Being overly sensitive can often seem like a detriment, and our culture often supports that. Sometimes we can't see that feeling intensely can be a sort of gift. Annabelle-Caroline Breuer-Udo at YourTango calls it high sensitivity and explains how it can benefit your life.
Being a highly sensitive person is a gift and vulnerability at the same time!
There are many priceless reasons why it is beautiful and why it matters significantly to be a highly sensitive and emotional person in this world. In this article, I will let you know the "why."
Do you know somebody who has a high sensitivity and perception? Have you ever noticed highly sensitive, emotional human natures in your next environments such as the workplace or the circle of friends or family? Or do you wonder if you might be highly sensitive and emotional?
For those who are reading about it here the first time, I'm happy to give a short explanation about Highly Sensitive Persons.
Over 1 billion people around the world are born highly sensitive. The term high sensitivity (HS) or highly sensitive person (HSP) was characterized in the mid-'90s by American psychologist and psychotherapist Dr. Elaine N. Aron.
It is not an illness or a condition. It is an innate temperament trait and a personal characteristic expressed by increased sensitivity and perception. Furthermore, perceived information is experienced significantly more intense. In combination it often appears that people with high sensitivity and high perception also are highly emotional.
They have a physical and emotional sensitivity. In general, the emotional sensitivity is related to the nervous system, and all human beings are sensitive. That means we all get information from our nervous system and we all answer to that information.
The difference between an ordinary, sensitive people and highly sensitive people is that those who have high perception and high sensitivity receive this information from the nervous system in higher intensity and unfiltered compared to those with average sensitivity.
Sometimes I'm asked if being highly sensitive and emotional is the same as being an introvert?
High sensitivity has nothing to do with being an introvert or an extrovert. You may find highly sensitive people who are more introverts, and it might be that some you will meet are more considered as extroverts.
What do they perceive and sense as more intense?
For instance, noises, smells, touches, human emotional behaviors, human emotional connection in relationships, or environmental atmosphere/state of energy.
Highly sensitive people are deep. They love deep conversations. They see the world in a more significant context. It is usual that they start to wonder what's their purpose in life followed by the question "What am I here for on this earth?" very early in their childhood. They often have a deeper connection to nature and tend to be very intuitive and spiritual.
In my experience, I remember that I already wondered about the sense of life and what is my purpose on this earth early in my childhood. Someday I became aware of that my perception of emotions, smells, noises, touches, and my intuition is amazingly high. On other days it was confusing to me.
I doubted myself and my intense sensitivity and perception. I didn't trust myself nor my intuition or my extraordinary perception, and sensitivity for a long time. Instead of owning it, I resisted it, ignored it, and created a separation from my true self as I thought something is wrong with it. I didn't notice the gift in it for quite a long time.
One day, a book about high sensitivity by Dr. Aron crossed my path. I discovered this book and loved it from the very first moment on as it opened the door to discover more about this gift within me. It also opened my eyes and gave me new perspectives.
I started to find out more about this personal characteristic and began to learn a lot about myself. It was the first step to stop resisting my authentic self and to start embracing my true self. My curiosity supported me on that path of exploration, and I developed a greater understanding of inner self and appreciation of myself regarding highly emotionally sensitivity.
From that moment on, I was able to own it and to see it as a gift and vulnerability at the same time. I experienced great learnings!
One of my learnings is going on a date with myself, frequently. In this time, I intentionally pay attention to myself to practice centering. My commitment to my responsibility for self-care is high as well in being disciplined by doing it.
Another learning is cleansing. As I feel intensely, in my body, the feelings and emotions of other human beings and I tend to contain a lot of emotions and feelings of others in my system, I learned to channel them and wash them through my body, mind, and soul system instead of keeping them, staying attached to them, or working them through.
What was helpful to me on that path?
It has been an excellent resource for meeting and having conversations with other highly sensitive people and share experiences, stories, world perspectives with them. Another support was coaching. And it was also helpful to get book recommendations.
Today I'm happy to be conscious about mattering in this world as a woman who owns highly emotional perception and sensation, and I'm aware of the gift of it to bring it into the world and serve the world from that place of vulnerability and gift at the same time.
What are the gifts? Here are wonderful reasons why being a highly sensitive person is a gift:
- Great and strong intuition
- High emotional empathy and capacity of stepping into the shoes of others
- Great listeners
- Strong capacity to see the gaps in systems
- Great hearts — strong, thoughtful mind
- Highly responsible and reliable
- High tendency to name the elephant in a system
- Highly spiritual
- Strong connection to nature
- Strong in noticing emotional imbalances between human beings, in relationships, in families, in groups/teams, and in systems
- Strong sense for beauty
- High regard for justice
- Fast thinker
- Analyze issues with lightning speed
- High degree of innovation
- Special understanding of color harmony, sounds, and music
- Often highly gifted in one or many areas
- Emotionally and deeply connected with friends, partners, family, relatives, nature, animals and planet earth
- Often significantly loyal souls
Often before highly sensitive people become aware of their excellent personal characteristic, they suffer a lot from it and put themselves in a box of victimization.
What is needed to get out of this box?
The first step is to become aware of this personal characteristic and accept and acknowledge it to step out of the box of suffering and victimization.
Then, continue to be curious about it and create a greater understanding of it and yourself. Develop compassion and tenderness for yourself.
Finally, connect with the vulnerable part of it and start to own it as a gift. Step into your great authority of your book of life from this place of vulnerability and gift and start to enjoy life from there.
As important it is to own the gift, it is also essential to maintain self-care as a highly sensitive person. It is significant to take responsibility for yourself and practice to connect to your center frequently. Also feed yourself, fill yourself up and recharge your batteries as much as possible.
Maintaining self-care is high on the list to stay in balance, well energized and healthy. As well to keep the cycle of giving and receiving of love flowing and in balance.
I hope that an average of highly sensitive people own it as a gift and bring it more into the world instead of being dominated by suffering from it.
Having high sensitivity and high emotional perception is a gift and vulnerability at the same time!
Annabelle-C. Breuer-Udo is a Leadership Coach, Relationship Coach, Process Facilitator, Psychotherapist and TriYoga Instructor at Transformation from Inside-Out. Contact her and send an email at email@example.com for information about how coaching, process facilitation, and bodywork can transform your life and make your life feel better and make you achieve greater fulfillment in your relationship.
Check out more great stories from YourTango:
- Overly Sensitive People Are Actually Amazing According to This Study
- How Being a Highly Emotional Person Can Benefit You
- Self-Care Practices For a Highly Sensitive Person