My entire life I have felt other people's emotions so vividly that I would mistake them for my own. Large crowds have always stressed me out, I notice everyone and everything in a room, I hate seeing roadkill, and I cry at sad or happy commercials. Yes, just a 30 second commercial about anything and the water works start. My sister rolls her eyes every time. I can't help it!
Of course when I was a kid I didn't realize it; but I would come to learn that I was a highly sensitive person. Known as HSP or Sensory-processing sensitivity. It's the scientific term for what's also defined as hypersensitivity. And although many don't understand or are even aware of it. This trait is found in 15 to 20 percent of the population.
Studies indicate that HSPs actually exhibit increased blood flow in the areas of the brain that process emotion, awareness, and empathy. Since the advent of research into HSPs, biologists have discovered that more than 100 species of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and even fruit flies, can possess sensory-processing sensitivity.
You might be rolling your eyes and saying that I was just emotional. But that is only one aspect of it. Those who possess highly sensitive personalty traits also pick up on subtle changes in their environment, they notice if you have changed anything in your appearance, if the mood in the room has shifted, they are paralyzed if they have a lot to do, and they do poorly when being observed. Loud noises, large crowds, and bright lights are overwhelming for them and violent images in movies can stress them out. They are deeply moved by music and art because they often have a intense inner world. They are many times empaths that hold a keen ability to sense other people's feelings, needs, and insecurities. This gift makes them great friends and romantic partners but can also leave them depleted and invested in the wrong circumstance.
While a highly sensitive person tends to be friendly, polite, and compassionate; the downside is that they can also be people pleasers. Which has basically been my whole life up until this point. The thought of criticism and conflict is so upsetting that HSPs go through great lengths to avoid it, even if it comes at the expense of their own needs.
A common mistake is for people to think HSPs are introverts, but on the contrary, in fact according to Dr Elaine Aron who coined the term HSPs in the 90's, 30% of HSPs are extroverts. Many times their behavior is misunderstood as introversion.
So are you a highly sensitive person? Yay!!! Me too!!! So here's what's awesome about us!
1. We are masters of emotional intelligence. We pick up on things that less sensitive people do not. We can read between the lines in a situation. Having this trait makes us great entrepreneurs and marketers. Our ability to listen, empathize, and build a bond with people can help us conquer our dreams.
2. We are conscientious. We are use to processing a lot of information. We can easily come up with plans and solutions to complex problems. We tend to be good at details, structure, and organization. We especially love getting lost in ideas. This gift makes us perfect for comprehensive work.
3. We are innovative. We are wired to create. Our vibrant inner world and our curiosities help us ask questions others are too afraid to ask. It allows us to explore the world around us with a finite sense.
4. We are multi passionate. We care about our work, friends, family, and the people in our community. We often combine our varied interests into work that influences the world.
Sometimes the gifts we are given can be problematic when we don't understand them. If you are a HSP you have a unique set of abilities that at first may seem like a burden but once identified and mastered will shape your life for the better. It's an amazing club to be apart of. Welcome to the community.