The Highly Sensitive Person Part 2

by Dandy

If you have ever been told, “you are too sensitive,” or “you need a thicker skin,” chances are you are a highly sensitive person.  Those of us who are highly sensitive have heard these comments all our lives.  It is very difficult to get a person who is not highly sensitive to understand what it is like to have our kind of experiences.  It would be like asking an elephant what it is like to be a butterfly.  That elephant could spend its long life studying butterflies, maybe even try to get in touch with his inner butterfly self.  An elephant cannot stop ever being an elephant and a highly sensitive person (hsp) cannot stop being highly sensitive.  Some people may view this innate ability as a weakness, because there is no therapy, exercise, or pill to fix it.  There are some of us hs individuals who do not wish to “fix it” anyway.  One reason being is that the non-highly sensitive person can benefit from our compassion.  Compassion is just one of many wonderful traits the hsp possesses.  Other benefits are creativity, intuition, right brain intellect, and strong multi-tasking abilities among so many others.  A person not being able to understand the hsp doesn’t mean that they cannot learn how to treat us with kindness and love.  The example set out by Jesus is proof.  In my opinion Jesus was a hsp and he encouraged and inspired great love and compassion from others. 

Hsp make excellent healers, counselors, advisors, and leaders in part to our intuition and ability to read people.  We pick up on the emotions of others very, very easily.  Hsp have strong artistic, musical, and writing abilities.  We have an appreciation for art, animals, and children.  We can read people by their tone of voice, body language.  We also feel deep, profound sense of justice and fairness, hence the reason why we make great leaders and authority figures.  We have a keen attention to detail and fastidiousness.  We have a strong connection to nature and the spiritual world.  Many people who have psychic abilities are hs.  We revel in peace, quiet, and calm and have the ability to get into deep meditation.  Our relationships are usually deep, meaningful, and can last a very long time, because we are loyal people.  When we fall in love we usually fall fast and hard.

There is a flip side to being hs.  We are easy to hurt and can become quite isolated and cynical.  We are slow to heal from trauma and it is crucial for the hsp to be taught to appreciate and how to work with our sensitive natures.  Since the publication of Dr. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person over 10 years ago, acceptance of the hsp has been gaining in the psychological community and in our culture.  There are now educators, therapists, psychologists, and life coaches who specialize in working with hsp.  More and more books are being written to help people who are highly sensitive.  If you have a hs child, you owe it to them to educate yourself about this, especially the younger they are.  It may even take a hsp to point out that a child is hs to a non-highly sensitive parent.  It is also important for the hs child to appreciate their unique traits and learn how to keep themselves from being overwhelmed.  Children often do well with yoga and meditation.  It is important to not label them as overly sensitive.  There is no such thing as being overly sensitive.  There is such a thing as a sensitive person being overwhelmed with too much stimuli, and unable to handle it.

I remember as a child the noise and chaos of my 1st grade classroom.  One particular day the high-pitched voices, overly bright lights, the heat of the classroom, the noise coming from a record player in the background became all too much.  I needed a moment to put my head down in all this stimulation.  So that’s what I did.  I covered my arms over my head to block out the excessive stimuli.  I see now that what I was trying to do was center myself, only of course being 6 years old, I did not have the vocabulary to explain my needs.  My teacher Mrs. Johnson was worried I may be ill.  She brought in another teacher to see about me.  I couldn’t explain myself to them.  But having these 2 large adults stand over me made me feel there was something wrong with me.  None of the other children needed a break from the chaos like I did.  I felt alone.  It was the first time in my life I felt defected.   Fortunately with Dr. Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person these situations do not have to happen.  I believe it should be a required read for every teacher.

It’s taken many years for me to realize that being a highly sensitive person really, truly is a gift.  By no means is it a defect.  I was just surrounded by people who didn’t understand it.  I love having insight into problems that others do not seem to have.  I love having a perspective that others do not.  I love hearing from people, “oh, I didn’t think of it that way.”   Many, many times in my life I’ve been told I have a strong and unique insight.   So despite the hurtful and confusing moments of my early years, I would not change being a hsp.  I choose to see the pros over the cons.  I’ve stopped apologizing for being sensitive.  I’ve honed in on my gifts and am aware of how it benefits me and others.

The world needs all sorts of people.  We need the straight talking, tell it like it is sort.  We need their tenacity and strength.  People who don’t need to contemplate and deliberate, they get in and get the job done.  Those are wonderful qualities.  The world needs the sensitive types as well.  We need insightful people who just seem to “know” things.   People who bring forth great compassion and understanding.  The world is complex and so are the people who are in it.  Isn’t it extraordinary?

