Highly sensitive people (HSP) are a gift to mankind. Though often perceived as broken or weaklings, they are actually more intuitive, have deeper levels of empathy and carry with them the profound capacity to truly feel. Highly sensitive people are not damaged goods. They possess the ability to resist society’s attempts at desensitization and have remained open, compassionate and alive instead of being cold and numb.
Research shows that rather than just being a personality type, like being shy or outgoing, high sensitivity is defined as having a hypersensitive nervous system. Heightened sensitivity makes a person acutely aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.
I can hear you asking, “but isn’t my personality a product of my genes?” And the answer to that question is yes and no.
To understand this question we first must understand that the essence of who we are is comprised of two parts: temperament and personality.
Simpy put, temperament is an art canvas and personality is the painting on the canvas. The primary point is that personality can be changed and is constantly evolving but temperament remains the same.
High sensitivity is a result of one’s temperament and is reflected through their personality.
Studies revealed that the key difference between hypersensitive individuals and those who aren’t is the brains of HSP’s are able to process everything around them. They are able to reflect, elaborate and make associations quicker and on a deeper level than non-HSPs. This processing is not always fully conscious and surfaces most often as intuition.
The brains of the highly sensitive are hyper-processing, assimilating, evaluating and synthesizing information all of the time. This is what causes them to become overwhelmed, feel tired and explains their tendency to withdraw for periods of time. They need a break.
Now that you understand this issue a little better you can begin to take steps to cope with it. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are or know a highly sensitive person:
“…to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the highly sensitive person who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” — Anthon St. Maarten