I was thrilled to talk for second time on The Sensitive CEO Show with William Allen. Our last conversation was one of the very early episodes on the podcast, episode 8 where we discussed HSP Men in which Bill is quite an authority. He has written two books on this topic and began his blog titled ‘The Sensitive Man’ in 2016.
In this week’s episode we discuss the Sensitive Men Rising movie which is due to premier next month. This is the first documentary on male high sensitivity processing sensitivity and is turning the lens on the billion men who have this trait.
💝 Key Takeaways
- Bill shares with us a brief overview of the Sensitive Men Rising movie.
- How the movie may be received by men who are not highly sensitive and any expected pushback on the topics this film will touch.
- What the term “sensitive men” means and how it differs from traditional notions of masculinity.
- What viewers can hope to take away from the film and how Bill believes it will impact conversations around sensitivity, specifically for men.
- The role sensitive men can play in creating positive change in the world.
- We discuss Bill’s experiences from his involvement in the film and the video shoot he did with Dr. Tracy Cooper.
- How men who are interested in exploring their own sensitivity can begin to do so.
📚 Resources Mentioned
🔗 Where You Can Find William
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/zallenw
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thesensitiveman
🌹 Rose’s Resources
📖 (Imperfect) Transcript
We use Descript to provide this transcript which isn’t always perfect but wonderful all the same. (affiliate link 😃)
Rose: Hey, it’s Rose and welcome to another episode of the Sensitive CEO Show. And in this week’s episode, it’s my pleasure to reintroduce you to William Allen. And you may have listened to Bill’s episode, which was actually episode eight. Bill was one of my early guests on the podcast when I started it last September, and I’ll be popping that link in the show notes. So if you wanna revisit that. But welcome back, bill. It’s wonderful to talk with you again today.
Bill: Well, it’s great to see you again, rose. I’m glad to be back.
Rose: And the reason I, we actually had a coffee chat booked anyway. But I asked you at the last minute, can we change it to a podcast episode because it seemed very good timing with the Sensitive Men Rising Movie coming out very soon. And I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that because I know that you’ve had some involvement in the movie.
Absolutely. So, are you able to give a brief overview of the movie?
Bill: I’ll do my best if, from what I understand, it’s gonna involve some things, there’s some themes in there that obviously talk about high sensitivity in men, which is the primary theme of the movie. there may be some illusions to masculinity and how, you know, highly sensitive men match up into, so we call traditional masculinity. and maybe looking at, at, changing the narrative on that a little bit so that, we have a more inclusive and I think a more modern idea of what masculine means, considering the current situation that we are in.
And also, the things that have changed over the. Actually over the centuries, right? Things are different in the 21st century than they were even in the last century, which we just left some 20 years ago. but there’s gonna be some really good interviews there. At one point, Will Harper had talked about sort of, blending a storyline in the background of two individuals.
Two individual sensitive boys who obviously grew up as men. I’m not sure if that’s still gonna be in there, but Will is really good at this. It’s obvious, from the first movie that he did, the Sensitive movie, which won awards. It is one of the most popular documentaries that is out there right now.
so it has obviously hit a lot of buttons with people and I’m really hoping that we’ll see a lot of that kind of reaction to this movie that is primarily focused on highly sensitive men. So we’ve got a lot of great interviews. People like Scott Barry Kaufman, who is a highly regarded psychologist, neuroscientist.
We’ve got, people like Dr. Tracy Cooper, who is very near and dear to all of us. he is written books and of course, Dr. Aaron will be in there. the narration now is going to be done by Peter Coyote, who is a very famous actor, American actor, who’s also known very well for his narration and documentaries.
so that’s gonna be an added, a feature I think, to this. Alanis Morrisette, is supposed to come back and repeat some of what she did in the first movie. and there’s lots of people like myself who aren’t as well known or well recognized around the world, but there’s lots of interviews with highly sensitive men that will be tied together in some shape or form or fashion.
I think it’s going to be an absolutely game-changing film for highly sensitive men, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it now. We’re looking now somewhere around mid-July is the premier, at this point that’s they’ve scheduled. And, it’s as, like I said, I think it’s gonna be a great movie.
Rose: I’m really excited to see it as well.
And I know it was originally going to coincide with Father’s Day in June in the States, wasn’t it? But they’ve pushed it back because Peter Coyote is going to be in it now, which is wonderful.
