Are you often told that you’re too sensitive? Do you get told to “just ignore” bullies and passive-aggressive people? Do you have trouble accepting criticism unless it’s kindly presented? Do you have a LONG list of books, movies, and television shows you can’t watch, because they upset you? If so, you may be a highly sensitive person (HSP), just like me.
Many HSPs already know all about this, having read The Highly Sensitive Person book (and its many friends). I wrote about it a bit last year when sensitivity was causing me some issues, in a post called You’re TOO Sensitive. So yeah, I’ve heard that before.
But, if you are among the majority of humans who don’t have the HSP trait, you may not realize this is a normal way for people to be. It’s also not necessarily a negative trait! There are many wonderful things about being highly sensitive.
Not a Sensitive Person? Read This!
Before you tell a friend or family member to get over it or change the way they experience the world and people around them, consider this information, and maybe you’ll be able to accept people like us just the way we are:
- Around 15-20% of people are Highly Sensitive Persons. That’s a LOT of people, not just a few kooks.
- People are born with the HSP trait; they can’t make it go away.
- HSPs tend to have good imaginations and creativity. That’s handy!
- They are often empathetic and can understand what’s going on with others. They can help people in groups get along better.
- Not all HSPs are introverts. 30% are extroverts! (Reluctantly, I think that’s me.)
- HSPs make GREAT leaders. They tend to prefer the “servant leadership” model rather than the hierarchically focused kind, and all kinds of people respond well to quiet leadership.
See, there’s a lot of good in people like me. We spend all our lives developing ways to cope with our more “tough” friends and colleagues, trying to moderate our strong reactions to violence and personal digs, being social as much as we can, etc. Maybe those of us who are not HSPs can “just ignore” the things about us that bug them! Hmm. What an idea.
Or, maybe we can all learn to accept our differences. Kindness never hurts, and bullying is never right. We also have to be able to accept criticism in order to grow and become better people. If we hurt someone’s feelings, we can apologize. And if we are easily hurt, we can explain that we understand it’s often not intentional. Meet in the middle? Why not!
Don’t worry, I like you all just the way you are. Variety is what makes us humans interesting, to me. Let me know if you found the information here to be useful!
Here are some signs you might be an HSP, from Elaine Aron’s really helpful HSP website:
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?