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17 Comments to “The Highly Sensitive Person Part 2”

  1. Hi Dandy,

    Wow! Awesome post my friend. Exactly my friend hsp are more compassionate there is no doubt about it. They are more empathetic as well. We are really more sensitive to others, but the trick is not to let this sensetivity affect us in a negative way. For example, being hsp myself, I used to be too sensitive in the past to what people say about me, but now since I’m in the personal development field, I have overcome this. It doesn’t mean that now I’m less sensitive, what it means is that I don’t let the fact that I’m “too sensitive” affect me negatively. I do this by simply choosing to interpret the situation in a positive way. It is not easy to be able to get to this point as it took me many years, but as everything in life, practice makes perfect.

    Also personally I believe that hsps tend to be more emotionally intelligent than the average person.

    Thanks Dandy for this excellent post 🙂

    • Hi Dia,
      Oh, I couldn’t agree more with you! Yes, it is about balancing our emotions and having mastery over our emotions, not about being less sensitive. That’s like asking a strong person to not be so strong! It’s a great asset to be an hsp. Choosing to interpret comments in a positive way is important. We don’t have to succumb to the negative comments we recieve. We can tell ourselves positive things out of it. I’m glad you have found a way that works for you to be a healthy hsp! It sounds like it has really benefited your life! Take care Dia and have a very happy new year!

  2. Dandy,
    Another great read! Like the first one, I felt many “ah ha” moments as I was reading your info. I am now compelled to read the entire book, it really sounds like it is facsinating and made you think!

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday! We came home and were SNOWED OUT from our driveway and walkway! Took 1/2 hour to even get into our drive!
    Happy New Year friend!
    Jen (Little Lessons Under the Big Sky)

    • Hi Jen!
      I’m so happy you liked my post and found it helpful. You will not regret reading Dr. Aron’s book. She also wrote a book titled, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love. Wow! That one was so helpful to me! Amazing.

      I did have a nice holiday! Yes, the snow buried us too. I did alot of shoveling, but that’s ok since it helped to burn away the holiday calories! That’s Montana for you! Happy New Year to you and your family!! Take care Jen!

  3. Hi Dandy,

    I have been waiting in anticipation for this post and it is finally here! 😀

    I guess the reason I am drawn to this post is because I am INFJ and sensitive by nature. I am not sure if that makes me a HSP, but at least I can relate and have been told before that I am sensitive. But over the years I have learned to change the way I think and to detach myself from my ego so I am less sensitive today than I was in the past. I guess a HSP needs to learn to master themselves first before they can access all their wonderful gifts. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive, we are more aware of minute changes that way. But it does become a problem if we cannot control this sensitivity.

    I agree that Jesus may well have been a HSP. But he is an example of a HSP who had mastered his potential. He was in control of his emotions and nature. This allowed him to have the success and impact he did on the world.

    It is as you say, I have many of those qualities that a HSP has. I suppose this is why I have chosen the name “Vizier” or advisor for myself. But of all those qualities the one that has fascinated me the most is intuition. And I have devoted the last 7 years of my life to developing this ability through divination. I must say it is amazing to be able to enhance my intuition in this manner and to know how things will turn out before they do. Even today, I am still amazed at how it is possible to know things before they happen when it was logically impossible. But it is also this very skill that has helped me to help others by guiding their actions so that they will have favourable results. To know that I have made a positive difference in the lives of others and helped them to avoid costly mistakes in career, relationships and in general is one of my main purposes here on Earth.

    Mastering our nature is important and as you have rightly pointed out, yoga and meditation helps. I have also been heavily influenced by ancient heroes and war. It is not because I like war per se. I may have used to enjoy reading about glory and warfare when younger, but after almost 20 years of doing so, I am 30 this year, I see the futility behind it all and my heart always feel heavy when I watch or read about this subject. But I know this is the way of the world because of human nature. The only way we can have peace is to prepare to defend it through war if need be, although I hope never to see one in person. The point of all that is that I have schooled myself to think in a pragmatic and realistic way and that has helped me to master myself in a way. Only in this manner and with this mindset, am I in a position to use my compassion in the best possible way to make a difference in the lives of those around me and contribute as one minor player in the larger scheme of things.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post! 😀

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving!!
      Wow, thanks so much for sharing that with me. I like what you say about schooling yourself in pragmatism has helped you to master yourself! I can see how that would only make one more compassionate. Only by being a realist can we balance ourselves. It is so very important to master our emotions. Especially for sensitives. I’ve seen people become “crippled” by not mastering their emotions and it is tremendously sad.