Bill: Yeah, and, and I’ll look at that. I was, you know, I’m thinking cause a little disappointed because I had made reservations to go and all that kind of stuff.
But the idea that we have somebody this caliber doing narration in this, this is gonna last. The life of this movie and it’ll be out there forever, essentially. So one month is really well worth the weight to make sure we get this into the best quality documentary we can, that will, can do. And I am all very supportive of that.
Rose: I would love to ask you, Bill, how do you think the movie will be received by men who are not highly sensitive? And are you expecting any pushback on the topics that this film will touch?
Bill: Certainly there probably will be there, you know what, I think that one of the messages that the movie’s gonna talk about is that highly sensitive men are not abnormal.
And they’re not that uncommon. So part of the thing is to sort of spread the message to people that highly sensitive men don’t suddenly become, you know, non men, because they’re sensitive. And, that I think is a message that I think will resonate very strongly with either men who are very sensitive and know and haven’t yet quite grasped the concept yet, and would be kind of a.
Eureka moment for them. That’s kind of what we’re hoping for as far as that’s concerned. But even with some traditionally tied to the old traditional masculine type guys, I’m hoping, and especially the way I think Will is going to deliver this is that it may have some appeal to them as well. They may see some things in, in, in themselves in some of the elements of this.
And I’m kind of hoping that what it will do is at least educate them because we all know that everybody knows some. If you’re not highly sensitive, you know at least a handful of people that around you, your family, your colleagues, friends, et cetera, who are highly sensitive, but you may not still understand what the trait is.
And if you’re dealing with highly sensitive men, that may be even more confusing because highly sensitive men kind of play off the traditional masculine roles. and I think that, you know, for some men that’s a little confusing even for highly sensitive men who haven’t really learned enough about the trait and started to embrace it.
So I’m really hoping that,that it’s gonna be well received, certainly by the highly sensitive community, but also other people who may either be kind of in the spectrum, you know, a little bit lower down, you know, than, than the highest highly sensitive people, but can still resonate with some of the concepts and ideas that are gonna be presented.
Now as far as pushback goes, especially here in the States, I don’t know how it will be received worldwide, but I think in the states there’ll definitely be some pushback, I’m sure. We have a very strong contingent of people who embrace the traditional masculine. . and they’ll see this as some kind of a threat.
A lot of men may see it as a way of feminizing men. I’m not worried about that though. . I’m just glad it’s gonna get out there and it will be kind of a rallying flag for all of us. Highly sensitive men who can point to that and say, you know, go watch this movie. You wanna learn more about this trade, and it will be one of those ones that I think delivers that message.
Rose: Definitely. Can you explain what the term highly sensitive mean actually means for people who are listening and then might not be sure.
Bill: Well, one of the interesting things about high sensitivity is that the breakdown between men and women is not what most people would expect. It’s about half and half.
And so that means that, you know, there are a lot of highly sensitive men out there. They have all the traits that other people that have high sensitivity are, you know, the. Depth of processing the tendency towards overstimulation. A lot of emotional reaction to things and deep emotion. We feel things much more deeply than a lot of people do.
Highly empathetic. And then there’s that sense of the subtle, we can pick things up out of the environment. and I could go on for hours about that. But the point is they have the same trait characteristics that highly sensitive women have. The difference, the primary difference that I see, that I’ve experienced in my life was this idea that being sensitive, the way I was taught and raised, growing up was not conducive to being masculine.
And it’s the exact opposite. So a lot of times, highly sensitive men labor with this idea of do I really want to be representing myself as a highly sensitive person when high sensitivity is not something that we consider to be very masculine. So there’s that narrative, that internal dialogue that we all have been socialized to believe what traditional masculinity is, is the ideal masculine, which it’s not. And highly sensitive men, once they start to understand the trait and educate themselves about it, they embrace the trait. They start to realize that the traditional masculine is not really for them. So, you know, I think there’s a lot of opportunities in there for highly sensitive men to finally come to terms with who they are, their authentic self.
And I think they’ll realize that, that there’s a place at the table for highly sensitive men within the masculine framework. That’s one of the things I. Hope that highly sensitive men can be on the forefront of and championing a new masculinity.
Rose: Can you share any stories or experiences from your involvement of the film? I know that you did a video shoot and an interview with Dr. Tracy Cooper.
