When we remember and embody the truth of who we really are, life begins to bloom in the most beautiful way. To be a deep feeling, thinking human is a truly beautiful thing. The more I have come to accept and love my sensitivity, the more I have allowed my authentic self to shine through, and connect with so many other sensitive souls. We need a complete paradigm-shift in the way that we think about sensitivity. I for one, want to live in a world where sensitivity is considered a beautiful trait, a strength and not a weakness.
"With the rise in divine feminine, we are also giving rise to our sensitivity along with our deeply empathic and intuitive nature."
Have you ever cried because something is so beautiful? Or had so much gratitude and love in your heart that the only way to express it is through tears? My whole life, I have been a highly sensitive, intuitive + empathic soul. But sadly for most of my life, I did not know what it was. I believed there was something deeply flawed and inherently wrong with me. I could feel a bruised flowers pain. I felt too much. The world overwhelmed me, and I didn't know how to cope with it all.
"The beauty, the pain, none of it in vain." - Chelsea, Aged 12, Journal entry.
I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Over the years I have been told to grow a thicker skin, be more resilient, stop sweating the small stuff and get over it. In fact, I believe at one point I was even brought a book on resilience as a not so subtle hint of my "character flaw." Some of my earliest memories of my sensitive, empathic nature include staying up all night holding a cold washer to my little sisters forehead and singing to her to keep her temperature down. I was five. We used to get possums fall down our chimney and I recall being very distressed hearing their screeches and cries. I could 'feel their pain.' I remember standing in front of the mirror in ballet class and feeling sensitive to the reflection in front of me. I recall being overly conscious of my body from a young age and also of the energy around me.
As a child I had a fascination with insects and nature. I would spend hours outside watching ants and lizards, wondering if the concrete was burning their feet. I could feel when something felt "off." As I result of my acute sensitivity to energy I took on the responsibility of the carer and fixer. It came as no surprise then that my Myer Briggs Personality was INFP (Mediator)
Another memory is of watching the original version of "Oliver Twist." The part that always made me cry was when Oliver was locked in the cellar + he began singing the song about missing his Mum. I cried because I could feel his pain and longing. I also remember the first time I was excluded from my peer group at school and the time I was not invited to a birthday party that all my friends were going to.
I truly believe that high sensitivity, intuition and empathy go hand in hand and I am beginning to see a link in the prevalence of those that have suffered from Anorexia and other Eating Disorders and High Sensitivity. My dear friend and I are beginning to conduct some research around this and I am excited to reveal what we find and perhaps how supporting sufferers to understand their high sensitivity can be included in a holistic approach to treatment. Much more to be revealed on this soon.
One in every 5 people is born with a heightened sensitivity; we are often gifted with great intelligence, intuition, empathy + imagination, but there are also drawbacks. Sometimes we may come across as aloof, moody or shy . Many have struggled to express themselves in a society that is dominated by stoicism and masculine energy. This trait is found in 15 to 20% of the population–too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you. It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species- from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’.
"When women and men alike nurture and love their sensitive nature, we are supporting a new era, a rise in consciousness."
In 2007, I discovered a book called, "The Highly Sensitive Person - How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You." This book was such a blessing in my life, for it was the first time I really began to understand that my sensitivity was not a weakness or something to be ashamed of. What makes it even more great is that the author, Elaine N. Aron is a highly sensitive person herself. She was trained at the Jung Institute in San Francisco + now has a thriving psychotherapy practice. Besides beginning the study of the innate temperament trait of high sensitivity in 1991, she, along with her husband Dr. Arthur Aron, are two of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love + close relationships. They are also pioneers in studying both sensitivity + love using functional magnetic resonance imaging. They developed a test which you may like to try if you have not done so before. I will share the link at the bottom of this post.
Because HSPS prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called “shy.” But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. We are more aware of subtleties to our environment than others. This is mainly because our brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. We are also more easily overwhelmed. Because we notice and feel everything, our nervous system gets easily overstimulated. HSP'S are often highly intuitive, empathetic beings with a knack for 'knowing' when something feels 'off.'
We intuitively know what people are thinking without them having to say anything. This is a blessing and a curse because sometimes we take on way too much energy that is not ours. Learning to filter out and protect ourselves from negative energies is so important and something I will write about soon. Those of us who are sensitive and empathic often feel a deep desire to help ease people's suffering. HSPS have a rich and complex inner life.
We find really loud noises overwhelming and startling. We are highly intuitive. We often get rattled and overwhelmed when we have a lot to do in a short amount of time and often feel the need to withdraw to calm ourselves. We are easily overstimulated by bright lights, strong smells, loud noises + crowds of people. We make it a high priority to arrange our life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations. We have an eye for beauty, and notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art. We were often called a "quiet achiever' by parents and teachers. We intuitively know when friends or loved ones are in trouble. We are often empaths and can feel peoples emotions from a far.
