Today’s society encourages everyone to be overly analytical and competitive to get ahead and to make their dreams come true. And let me be the first to point out that I’ve also cheered people on to attain their goals with gusto but today I want us to take a look at another personal characteristic: Sensitivity.
I’ve been told that I’m oversensitive so much by a certain loved one that I’ve coined my own witty response, “I’m not oversensitive, I’m introspective. I take a step back before I respond.” Cute, huh? Well, anyone that knows that I started my life as a preemie wouldn’t be surprised that I scored 12 out of 25 on the ‘Are You Highly Sensitive?’ test. (That’s right, like Lady Gaga would say, I was Born This Way.) But being more sensitive in such a fast paced world isn’t a negative. It can make you very aware of others needs so here’s what you need to know to make the best of it.
Psychologist Elaine Aron wrote a book called The Highly Sensitive Person and her research shows about 15 - 20 percent of the population can be characterized as highly-sensitive people (HSP) and 30 percent of people are moderately sensitive. So you probably are related to, dated, work with, are friends with, or are married to an HSP. Being highly-sensitive (HSP) doesn’t mean you’re emotionally immature, self-centered, have unstable emotions, or that you are over-dependent and demand attention for others constantly. It just means you have a highly-developed human characteristic. (If it makes you feel formidable, you can call it a gift or a superpower.)
Here are some of the characteristics of highly-sensitive people. They:
1. Have great imagination
2. Have great intellectual abilities
3. Are creative
4. Have a curious mind
5. Are hard workers
6. Are good problem solvers
7. Are extremely conscious and compassionate
8. Are intuitive, caring and spiritual
9. Have a strong sense of aesthetic awareness
10. Respect nature, art and music greatly
11. Have profound and intense sensations
12. Can access important information from the unconscious mind
13. Have a depth of understanding and feelings
14. Are objective and can see the bigger picture
If these individuals don't learn to handle their high sensitivity, they may suffer greatly. People with a "highly empathic temperament" need to learn to get their own needs met first before serving others. Here are some ways that can help HS people manage their abilities:
1. Emotionally, highly-sensitive individuals are easily overstimulated up to a point where they may experience great pain. They can have a combination of introvert and extrovert personality traits. Cognitive modification (or Thought stopping) can be helpful.
2. Physically, highly-sensitive people need time and space to be alone to process the amount of input absorbed. They have more body awareness and can feel quickly when their body is not comfortable in an environment. (Think of skin breakouts after brief stressful episodes.) Therefore, nutritionally they have to stick to simple foods that are full of nutrients and have a healthy balance. And regular exercise and relaxation helps them to calm themselves down and recharge after the over stimulation.
3. Socially, HSPs need to learn to connect while having clear boundaries as to when to say no and how far to go with something and someone. In addition, HSPs need to have regular "me" times. They have to learn when they love someone they have to have a balance point because self-sacrifice for them can lead to unhealthy emotional deprivation.
Overall, many of writers, creators, inventors, and pioneers may fall in the category of highly sensitive so let’s encourage highly-sensitive people to unleash their potential. And to the person that loved me enough to hold up a looking glass so I could see myself clearly. Thank you.
Please watch the video below and let me know your thoughts.
1. Aron, Elaine. The highly sensitive person.
2. Huffington Post.com
5/19/2013 10:22:42 pm
This makes perfect sense. When I was growing up, my father use to call such people emotional empaths. You’re a super-responder which is a value to people that love and appreciate you. I’m glad you’re embracing who you are and learning more about yourself and if you ever need a place to escape let me know. :) My sister and mother are HSPs so I understand the need to recharge.
5/20/2013 02:41:27 am
Hey, how much of an HSP are you? A little or a lot? I have a few of the items on that HSP test does that mean I have moments of oversensitive? Mmm, I bet it does.
Thanks for the comment, YS,
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