Bill: That was wonderful. I, but I had to go to St. Louis to get it. Tracy lives about two or three hours away from St. Louis. and he was very gracious. Him and his wife were just absolutely lovely. My sister happens to live in St.
Louis, so it just all fell together. I flew up there, over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and it was quite, temperature wise is quite different from where I was coming from in Florida. It was really chilly that week and I remember that and, and we had a scene where they were doing some filler scenes after he had shot with me, the questions and answer stuff that I did.
And we went out to this park and the wind started picking up and I don’t know what my sister was thinking. She took her coat off, not thinking about that, and we had to walk back and forth up and down while they shot. And we were both freezing to death. It was, I didn’t have a little light windbreaker on.
But it was interesting. We, you know, he was doing some stuff that may or may not be in the film, but it’s kind of transitional stuff. But I had a really good session with them. We shot for probably an hour or two hours. And, it was wonderful. I had, it was the first time I’d ever actually met Tracy in person.
I’ve known him for years, but I just, first time I got a chance to meet him and I got to meet his wife and it was, it was great. We had a wonderful time.
Rose: Oh, that’s wonderful. I just presumed that you’d met him before in person. I didn’t realize you hadn’t,.
Bill: You know, I’d seen him on Zoom calls and, and, and we, I’ve talked to him many times and he’s written and, you know, endorsements for my books and things like that, and, And I consider him to be a wonderful friend and a really wonderful resource for highly sensitive people and highly sensitive men.
So it was, it was really nice to see him put a name to, well, I already saw his face before. . But it was nice seeing him in person and sitting down and chatting and all that kind of stuff.
Rose: Yeah. He’s so different because so many of the meetings and get togethers we have these days are on Zoom, aren’t they? So it must have been lovely to meet face to face.
Bill: It was, it was really great. I, and I hope to be able to do more of that. you know, as the years go by, I’d really like to meet some of these, these, these folks that, that I’m meeting from all over the world and see ’em in person. maybe one day we’ll have a convention somewhere and we’ll all get together and meet each other in person somewhere, somewhere in the middle of a planet somewhere.
Rose: That would be wonderful. I’d definitely be in, and I know we talked about an H S P gathering in Oregon, which I know is not happening this year, but maybe next year. But I would love to meet you in person.
Bill: I will keep you posted on that cuz I will lobby for that until the day I fall over. I, it just that it was, it just didn’t work out.
We had a few things, we were really close and then it just didn’t come together and unfortunately, but one day loved to do it up there. Beautiful country.
Rose: And it’s my side of America.
Bill: Yeah. Your side, the Australia facing side of America, right? Yes.
Rose: Well, we could always do one in Australia or maybe Bali. That might be. I don’t know what would be halfway.
Bill: That sounds interesting. Yeah, that sounds interesting. or even New Zealand. I would love to do that. A couple friends of mine are from New Zealand, so some of the guys from our men’s group.
Rose: Ah, interesting. That’s where I’m from originally.
Bill: I know you are.
Rose: What role do you believe sensitive men can play in creating positive change in the world, bill?
Bill: Well, one of the things I think we need right now in the world, and you probably heard this over and over again, is this idea that we need more empathy. We need more kindness, we need more awareness, and I think self-awareness and.
You know, when you look at all the traits that highly sensitive people have, I think if you sort of have them kind of like in a cone shape and they’re going to a point, the point is a level of awareness. It could be awareness about what’s around you and the environment. It could be an awareness of the people around you.
It could be an awareness of your impact on the people that you’re interacting with, but it’s that self-awareness, I think is extremely, extremely important and I think highly sensitive men can do that. And highly sensitive women as well. But to your question, I think highly sensitive men could also be, and if we’re talking about reshaping masculinity, redefining masculinity to fit today’s world and to fit where we are, in sort of our evolutionary cycle.
I think we could be good role models. We could, we could probably, more than anything else is just model this idea of empathy and this idea of, of feeling our emotions and expressing them and listening to our intuition and being able to be good nurturing stewards, not only of our fellow man, but the planet as well.
It really needs that right now. so I think highly sensitive people and, and highly sensitive men particularly. As I was saying earlier, the more they know about the trade, the more they understand the trade. It’s easier to step out of your sort of who you are, in terms of reaching out to the world.
