7 Things You Need to Know About Highly Sensitive People
Feature Image: @doyennetribe
For those of you who don’t know, a highly sensitive person, or an HSP, is a personality trait that affects approximately 20% of the population, and can be described as someone who feels emotions more deeply than others. Highly sensitive people tend to process our emotions differently than others, which is caused by a difference in our brain chemistry. According to recent research, HSP’s have increased blood flow in the areas of our brains that process emotion, empathy, and awareness. So in other words, no—we are not just being dramatic.
If you’re a highly sensitive person, like me, you may feel isolated and think there is something wrong with you. You may feel as though your range of emotions is affecting your personal life and your relationships. After feeling overwhelmed with how my emotions were affecting my life, I decided to do some research, and I discovered that I wasn’t the only person dealing with this personality trait. (Highly sensitive people exist, and, the odds are, you’ll come into contact with a few of them in your lifetime. So, when you do, please take the following in to mind.
1. We are probably the most emotional people you’ve ever met, but we don’t mean to overwhelm you with our emotions.
We have a strong emotional reaction to both positive and negative situations. Oftentimes, we may burst into tears, sometimes from laughter and sometimes from pain. Watching those we love having a happy moment makes us feel overwhelmed with joy, while watching those we love in pain, pains us deeply, as well.
2. Empathy is second nature to us.
When we say we understand how you feel, it is because we are able to genuinely feel your emotions. We can sense and feel your joy, sadness, anxiety, shock, pain, etc. We enjoy celebrating victories with loved ones, but we also have this grand desire to help lift their spirits, when necessary.
3. We often feel emotionally drained.
Though we enjoy being there for our friends and family during their highs and lows, we oftentimes find ourselves emotionally exhausted. This is especially true during tough times, because we care so much about our loved ones and sympathize deeply with what they are going through.
4. Alone time is very necessary.
Like most highly sensitive people, I tend to be on the go 24/7—moving, working, helping, sharing advice, and more. And because of that, it’s important that I find time for myself to recharge and relax. We enjoy positive, brain-stimulating company as much as we like being alone—and that's okay. Sometimes, we just need our space.
5. Oftentimes we feel misunderstood.
Highly sensitive people are oftentimes negatively labeled as being “too sensitive”. With this label, it can be hard to feel validated in our feelings and emotions. People might suggest that we have better control of our emotions, or that we need to calm down. But, telling a highly sensitive person this will only make them feel worse about themselves. Oftentimes when we feel misunderstood, we tend to isolate ourselves or seek advice from a friend whom we know can understand what we’re going through.
6. Meaningful relationships matter the most
It’s no surprise that working towards meaningful relationships matter so much more to highly sensitive people than surface-level relationships. After all, we’re always looking for the meaning in everything. We crave a deep connection, especially with those we care for the most. Highly sensitive people are very selective with whom they choose to dedicate their time. If the other person isn’t on the same page in terms of working toward a meaningful relationship, then we might feel as though the relationship is a waste of time.
7. We can accept criticism, but sometimes it can affect us negatively
Things people say, especially when it comes from close friends and family, cause a wave of emotions for us. Whether it be something positive or negative, we react with the same force. Harsh criticism can get to us sometimes and when we are in a really negative space, it is easy for us to feel clouded in toxicity.
No, highly sensitive people are not “broken” and do not need to be “fixed”. This is who we are, and the greatest gift our close friends and family can give us is acceptance. Learning to understand us means more to us than bickering about why we shouldn’t be “so emotional”. Let us embrace our strengths, unapologetically.
Highly sensitive people, what makes you feel most validated?