“Don’t overthink so much”, “you’re too sensitive”, “why do you feel so much” – Sounds something you hear often about yourself?
A Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP, is a term devised by psychologist Elaine Aron. According to Aron’s theory, HSPs are a part of the population who are high in a personality trait known as sensory-processing sensitivity (SPS). HSP is a term for those who are thought to have an increased or deeper central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. (Botenberg.S,2016). While highly sensitive people are sometimes negatively described as being ‘too sensitive’, it is a personality trait that brings both strengths and challenges.
Am I a highly sensitive person?
Your state is easily influenced by your environment.
You feel a sense of responsibility for things that aren’t solely determined by you.
You have a very rich and deep “inner world”
You get emotionally drained from dealing with other people’s feelings.
You get distressed by drama, cruelty or violence much more than those around you
You react strongly to criticism, become physically and emotionally overstimulated more easily than others do.
You may score highly in sensory processing sensitivity.
You may also feel as if you have a higher capacity for empathy and are quite sensitive to others’ moods.
Empathetic individuals are often co-dependent. This is because they are impeccable people-readers- reading others’ feelings, their needs, the energy of whatever room they walked into, and be able to access quickly who they needed to be, to ensure being liked, accepted and approved of. They feel responsible for the happiness of others, or at least acutely aware of it when negative emotions are floating around.
If you know how to manage the unique features of being a highly sensitive person, you can make it more of a strength and less of a challenge. You can look at the positive side such as having closer relationships with others and being more grateful for the life you have. While the highs can be joyful, the lows can be challenging – that can affect your relationships, your anxiety, stress and the overall ability to cope. Thus, it is important for you to manage your feelings in difficult situations to ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed.