Navigating Life as a Highly Sensitive Person: Embracing Gifts and Overcoming Challenges

Highly sensitive person HSP

Have you ever been told that you’re too sensitive? Do your friends and family sometimes express surprise at how deeply you absorb everything around you and how profoundly you’re affected by people, situations, and events? You’re not alone.

I’m a highly sensitive person and an empath, and it took me a long journey to embrace my sensitivity and see it as a gift. Being highly sensitive comes with both pros and cons. Let me share some of them with you.

1. Overstimulation

When someone mentions the words “party” or “mall,” I immediately feel overwhelmed. While I love connecting with others, the crowd, lights, sounds, and confusion are too much for me to process all at once, leaving me exhausted. The brain of highly sensitive individuals processes every little detail, most of which others may not even notice.

2. Subtle Cues

Highly sensitive people pick up on details, notice changes, and read between the lines of what others are sharing. This is why we prefer conversations with pauses, reflections, and the opportunity to share more, rather than a continuous flow of information. We listen deeply, and this requires time to process. It also means we notice noises, smells, and colors more than others who are less affected by their surroundings.

3. Empathy

Studies suggest that some people have more active “mirror neurons,” making them more capable of empathizing with others’ emotions by simply observing them. Highly sensitive and empathic individuals are undoubtedly part of this group. For me, it’s not just about reading macro and micro expressions; I often feel other people’s feelings in my body. As a child, being an empath was confusing, but now I’ve learned to always ask myself, “Is this my energy/emotion?” Highly sensitive individuals not only read people but are also inclined to help and care for them. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn to take care of our own needs too.

4. Scary or Violent Content? No, Thank You.

I can’t look at violent images without feeling sick and experiencing strong emotional reactions. This is quite normal for a highly sensitive person. It’s the reason I’ve learned to stay informed without watching the news and to decline invitations to movies that I know I won’t enjoy.

5. Conflicts? Possibly, Never.

Highly sensitive people dislike conflicts. My entire body reacts when I walk into a room with tension or find myself in a conflict. It’s easy to see why I avoid conflicts. I’m getting better at taking time-outs or asking for “time to think” when a situation escalates, rather than being a “people pleaser.”

6. Deeply Touched

Highly sensitive individuals are deeply touched by beauty, kindness, and love. Witnessing a gesture of love or compassion can bring tears to my eyes. We are also sensitive to harsh words and criticism, especially when delivered in a negative, insensitive way. It can feel physically painful.

7. Changes? In Small Doses

Travel, new places, new people—so much to adjust to and take in! Usually, highly sensitive people prefer the comfort of their routine and being in quiet environments.

8. Senses

Soft natural materials, delicate smells and colors, calm music—while we are all different, highly sensitive individuals generally appreciate gentleness.

9. Need for Time

There is a need for a time-out, a need for time alone to recharge, and a need to avoid situations with time pressure. When I learned to plan my day, giving myself time, my entire life changed.

Okay, let’s celebrate our greatness.

We are compassionate and kind. We deeply care and are great listeners. We are creative and have a rich inner world. Many artists are highly sensitive individuals. We make great friends because we care about others, and we can help them understand and process their emotions, assisting them in unpacking their experiences.

Do you want to learn more about strategies and tools to deal with overstimulation and the challenges of everyday life?

Book a free call with me—I look forward to connecting with you.

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