      Thanks for letting me into your world Irving! You are such a facinating person and I learn alot from your blog! I hope you have lots of happiness and peace in 2011! Take care friend!

  4. Ah, the second part has arrived! You’ve kept the suspense going well for this Dandy, fair play to you 😉

    It’s amazing how your perception can change how you treat others. As I said in the comments in Part 1, I believe myself to be a HSP; in my younger years I was pretty much shy and bashful, unable to talk to many people because I was afraid I’d be scorned by them. I’ve changed drastically since then, but I still use those memories to spur me on to greater things.

    And that’s what everyone must do; not dwell in the past and wish for a better childhood, but use your experiences and memories to grow into a stronger and more mature person. The more that people accept that what is done, is done, then the more people can let go. And focus on what’s in front of them.

    Thanks for sharing Dandy, I wish you a happy and healthy 2011 🙂

    • Hi Stuart!
      Thanks so much for your comments and support. I’m happy you found this post informative. Yes, it is important to accept the past for what it is and move on. Defeat is mostly a choice. Maturity is being able to let go. Thanks so much Stuart. Have a wonderful 2011! Take care!

  5. Hi Dandy! I love your saying “The world needs all sorts of people.” It’s great when we can understand and accept each other without labels or agenda. Simply meeting each other with compassion and love.
    Thanks for continuing to enlighten us regarding hsp since I believe most of us were not aware of it. Great job, sweetie!
    May you have a gorgeous 2011 with much love, health, and laughter!

    • Thanks so much Andrea! You made my day:) Thanks so much for all the support you have shown me. I look forward to 2011! I wish you lots of love and happiness in 2011!!

  6. I had not heard of the idea of the HSP prior to reading this.

    It makes perfect sense though, I think we are all wired to sensativity to varying degrees, both from nature, and environment.

    Thanks for this post, it was really nice!

  7. Dandy! I love this article!

    I too am a sensitive person and it has only been in the last 12months that I have accepted that I am ‘different’ – years and years have gone by with me struggling to make myself fit in (i.e. put up with noise, toughen up etc).

    What I love about being sensitive is the inituitive way I have with people – I tend to resonate with whatever ‘energy’ a person is giving out and can therefore ‘connect’ with the person more quickly and at a deeper level.

    Sensitives are wonderful people!

    • Hi Juanita,
      Thanks so much for reading my post on HSP. I remember reading about HSP and feeling like everything was clicking into place. It answered so many questions for me. I too resonate with the energy other’s carry. This has it’s down-sides and up-sides. Learning to balance and manage my sensitivities has really improved my life. Thanks for checing out my blog! I’d love to hear from you again! Take care.

      ~Dandy

  8. that’s quite and important topic you wrote about dandy, i think you are helping a large number of people feel better by your post, keep it up 🙂

  9. Yes…”Wow!”

    I agree with Dia!

    What an awesome post!

    I can tell that you are a very kind, so I thought I’d check out what else you have had to talk about. I left a comment at Sibyl’s last post right under your comment. I talked about Helen Fisher’s Personality Test…have you read her book? The “Negotiator” has so many of the qualities that you mentioned regards HSP. Man! so much of the above is me! It is comforting to know that the way I am is not so unusual. I have fallen hard and deep in love…and when the bond was broken became isolated and devastated. I havn’t been able to commit to another for 10 years now. I have tried but seem to mix things up. Helen Fisher mentions how this happens with the likes of the me and what looks like the HSP.

    Your childhood made me think about my youngest daughter. I was a YMCA youth soccer coach for about 4 years. I remember my daughter how she would withdraw out on the field… like you did. She is older now, but I can still see these HSP traits in her. Heck I have had them all my life so why will they change with her?

    Record player in the classroom? Just how old are you anyways?

    I won’t tell you the title of the first record that I owned.

    I will save this page or copy and paste what you wrote.

    Thanks so much Dandy!

    Rand

    • Hi Rand,
      I will definately check out the book you suggested. It sounds facinating. As far as the record player, I was in first grade in the late seventies. That should let you know how pre-historic I am. Ha, ha! I’m so happy you like my blog and the post on HSP helped you out. It’s great when we stop feeling like there is something wrong with us, and start to appreciate our distinctiveness. Thanks Rand! I hope you will find my future posts just as helpful! Take care!

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