Do you suspect you might be a highly sensitive person?
Or perhaps you know someone who is? A friend or a loved one.
Maybe you feel like your sensitivity is a burden, and have been asking yourself “Why me?” Because you just don’t understand it or know how to embrace it.
According to Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, one out of every five people are highly sensitive. She describes the highly sensitive person (HSP) as follows. “Having a sensitive nervous system, as being aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings. And more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” It is a personality trait, not a disorder.
Over the years there have been many misconceptions about highly sensitive people. Personally, I spent many years trying to hide my sensitivity. Believing that I was ‘different’ or ‘weird,’ because others didn’t seem to think and felt the same why I did. As I grew older, I began to discover the true gifts of being a HSP, and learned to embrace it.
We live in a world where we are taught to live and act a certain way. But the truth is, everyone is unique and we must learn to embrace one another for our differences. It begins by shattering the misconceptions we have created.
The following five points aim to challenge those common misconceptions about Highly Sensitive People.
1. Sensitivity is a weakness
Our culture often portrays sensitivity as a weakness, making it one of the most common misconceptions about highly sensitive people. We are taught that sensitive people can’t deal with emotions or certain situations. Many HSP attempt to hide their sensitivity and believe it to be shameful.
Highly sensitive people tend to be quicker to detect changes in energy, environment and situations, making them more alert and responsive. HSP are generally very intuitive and have the ability to adapt their behavior and responses in any given situation. They often pick up on things that many would overlook. Allowing a deeper insight into their environment and those around them.
Sensitivity is a strength, because naturally you are more in tune with the energy frequencies that surround you. Therefore, HSP are more likely to act on situations that require positive change e.g. environmental impacts. There are many small way that sensitivity proves as a strength. Including; The ability to tune in with people’s emotions to provide support, picking up on when someone is in trouble, or responding to someone who is down with a smile.
The more sensitive you are, the more you tend to notice and appreciate the little things around you.
2. They take things too personally
Apparently being highly sensitive means you take everything personally. Is this true? No. But HSP tend to tune into people’s emotions and energy very easily. They easily pick up on things such as alternative motives or hunches, if somebody isn’t telling the truth. In general HSP are usually very in tune with others, which can sometimes be misinterpreted.
For example; If I’m having a conversation with someone and I pick up that they are not being authentic, I tend to be more reserved or remove myself from the conversation all together. People may assume I’m offended, but I have learned that I have no influence over other people’s opinions. I choose to reserve my energy for those I can truly connect with.
HSP are prone to picking up high volumes of information in social situations. They can come across as introverts or being suspiciously quiet. This is because it can take a while to process all the different energy frequencies and information available to them. It doesn’t mean they are rude, uninterested or easily offended. Rather taking everything in and approaching things in their own unique way.
3. They are too emotional
Another misconception about highly sensitive people is they are overly emotional. But the truth is they just tend to feel things at a deeper level. HSP are very in tune with theirs and other people’s emotions, and at times it can be information overload.
It’s important not to view this as a negative, as I said before sensitivity is a gift. HSP simply require more time and space to process information, it takes time to develop strategies that work for you. Some strategies to try are:
- Meditation – Give yourself time and space to sit with thoughts, emotions and your energy vibration daily.
- Take time out during social situations to gather yourself and process information.
- Be aware that you may be picking up energy/emotions, or information that does not belong to you. Give yourself time for grounding and energy clearing.
- Just be yourself. Don’t try to hide your sensitivity, learn to embrace it. Know that when you do, you will be attracting the right kind of people into your life.
4. They lack confidence
Highly sensitive people are often categorized into being shy, introverted or lacking in confidence, this is far from the truth. Those who understand the strength of their sensitivity are typically highly intelligent, confident and creative individuals.
HSP have the gift of experiencing life at a deeper level. The have the ability to tap into their inner wisdom and share it with the world. Many famous artists, writers and actors claim their sensitivity is a major part of their success.
Being highly sensitivity doesn’t mean you lack confidence. It has the power to improve your confidence through a deeper understanding of the world and those around us.
5. They are ‘loners’ and can’t connect with others
This misconception about highly sensitive people is far from the truth. HSP enjoy the company of others just as much as anyone. The difference is they are usually quick to pick up on people they can be around and those they can’t. I am talking about toxic relationships.
HSP may be wary of who they spend time with, because they are so in tune with other people’s energy. Being around people who are ‘toxic’ can be extremely draining for HSP. This is why it’s important to choose your company wisely.
I have experienced some of the deepest and most wonderful friendships with fellow HSP. They are some of the most interesting, insightful and compassionate people I know. Partly because of their deep sensitivity and empathy for others.
HSP enjoy authentic and wholesome friendships with others. If they seem a little shy at first, give them a chance, you will be glad you did.
Embracing Highly Sensitive People
Breaking misconceptions about highly sensitive people allows us to form a deeper connection and understanding to those around us, without judgement. The more we continue to challenge misconceptions, the closer we become to creating a better world.
By using the insights in this article you can learn to embrace your sensitivity traits, or shift your mindset about those highly sensitive people in your life. Remember, sensitivity is a gift.
Want to know if you are a highly sensitive person? Click here to take the HSP test.
Are you a highly sensitive person? Share your insights in the comments below.