(HSP for short)
So much could be written about this! If you don’t know what a HSP is, it’s a person who is easily overwhelmed by what’s happening around them; this is because they take it all in, noticing the subtleties that often go unnoticed by others. It’s someone who might be viewed as being ‘over sensitive’ when they feel things deeply and reflect on it when it’s been all but forgotten by many.
HSP’s make up 15-20% of the population, so enough that’s it’s not a rare trait; but not enough to be widely and readily understood.
HSP’s have acute responses to external stimuli and when this stimuli gets too much, they often need to withdraw to avoid complete overwhelm. This can be interpreted as being intense, fussy, irritable, avoidant but imagine taking in so much information, all at once and having very strong responses; it’s exhausting!
If you are a HSP you may have had people suggest you ‘stop being so sensitive’ or to ‘just ignore the noise’ etc but know that being a HSP is innate, you have neural differences!
So if being a HSP is difficult and often misunderstood, what’s good about it?
Well, HSP’s tend to be creative, intuitive and empathic. They see what others don’t, giving a beautiful and original view of the world. Their noticing of subtle changes make them good at sensing roles such as counselling and teaching.
Many will be artistic or musical. People pick up on their empathy and will be drawn to it. HSP’s feel what others are feeling and people will feel like you really get it when they confide in you.
If you want to know more about being, living or working with a HSP, I recommend the following website:
In my own experience, I have been called ‘too sensitive’, told that I take things to heart but once I learnt that being a HSP is innate and scientifically proven I was able to not only relax into it but own it. I experience the difficulties that come with it and I’m still learning to manage that; but I’m also embracing the rich aliveness. To feel everything is to feel pain, but also feel all the good. To be deadened to the pain and overwhelmed would deaden me to the good.
It’s been a learning journey of accepting and enjoying HSP’ness whilst discovering that to best utilise and fulfil this part of me, I need time out to process and reflect. I need space and quiet.I’m getting to know myself; what I need, what I do, how I respond, what I can do in order to function well and enjoy being a Highly Sensitive Person.
In terms of being with others and perhaps being misunderstood or judged, once you know your HSP needs and manage them, being around others is easier for you but also easier for them. Knowing when you need time away, ahead of overwhelm reduces the potential for an overload, lessening negative relational impact.
I think the message for anyone, HSP or not is how can we find ways of being our full, unique self; not hiding but finding a way to integrate our traits. Embracing, not reducing.
Real, messy, accepting, eclectic living.