’t feel comfortable eating all this spicy food”, and I’m sure he knows you would have understood. I don’t think anyone with a conscience would ever knowingly put their significant other in harm’s way, and I’m sure that wasn’t your intention.
Oh it was definitely his decision, ultimately, but I was SO excited about it that he really felt pushed to do it! 🙂
Love the blog and the podcast!
Would love if you could do a show or a blog post about HSPs dating other HSPs. I’ve found very little information about how to maintain healthy relationships with such a dynamic as both partners have a tendency to be intense. Elaine Aron’s HSPs in love book has some info but its very short and I am left wanting more. Thanks so much! lots of love.
Sana, thank you for the suggestion! This would be tricky for me as my husband is totally NOT an HSP. 🙂 But I should look into this subject for sure. THank you!
That’s so sweet of you, to be that concerned about your hubby’s discomfort. This made me think about how in general, that society can place expectations on men that are hazardous, dangerous and that test unnecessary limits. While the competition was no doubt open to both Men & Women (I assume), these types of crazy competitive things are what society pushes men to do to sortve “prove their toughness”… I wonder what HSP men feel like when “egged on” to be more “. “macho”. I do think that your husband wanted to win LOL it sounds like he did a great job
Awww You only encouraged him to participate because he is good at this; it would be a totally different story if he had an aversion to spicy food. This event was just another chance for him to test himself and maybe win a prize. Sounds like fun! We could all use moments like that in our lives, he is probably a little more wise from the experience.
The rumination and regret that you’ve experienced is all too familiar to most of us. “Omg what have I done?!?” That’s a sucky feeling. I hope you could inject a lil self-compassion into this, and view the whole experience objectively. 🙂
P.s. Re: the argument about whether or not consuming meat is a crime against nature? This is a topic I have a lot of ideas on, having been a vegetarian and vegan for most of my life but rarely do I post about it because both sides of the meat issue seem to spew hatred and vitriol at each other, refusing to compromise or trade ideas in a civilized exchange.
Long story short: after years of preaching animal liberation, I have become more realistic in the variety of foods that I eat. After too many years of skin problems, hormone imbalances, food allergies (hey who knew that “super foods” would ever turn against you?!?) So yes, animal-derived proteins have become included in my diet now. Because guess what! Yes, we are animals too. Some people assume the vegetarian lifestyle is a testament to how evolved they are, how separate they are from the rest of the food chain. Well I take some sort of comfort in knowing that an animal would consume me if they needed to, and in that way nature and I are equals; I am not better than or more evolved than nature. Even though for much of my adult life I thought I was. You can say I’ve been humbled. No longer do I regard all animals as though they are living breathing teddy bears which desperately need us big strong human to ensure their survival. They know more about survival than we could ever comprehend. But likewise, I absolutely abhor the exploitation and the misery forced upon animals in factory farms.
How does a HSP deal with the knowledge of where that animal protein on their dinner plate actually came from? I don’t have the answer. This is an ongoing issue for me.
I was getting sick just reading this.
Seems crazy that people feel the desire or need to put themselves through pain or extreme discomfort just “for kicks” or because someone dared them. I guess that’s what you get when you’re on the 15 to 20 percent of a society that’s 80 percent nonHSP!
As for veganism/meat eating, I honestly feel that all of the ants and subterranean animals that are killed or have their homes destroyed in the processing of vegan foods, for me, made being a vegan/vegetarian out of the question, as it made em feel even more guilt ridden! That, and being on the diet, even with vegetable proteins and vegetable fats made me even more emotionally unstable than I already am!
I try to get my animal products from places that don’t treat them inhumanely. I’ve longed for a way for meat and fats to be lab grown so animals don’t die from it!