In this blog post you will learn about:
- Highly Sensitive People (HSP)
- How is it like to be an HSP
- Why is it so important to express yourself just as you are
The other day I was on the bus and a little magic happened. I have been feeling extremely heavy and “dragged down” over the last couple of years. I’m not going into details now on the reasons behind that feeling, but I just want you to picture me as someone who has a meteor attached to her right foot! Got the picture? So there I was on the bus, carrying that meteor, when suddenly I looked through the window and there was a beautiful sun ready to settle down for another day.
When I fully engaged with feeling the moment instead of perceiving it through my mind’s filters, I suddenly felt light like a feather and as if my body and my mind were now totally merged and floating together in the ether. Of course, tears started streaming down my face, and I honestly let them roll behind my aviator sunglasses.
And then a question came to my mind: when was the first time that I felt this “tight”, as if I was constantly wearing a corset? When did I start denying myself, my emotions, and my feelings? When did I convince myself that it was not ok to be “just me”, this being who embraces the full spectrum of raw emotions?
I’m what researchers now call “highly sensitive person” (HSP) and to explain you what that means nothing better than provide you here with a description I found on Dr Elaine Aron’s website, the author of the book “The Highly Sensitive Person”:
(…) the highly sensitive person has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment. But the key quality is that, compared to the 80% without the trait, they process everything around them much more—reflect on it, elaborate on it, make associations. When this processing is not fully conscious, it surfaces as intuition.
In a nutshell, HSPs feel “everything in every way”. That makes our lives a bit chaotic but it also explains the richness that more often than not we can only convey by putting our creativity to work. According to research, we represent only 15 to 20% of the population. I guess that’s why for me it is always so hard to find people I can deeply relate to and become friends with. HSPs crave those raw, deep connections from the heart.
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However, the social norm most of us have been raised in does not accept or understand the way HSPs perceive and interact with the world. We are often categorised as “shy” and “introverted” people, when actually we just need to have periods of time in which we can disconnect from the wide range of stimuli we face nowadays. And to be honest again… we don’t really enjoy being stimulated all the time. In fact, overstimulation is basically the death of our sanity.
The hardest part, I think, is to make people understand that we feel intensely not by choice but by nature. I now understand too why so many guys couldn’t simply “handle” me. They were half-right when they said that “I am too much”, because I do feel indeed too much. They were also, however, half-wrong, because HSPs have the same right of being as anyone else and we shouldn’t be forced to shut ourselves down just because we use different strategies in life.
Moreover, trying to fit in as an HSP in a world that is currently led by robots-alike can be very draining and destroying. The more we try to fit in by hiding our intense emotions, the sicker we become. The more we convince ourselves that there is something “wrong” with us, the more we despair and the more wounded our core gets. That’s why we need to stop denying ourselves completely and to come clear about our true nature. We are so few that we do need to be each other’s lighthouse.
For more information on my own experience as an HSP, please watch the YouTube video above where I share some more personal details and please let me know whether you would like to learn more about HSPs and the way we “function”. If you think you might be one, say ‘Hi’ in the comments and let’s connect.