Do you suspect you are a Highly Sensitive Person?
Might this trait be an unknown piece of the puzzle to how you operate in the world?
Have you ever wondered why you feel so much? About everything? Do you easily become overwhelmed? Do you take in information way ahead of people around you? Do you suddenly just know things? Do you crave beauty, kindness, and peace in frequent doses? Then you may very well be amongst the 20% of us who are coded with the highly sensitive trait. Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) can be your superpower! And as always with super-powers, it comes with a twist…
Photo: Zacharova Caetano
Yes you guessed it. I am a highly sensitive person (HSP), a highly sensitive among the highly sensitives at that! I laugh at it and shrug now, it´s my blueprint. I am learning to cherish, dance and navigate with it more skillfully. If you want to learn more about this trait, whether you are HSP yourself, or someone near you have this trait. Read on.
HSP is not a disorder. This trait has evolved over time, more as a survival strategy of populations, and offered greater sensitivity and responsiveness to environmental and social stimuli. People with this trait developed abilities back in the days that helped them be good at finding food, mates, and a safe place for the tribe to live. Researchers have found this trait in over hundred species on the planet so far, equally divided between genders, and also found that over seventy percent of HSPs are introverts.
So, this information is mainly collected from Julie Bjelland´s vast knowledge, from the field of psycho-therapy. Her site is a great resource if you want to know more about the HSP-trait. About 30 years ago psychologist Elaine Aron pioneered research in the field of HSP. She summarized the HSP trait with the acronym DOES, which stands for depth of processing, overstimulation, emotionally responsive, and sensitivity to subtle stimuli.
There are certain challenges (ok, many!) associated with being a highly sensitive person. For example, we may experience more overstimulation, depletion of energy if we take in too much, and we often feel misunderstood and different than others, especially because we are the minority, and experience the world sometimes very differently than the majority of people. We also tend to have increased awareness, be more intuitive, more empathetic, and feel things more deeply than many.
One perspective on HSP is that it´s like having a supercomputer-brain where we are downloading and processing more information than eighty percent of the population. There are different levels of sensitivity that people experience, so thinking about things in terms of the physical senses may mean that we need to adjust the lighting around us, we may be more impacted by smells, noises, textures, or tastes, than others. We also tend to be more drained by the collective energy from other people, large, noisy crowds especially.
HSP know thyself:
I have learned the hard way, it took me forever to figure this out, admit that I was highly sensitive, I mean. This trait demands self-care and discernment. Lots of it. It´s a journey to fine-tune how you best operate, for yourself, and for those around you. Luckily for us, there are increasingly more resources out there, and if you want a generous, non-judgmental, and organized, site; I recommend Julie Bjelland – Sensitive Empowerment. Take Julie´s quiz, and learn more about how you operate.
I find being a highly sensitive person, learning more about what works for me and what does not, gives me an advantage in making better decisions, who to say yes to, and when to say no. I find that HSP is a bonus as a coach, since I am highly intuitive, sense deeply, have a highly developed BS-detector, and care passionately about clients´ progress. If you are curious, feel free to book a 30-min. coaching conversation so I may get to know you a little, and for you to experience how I coach.
” Highly sensitive beings suffer more but they also love harder, dream wider, and experience deeper horizons and bliss. When you’re sensitive, you’re alive in every sense of the word in this wildly beautiful world. Sensitivity is your strength. Keep soaking in the light, and spreading it to others “
— Victoria Erickson, repost from Julie Bjelland´s site.