Pros and cons of being a highly sensitive person

I’ve told you about the 11:11 theory right? If not go read that article then come back here. Cool? Ok so similarly to my belief in the 11:11, I also belief that the universe has ways of telling you things or showing you things that you’re supposed to see. Recently that’s been the concept of Highly Sensitive People, which first came to the forefront of my mind when the lovely Chloe at New Girl in Toon spoke about it, and since then I’m seeing it referenced everywhere. Which of course, could be the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (or frequency illusion) which I’ve also written about before but I prefer to go with the universe theory. My point being, this is something I absolutely 100% suffer from, and therefore means the universe is telling me to write about it.

Now, since I was teeny tiny, I’ve been told I was sensitive, or more accurately ‘stop being so sensitive’. And yes, I am sensitive. I take things to heart. Thanks to crippling lack of self confidence I can sometimes read too much into throw away comments, or take it seriously when someone makes a joke at my expense, which is very clearly a joke. I worry that they really meant it and are just masking it as a joke. But am I too sensitive?

I’m not a fan of people being described as too anything as it happens; too sensitive, too loud, too fat, too think etc etc. I just don’t think it’s very kind and makes people think that their inbuilt core personality traits are somehow wrong or displeasing in some way. Which is mean. Turns out that an HSP is more than someone who’s just sensitive. Other common traits, and a brief explanation to how it’s so me, are:

  • Being startled easily – I do scare easy, much to Dave’s amusement. He also comments that I’m the only person on earth who physically puts their hand over their mouth when they’re socked. But I think that’s just me being dramatic.
  • Affected by other people’s mood – I am an absolute mood sponge. If I’m in an office and someone I in a bad mood, it automatically puts me in a bad mood too or vice versa.
  • Getting ‘hangry’ if you miss a meal – I get hangry when I’ve just eaten
  • Avoiding violent films or TV shows – YES! I can have something grim described to me in great detail but I can’t watch it with my own eyes. That’s why true crime documentaries are perfect for me.
  • Often overwhelmed – Overwhelmed is the screensaver emotion of my mind. I long to achieve a state where I’m just happily ‘whelmed’.

Now, it’s important to remember that being an HSP is purely a personality trait, it’s not a condition or something that requires treatment. Although there has been some research done which suggests HSPs have a different nervous system so there could actually be a biological reason for being sensitive. But I have some good news for you fellow HSPs – there’s actually lots of positives from being this way.

Highly Sensitive People make great friends; they’re extremely loyal (probably because they’re scared you’re going to leave them!) and they put a lot of effort into most things because they want to please people and be told they do a good job. They’re very in tune with subtle changes in behaviour, simply because they ‘feel it’ and therefore make really good managers. A few years ago I was watching a Q&A with the singer Just Jack and he was asked when he knew a song was ready to be released. He said that he’s never truly happy with anything her produces and always has that niggling doubt but he likes that as it keeps him striving to be better. I loved that analogy and resonated with it completely. Another sign, I think of a highly sensitive person.

In recent times I’ve become much more comfortable in being an HSP. I’ve accepted that it’s something I will never be able to change so may as well lean into it rather than fight it. Someone told me about a year ago that there’s an empowerment in embracing your true self, it’s certainly made me happier and I think there’s an endearing quality to showing vulnerability. Dave often quotes one of our favourite Bowling for Soup lyrics to me which is ‘charisma is the key to opportunity’ to me, citing that it could have been written about me (humble brag). I’ve definitely gotten some amazing opportunities by being myself rather than pretending to be something I’m not.

So I guess what I’m saying if if you’re a self identified HSP like me, try not to worry about it too much, there’s lots f positive qualities that come with it – you’re doing just fine.

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