Some people seem to be born with nerves on the outside of their skin. These people tend to be more sensitive than their parents, brothers and sisters, or the kids in their class. They can’t get through a movie (even a comedy!) or a TV
commercial without shedding a few tears. The slightest bit of criticism causes them real pain, and they are empathic to anyone around them.
Chances are these people are told by everyone, “You’re too sensitive!” Well the truth is, some people are more sensitive than others. They are not only sensitive to emotions, but also to energy, sound, light, and other physical stimulus. These people are, literally, called Highly Sensitive People, or HSP for short.
Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?
Do the following characteristics ring true for you?
You’re very emotional
Whether positive or negative, you experience emotions intensely, react strongly to them, and possibly cry easily. You feel a bigger range of emotions and sense them changing within you.
You’re very compassionate and generous
You have always been a natural caretaker, seeking to offer comfort and help to those who suffer. You also go out of your way to avoid offending anyone or hurting their feelings.
You’re sensitive to criticism
Criticism doesn’t feel constructive so much as it feels personal and painful. You are not able to let it roll off your shoulders as others do, and therefore allow criticism to keep you safe in your comfort zone.
You feel different from everyone else and sometimes alone
You’ve always known, or had it pointed out to you, that you were somehow different from everyone else. Because other people have told you that you need to “toughen up,” you see your sensitivity as a weakness and often feel alone.
You’re sensitive to external stimuli
While no one else around you seems to notice that the buzz of the overhead lights is driving you nuts! As is the sound of your coworkers chewing, the rough fabric of your shirt and the smell of the extravagant flower arrangement.
You overthink and worry
You notice every detail and overthink what should be a simple decision, like where to go for lunch. You also get stuck in the rehashing and what-if rut.
You walk into a room and instantly get a “feel” for it. You know how people are feeling. This is fine when the energy is positive, but when it’s negative…watch out!
You’re often tired and overwhelmed
Because you deal with the emotions of yours and others, as well as so much stimulation all day-every day, you easily become overwhelmed by all of it and feel as though you need to sleep more.
What You Can Do? Living life as an HSP is not easy, but there are some things you can do:
See your sensitivity as a positive, not a negative. It is your super strength.
Remind yourself there is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone. It is estimated 15-20% of the population falls under HSP. Seek those people out, instead of following the rest of the crowd.
Avoid negative people, places and situations. Have a plan for preparing/debriefing after those encounters and situations.
Set boundaries with people who take advantage of your compassion. “No”, can be a sentence all by itself.
Learn to relax through exercise and meditation. You may need more self-care and time alone to recharge.
Give yourself the same sympathy and kindness as you do others; you deserve it!
If at any time you find yourself feeling depressed or anxious because of your sensitivity, it’s important that you seek the guidance of a therapist who can help you manage your emotions.
If you think you are an HSP and would like to seek support options, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help. email@example.com