Did you ever get told several times in your life “Don’t be too sensitive”, “You’re too quiet” or “Don’t take it personally”? In those moments, did you feel affected inside, as if something isn’t quite right? The thing that is important to remember is that there is nothing wrong with being a sensitive being. In fact that’s exactly what makes us human. Highly sensitive people tend to care much more, think more deeply and are very aware of their environment. A highly sensitive person (HSP) is not necessarily an Introvert. A large proportion of people are introverts, but there is a percentage of extroverts who identify as an HSP. There are many factors (than what I’ve listed here) that indicate whether you are an HSP. Please feel free to list some below and share with other HSP’s :)
Being more sensitive to others words about you. When I was younger, I took others words more to heart than I do now. If someone told me I was too “insert label” or gave me criticism, I felt easily offended. Even till today sometimes I feel it difficult to be spoken by people who are more commanding and domineering. But when I speak with people who are incredibly kind and gentle, I feel much more comfortable.
Finding a connection with self expression and creativity. Many HSP’s have a hobby or creative outlet to express themselves. As we tend to have many emotions that we don’t always outwardly express. These outlets could be in writing, drawing, playing sports, dancing or designing.
Analysing situations and noticing things others don’t. Have you ever had a conversation where you felt it didn’t go quite as you wanted it to? Perhaps you rewinded back to what you were saying and wondering if what you said was taken correctly and didn’t offend the person. Other things are noticing peoples facial expression or how they move, and really analysing how they are expressing themselves in correlation with what they are saying.
You believe in having good manners (although not all the time). Most of us don’t want to have any conflict. We also know that we would want to be treated politely, and so in return having good manners is something that many HSP’s value. Although, sometimes I might be having a bad day and won’t want to say thank you to the cashier or smile at a stranger.
Overcrowded place and noisy environments make you uncomfortable. The number one places that can bother me is central city, rush hour and a crowded restaurant. If I am with someone I love and am close to, I can get by. If you notice your breathing quickening – that is also a sign of over sensitivity to your surroundings. Remember to practice deep breathing in those times.
Empathy is one of your strengths in connecting with others. As a highly emotional person, you have an understanding of different emotions. You may also be a good listener, and find that people (although not always), may be comfortable to share personal things to you. It may be due to your caring nature or your ability to give good advice.
Negativity is something you want to avoid. Anything negative seems to send a cold uncomfortable shiver down my spine. It doesn’t just make your mind feel bothered, but your body reacts as well. Your muscles may tighten, your breathing may change and your sensory levels are heightened.
Having alone time in your own quiet space. Being in silence really puts me at peace with myself. At home, I’m not over stimulated by anything, and can quietly be in my own thoughts, or enjoy watching a film, book or article without any noise.
You may love imagination, nature and creativity. Many HSP’s feel connected with nature and animals. A sense of compassion and sensitivity can make us feel closer to the Earth and feel loving towards animals. Being imaginative and drawn to creativity is a wonderful way of expressing the colourful and vibrant world inside of ourselves.
Becoming easily stressed when there is too much going on. Many HSP’s are good at focusing on one task at a time, because we tend to be detail-orientated. When life gets stressful, whether that is interacting with people we’d rather not, having a busy schedule or feeling extremely uncomfortable in a place you cannot escape – it can cause us to feel extremely stressed.
Your teachers always wrote “She’s too shy/quiet and needs to participate more”. Most teachers wrote this out of care, because it is good to encourage speaking up and opening up more. Although, sometimes teachers can emphasise too harshly that being shy or quiet is not good, which may cause HSP’s to feel there is something wrong with themselves – when that isn’t the case at all.
Prone to cry or feel emotional about certain things. I cry a lot more than most people. During a month I will cry at least once, even if I am happy but mostly if I’m sad. People, films, situations, music or whatever it may be can cause me to feel very emotional and feel very deeply.