I figured out pretty early on as a child that what I saw and felt was different from what most others perceived. Things were more intense, more colourful, and abstract concepts and emotions felt more tangible. I am what is called a highly sensitive person (HSP).
It’s nothing to be worried about, I am ok…. About 20% of all people have some degree of higher sensitivity. That doesn’t mean that the other 80% are insensitive, it’s just that we have a different filter.
So how do you know if you are a highly sensitive person?
If one of your parents is highly sensitive, you have a bigger chance of also being an HSP as it is hereditary. There are lots of tests out on the internet, but here are some of the traits that are common to people with high sensitivity.
Empathy is your middle name. You are more considerate to other people, as it is easy for you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You value politeness and conscientiousness more than anyone else.
You can’t stand to witness injustice. As an HSP you value truth, honesty and integrity, and you simply don’t understand it if other people don’t live by that.
You are very perceptive and intuitive. You immediately grasp moods and relationships between people when you walk into a room.
All your senses seem more developed and open, leading to both exquisite sensory experiences and feelings of being overwhelmed by them. Bright lights, loud noises, prickly clothing, mosquito bites and bad smells can send you into a rage.
You appreciate beauty more than others. You may be very touched by music, art, nature or another human being.
You take on a lot of suffering of other people and animals, and it is hard to let go. You can physically feel someone else’s pain.
You have a lot of imagination and you are probably a creative person. You often come up with original ideas or out-of-the-box solutions.
You need to have a sense of purpose and are always looking for (the) meaning in (of) your life. Your conversations and relationships are deep and meaningful. Nothing makes you happier than to connect with someone on a deeper level!
As a matter of fact, the most meaningful relationship you can have is probably with yourself! Connecting with yourself is not just an afterthought. Self-reflection can keep you entertained for hours.
As a result, you don’t always thrive in a big group of people. Too many energies, too much sensory input! You need more time for yourself and you probably enjoy solitary activities such as reading, making puzzles and arts & crafts more than big events and parties. Not that you are not social, you just like both and need the one more than the other.
As a child I often felt out of place with other people (and to be honest, I sometimes still do). I cannot begin to explain what travelling does for me (and to me!). But I learn more and more to recognise the signs when I get overwhelmed and to not feel guilty for taking time for myself. Because only when I look after myself I can look after people the way I like to – with my superpowers!