Some Facts About HSPS:
They Feel More Deeply
HSPS feel the full spectrum of emotions. They like to process things on a deep level. We are very intuitive, and go very deep inside to try to figure things out."
They Are More Emotionally Reactive
People who are highly sensitive will react more in a situation. For instance, they will have more empathy and feel more concern for a friend's problems, according to Aron. They may also have more concern about how another person may be reacting in the face of a negative event.
HSPS Need To Be Particularly Discerning Of Who They Allow In Their Inner Circle
It is important for them to be wary of people that drain their energy and for them to find a tribe of like-minded souls who understand, respect and validate their experience. They need people around them who understand and respect their temperament and that sometimes they need to be alone to rebalance their energy.
HSPS Take Longer To Make Decisions
Highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties and details that could make decisions harder to make. Even if there is no "right" or "wrong" decision, highly sensitive people will still tend to take longer to choose because they are weighing every possible outcome. They are also more upset if they make a "bad" or "wrong" decision, as the emotion is amplified because the emotional reactivity is higher.
HSPS Are Extremely Detail-Oriented
Highly sensitive people are the first ones to notice the details in a room, changes to environments, the new dress that you're wearing, or a change in weather. They often have an eye for beauty and are most at home in nature and their own surroundings.
HSPS Need To Feel Safe And Secure In Their Environments At All Times
Perhaps similar to introverts, they need to know that if something becomes to overwhelming or overstimulating they have a way that they can leave. It is even more important for an HSP to take time to recharge, because when they don't they get run down and may even have a relapse into illness. HSPS will thrive in environments that are supportive of their nature. They will often feel out of alignment in environments that are too over stimulating. If they continue to ignore the signs from their mind and soul, the ill feelings will manifest a physical disease.
Not All Highly Sensitive People Are Introverts.
In fact, about 30 percent of highly sensitive people are extroverts, according to Aron. She explains that many times, highly sensitive people who are also extroverts grew up in a close-knit community.
The Effects Of Criticism Are Especially Amplified In Highly Sensitive People
Highly sensitive people have reactions to criticism or peoples judgements that are more intense than less sensitive people. As a result, they may employ certain tactics to avoid said criticism, including people-pleasing, criticising themselves first, and avoiding the source of the criticism altogether. People can say something negative, and a non-HSP [highly sensitive person] can brush it off and not personalise things, where as an HSP would feel it much more deeply. They're probably used to hearing, "Don't take things so personally" and "Why are you so sensitive?" Depending on the culture, sensitivity can be perceived as an asset or a negative trait. This is why it's important for highly sensitive people to put themselves in situations where they won't be made to feel embarrassed, "wrong" or shamed.
They May Have A Lot Of Food Sensitivities And Auto-Immune Diseases
Although the cause of autoimmune disease is unknown, there is a physiological and psychological correlation between Highly Sensitive people and the immune health concerns they may have. Since people who have this trait are easily overwhelmed by their surroundings, the accumulation of toxins, bacteria or virus, chemical irritants, emotional, environmental irritants and daily stress trigger hypersensitivity of the immune system, leaving this group more susceptible to develop a disease that the rest of the population does not have.
HSPS Are More Prone To Anxiety And Depression
"If you've had a fair number of bad experiences, especially early in life, so you don't feel safe in the world or you don't feel secure at home or ... at school, your nervous system is set to 'anxious,'" Aron says. But that's not to say that all highly sensitive people will go on to have anxiety -- and in fact, having a supportive environment can go a long way to protecting against this.
They Have No Tolerance For Violence
Several years ago when I awakened and embarked on my soul path, I began to notice the impact that television, radio and news programmes had on me. Focus on the things you can do to improve your community. Do things that foster your sensitivity such as reading, writing, being in nature, connecting with people on a soulful level.Because highly sensitive people are so high in empathy and more easily overstimulated, movies with violence or horror themes may not be their cup of tea.
That Annoying Sound Is probably Significantly More annoying To An HSP
While it's hard to say anyone is a fan of annoying or extremely loud noises, highly sensitive people are extremely sensitive to chaos and noise. They tend to be more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much activity.
They Have Above-Average Manners
Highly sensitive people are also highly conscientious people, Aron says. Because of this, they're more likely to be considerate and exhibit good manners -- and are also more likely to notice when someone else isn't being conscientious.
Many HSPS Prefer To Work For Themselves
Many highly sensitive people enjoy working from home or being self-employed because they can control the stimuli in their work environments.
Do Not Be Fooled By Their Soft and Gentle Temperament
All HSPS I know have got bucketloads of courage and resilience despite what may have happened in their life.
Here are some great resources:
Elaine N. Arons Books
The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide, By Ted Zeff.
Article: Psychology today- A Guide To The Highly Sensitive Person
With love and new paradigms,
Welcome beautiful. Here you will find the musings of my soulspeak infused with universal truths on love, conscious awakening, ancient wisdom, grace and flow.