And even if a lot of us are introverts, which most of us are anyway, be able to go beyond that and say, I’m gonna go out in the world and start sharing with people, talking to them about this. And I think that will have a lot of impact. just by the fact that we’re demonstrating this can be done. It’s mostly natural for us to be that way.
So it’s not like we’re putting on airs or we’re faking it. We’re actually being who we are. And I think if people can see that modeling is a great way to teach and it’s a great way to learn. and I think that’s one of the things that highly sensitive men could do to affect change.
Rose: I love that. And I love you saying that’s how we are.
So it’s just being yourself. And nothing’s easier than being yourself, is it?
Bill: It is. It is. Except, you know, if you’re trying to suppress who you are, and that’s what a lot of highly sensitive men worry about. Can I be this person and be okay? Can I still be a man and be this, this kind of man? And the answer is yes, you certainly can.
And yes, you certainly should. Because you need to be who you are. You need to be authentic.
Rose: Yeah, absolutely. How would you recommend anyone listening, let’s say man listening, who’s interested in exploring his own sensitivity? How, where would he begin?
Bill: I would say, today, probably even more so than five or six years ago, there’s a.
A lot of material to read. Educate yourself on. you could start with Dr. Aaron’s site, hs person.com and. I would certainly recommend that people read Dr. Aaron’s first book, which was called the Highly Sensitive Person. That is really kind of the bible of sensitivity. . start there.
And especially if you’re a man, there’s a lot of great books that are out there right now. I, you may have seen it in the newsletter. I have, I have, I had six. There’s seven books that are written by people like Dr. Tracy Cooper, Tom Falkenstein, myself, Randy Grasser has written a really good book on that as well.
Thomas Anderson has written a wonderful book called The Vulnerable Man. start reading those books. Start educating yourself. About what the trait really is, not what you’ve been told the trait was, and not what you’ve been made to believe the trait is. But what it really, truly is, and once you do that, it really will shift the way you look at the trait.
A lot of people bristle at the term sensitive and sensitivity and so forth, and frankly, I think we ought to own that trait, that name, that description. And we can do like so many other people have done in the past where there’s a negative connotation for a trait. own the trait and change it.
Changing the way that trait is being perceived by people and changing and changing it into a positive is what I think we should be doing. but regardless, educate yourself about the trade. There’s plenty of material out there, websites galore. you can go to my site, the sensitive man.com, there’s resources there I try to point people to other people that I’ve found to be very helpful for my journey. but it’s, it’s, it’s a uniquely h s p kind of thing to explore this. I think we’re, we’re, we’re really. At heart we’re explorers. Even though a lot of people think, well, you know, sensitive people are so timid and shy, I disagree with that.
I think we are actually quite brave and courageous about going out and exploring new things. So let that guide you, just do the education part of it and you’d be surprised you meet a lot of people along the way and, and that are highly sensitive and it’s been a wonderful experience for me. And so I highly recommend you do that.
Rose: Thank you. I love that. And yeah, we’re very curious by nature. I’ve always been extremely curious and I’m sure that’s very common amongst other HSPs.
Bill: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Rose: Well, I will pop all of those books into the show notes so that people can go and have a look at them. And I’ll put your blog in there too.
I know you’ve been doing a blog since 2016, the Sensitive Man Blog, so I’ll put all of those links in there. But any parting words before we wrap up today, Bill?
Bill: I would say I really believe that 2023 is going to be a pivotal year for highly sensitive people. Jenn Granneman and Andre Solo just came out with a new book, which I think has gotten a lot of good press.
And I think it is going to be one of those kind of books that helps get the word out about high sensitivity. I think that’s gonna make a big difference. And this movie coming out for Highly Sensitive Men this summer that Will Harper and Tracy and others are doing. Is going to be a game changer for highly sensitive men.
So I think what you’re gonna see is we’re getting very close to what I consider to be critical mass, and that is that it becomes accepted. You’ll see it on television shows, you’ll see people talking about it. you’ll see other books being written about it, and you’ll see more and more people coming online, if you will, are, are coming out as sensitive.
If that’s a term we can use there. And I think it’s gonna be a big year for us. And from here on out it’s, it’s full sails out. Let’s go.
Rose: Oh, I love that. I love that. Well, thank you so much Bill, and thanks for being back on the show as a guest and it’s been wonderful to talk to you as always.
Bill: Thanks, Rose, I appreciate it and we’ll see you again soon.