Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul

How to Change the World in Quiet Ways

Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul

How to Change the World in Quiet Ways

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A timely, delightfully readable, and much-needed book. --Booklist, starred review

Social justice work, we often assume, is raised voices and raised fists. It requires leading, advocating, fighting, and organizing wherever it takes place--in the streets, slums, villages, inner cities, halls of political power, and more. But what does social justice work look like for those of us who don't feel comfortable battling in the trenches?

Sensitive souls--including those who consider themselves highly emotional, empathic, or introverted--have much to contribute to bringing about a more just and equitable world. Such individuals are wise, thoughtful, and conscientious; they feel more deeply and see things that others don't. We need their contributions. Yet, sustaining justice work can be particularly challenging for the sensitive, and it requires a deep level of self-awareness, intentionality, and care.

In Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul, writer Dorcas Cheng-Tozun (Enneagram 4, INFJ, nonprofit/social enterprise professional, and multiple-burnout survivor) offers six possible pathways for sensitive types:

- Connectors: relational activists whose interactions and conversations build the social capital necessary for change

- Creatives: artists and creators whose work inspires, sheds light, makes connections, and brings issues into the public consciousness

- Record Keepers: archivists who preserve essential information and hold our collective memory and history

- Builders: inventors, programmers, and engineers who center empathy as they develop society-changing products and technologies

- Equippers: educators, mentors, and elders who build skills and knowledge within movements and shepherd the next generation of changemakers

- Researchers: data-driven individuals who utilize information as a persuasive tool to effect change and propose options for improvement

Alongside inspiring, real-life examples of highly sensitive world-changers, Cheng-Tozun expands the possibilities of how to have a positive social impact, affirming the particular gifts and talents that sensitive souls offer to a hurting world.

Dive deeper with the Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul reflection guide and grounding practices—perfect for book clubs or individual reflection.


"Entering into activism can feel imperative but daunting, especially for those of us who are introverts or shy. Cheng-Tozun proposes a quieter, but no less impactful, approach: her gentle guidance urges us to get curious about finding our way to quiet activism, allowing us all to join in the march toward making the world a brighter place. A soulful book."

Karen Walrond, author of The Lightmaker's Manifesto and Radiant Rebellion

"I wish this book existed earlier in my career, as it would've saved me so much struggle and stress! I'm so grateful for Dorcas Cheng-Tozun's voice, and her boldness in sharing her struggles and wisdom with us so that we know we're not alone as sensitive souls. We can make a unique difference in the world! The reflection questions after each chapter are also incredible and powerful journaling prompts that make this book priceless as a guide on our journeys."

Grace Chiang Nicolette, vice president of Programming and External Relations, Center for Effective Philanthropy

"If you identify as an introvert, highly sensitive person, or empath you need Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul by Dorcas Cheng-Tozun to learn how to best bring your strengths, talents, and sense of purpose to social justice causes that are near and dear to your heart."

Christine Rose Elle, author of The Happy Empath and Daily Affirmations for Women

"Dorcas Cheng-Tozun fosters freedom for the sensitive soul to just be and allow Spirit to create in and through us. This book is an important read as we learn to recognize and make room for the diversity of contributions that actually sustain justice work."

Lucretia Carter Berry, PhD, president,

"Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul is the first book I have read that fully embraces what so many of us who are sensitives feel: a need to serve the greater good of humanity but to do so in ways that avoid burnout, compassion-fatigue, and apathy. Dorcas Cheng-Tozun gifts sensitives with an incredible framework to understand and practice advocacy and activism on scales that reflect personal authenticity, sustainability, and optimal use of our time and energy while creatively and effectively contributing our often-prodigious empathy, conscientiousness, and heart-centered leadership."

Tracy Cooper, PhD, author of Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

"Writing with empathy and winsome honesty on this timely topic, Cheng-Tozun offers key insights relevant for all social changemakers. Her lived experience as a sensitive activist--along with the vivid stories of many others--provides a hopeful path forward for those who want to engage sustainably and authentically in the work of justice."

Jody Chang, Chief Operating and Portfolio Officer, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund

"The work of justice is hard. Moving the needle on lasting social change requires a deep dive into who we are, where we are from, our values, and an understanding of the gifts we each bring to the world. Those gifted with sensitivity have incredible insights others do not, naturally set apart from the status quo of ego-centered engagements. Their heart-centered connection to people and places is what this present moment is desperately calling for. In Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul, writer Dorcas Cheng-Tozun takes you on an affirming journey of self-discovery and contemplative reflection on each person's unique place in pursuing change to create a world in which all can thrive."

Byron Chung, executive director, Ignite Institute at the Pacific School of Religion

"This book is a thorough, inspiring, and empowering exploration of the topic of highly sensitive people and social justice activism. The author writes from a basis of well-grounded and informed understanding of what high sensitivity and social justice activism are, honoring the important gift of activism that HSPs in particular bring to the world--especially when they do it their own way."

Barbara Allen, founder, Growing Unlimited


This inspiring book is recommended for anyone interested in social justice and enacting positive change.

Library Journal

"Dorcas Cheng-Tozun's hopeful, practical book will equip highly sensitive people to work toward justice and social reform while still taking care of themselves."

BookPage, starred review

"Engaging writing that skillfully weaves compelling data, stories and encouragement of HSP activism makes for a timely, delightfully readable, and much-needed book."

Booklist, starred review

"This practical, energizing entry will prove a handy resource for the withdrawn."

Publishers Weekly

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506483436
  • eBook ISBN 9781506483443
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 227
  • Publication Date June 20, 2023