There have been times in my life where I felt like a hothouse flower, too fragile to withstand the world’s harsh realities. My natural sensitivity morphed into hypersensitivity from growing up in a chaotic and abusive environment.

With a lot of therapy and personal work, I’ve come to a better place and have learned to embrace my sensitivity, seeing it as a tool to be more empathic with those around me. So, I was fascinated by a recent article in The Atlantic that describes a new view of how genes and our environment interact.

Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care.

It’s a lengthy and at times complex piece. In short, it states that there are those of us who are naturally more sensitive to our environments. When we have bad upbringings, a host of problems from depression to aggression can plague us, even more so than for the average person. Ah, but when we are loved and nurtured, we excel even beyond our less-sensitive peers.

The article is still quite fresh in my mind, and I’m trying to work through what I think about it. But at first blush, I feel hope, hope that all of the work I’ve been doing to heal from my past is worth it and that, ultimately, I’m learning not just to survive but to thrive as well.