Have you ever heard the term “you’re way too sensitive” or “why are you so sensitive” or words to that effect directed toward you?
First of all, I just want to say that I’d like to find the person that measures what “too sensitive” is exactly. It’s a purely subjective phrase, however it has taken down many tenuously confident sensitive people. It implies the idea that there’s something wrong with being sensitive. Everyone is sensitive to a degree. It’s time we accept all the variations. After all, how much sensitivity is too much?
Much too common is the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) who doesn’t understand why they seem to be so different to most people. Many don’t feel like they fit in with their peers, their family or society in general. Many then blame themselves, that something must be wrong with them. So very often, they do their best to try to fit in and sometimes in doing so, they are not allowing themselves to be authentic.
Notable psychotherapists, such as, Dr. Elaine Aron, Ph.D, have done many studies into the common traits of highly sensitive people. She began her research on herself and branched out, seeing that there was a common theme. She found that approximately 20% of people show common traits of being highly sensitive.
So how do you know if you might be highly sensitive? Here are 5 clues to help you discern, however there are many more.
1. “Cry baby!”
Maybe you grew up hearing statements like that. Or was it, “You’re such a suck!” or “You’re scared of everything!” or “What’s wrong with you?” Maybe you’ve even asked yourself that last one, at one point or other. Growing up as highly sensitive can feel harsh. Even if your family encouraged sensitivity, chances are most peers and schools in North America didn’t. So you may have felt good about yourself going in to school, yet you could have come out feeling much different.
2. Feeling sensory over load
Loud noises, different textures, bright lights, large groups of people all stimulate the senses and to someone whose highly sensitive it can be extremely uncomfortable. So much so that they’ll either excuse themselves or be highly agitated if they’re attempting to withstand the stimulation, especially if they don’t understand what’s causing their agitation.
3. Sensing others’ emotions
It’s one thing to feel your own emotions very deeply, which HSP’s also do, and yet another thing to feel other peoples’ emotions as well. How often have you realized you’re feeling down in some way, without any particular reason? It could be you’ve absorbed someone else’s feelings. Once understood, this can help you refine your gift as empathy. People seem naturally drawn to HSP’s to confide in them their troubles. You also sense a deep connection to animals and the Earth. Without understanding and learning how to utilize these empathic gifts, the highly sensitive person can feel like they’re swimming in a sea of emotions unable to find the shore.
4. Digestive problems or fatigue
With all of these signs, sensory overload, absorbing others’ emotions, feeling like you don’t fit in, it’s no wonder there may be digestive problems or fatigue. It can be exhausting to deal with all of this without understanding it and how can you digest life when you don’t understand it. Knowing that you are not the problem can be a great relief and first step in managing your life better.
5. You are very creative and imaginative
Everyone is creative in some way and there are so many avenues of creativity, however, your inner life is very rich. Colours come to life, you sense movement in dance deeply and the vibrations of music move you. Creativity is your outlet. It’s where you thrive and feel at home. Great works of art or a brilliant piece of music can bring you to tears while reflecting on it.
Famous Highly Sensitive People
I’d like to remind HSP’s that they share company with various people who rank luminary status, like geniuses, revolutionaries, artists, writers, designers, musicians, actors and more. Notable people like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Ghandi and Princess Diana. Actors recognizing they are highly sensitive are Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Beals, Scarlette Johansson and Winona Ryder. Musicians like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Celine Dion, even Mozart are recognized as being highly sensitive. Writers Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman can also join the fun. So you can see, there is nothing wrong with sharing this trait.
There are many more, well respected highly sensitive people, who have shown tremendous courage to put themselves in the public eye, as well as many whose contributions to society have been much quieter. I say tremendous courage because for a highly sensitive person, it can feel like the hardest thing for them to be around the noise and commotion that can go with the territory of a public persona. Not to mention the emotions that come up when being criticized in a crass way.
Highly Sensitive Children
This list doesn’t comprise the entire range of traits that highly sensitive people can share, however it is a start in considering that maybe there’s really nothing “wrong” with you and that your sensitivity is actually a unique gift. Understanding yourself this way can also help in understanding the highly sensitive children that are making their way through the school systems and challenges with peers now.
Many of these children are also classified with the terms of being Indigo, Crystal or Rainbow children. They each come with their own highly sensitive blessings to share with this world.
So the next time someone says you’re “way too sensitive”, choose your own perspective through which to view the statement. Look at it as a compliment. Be pleased with yourself, regardless of their intended meaning. Know that you bring softness to this often harsh world. Celebrate You!