All my life I’ve felt out of place, even if only a little. In my family, I was the abnormally picky child with an unusually heightened level of physical and emotional sensibilities, comparatively.
Even in my group of friends and associates, I’ve always felt way more aware of the energy in a room or the look on someones face when they were offended (which only multiplied the discomfort when I was the inadvertent offender). Thankfully, these observations came in handy in making a pretty decent mediator during conflict.
On my own, I couldn’t help but notice that movies and songs made me more emotional than the average girl. I related to the content so personally regardless of lack of actual experience. Even music without words had a way of affecting my moods, for better or worse.
It wasn’t until a couple of months ago, at age 29, that I learned about the term Highly Sensitive Persons and what it meant to be one. Much to my relief, there was a name for it and I was not the only one!
You see, the unfortunate thing about being an HSP is that, even though it’s not new, it isn’t exactly a well-known or a widely accepted psychological concept. Not to mention, as an 80s baby and member of the stigmatized millennial generation, heightened sensitivity is still considered a major flaw to many; one that needs correction if there is any hope to surviving our dog-eat-dog world.
Well, it turns out that being an HSP is an innate trait in which the nervous system is genetically hardwired to pick up on subtle changes and stimuli. This means we are born this way and it is not something we need to “fix” or be ashamed of! Much like any other category of personalities, High Sensitive Persons have their own set of tendencies that, while it may make for some aspects of living more challenging, also has it benefits. Here are 7 of them:
1. They can smell danger!
Due to the unique wiring of their nervous system, Highly Sensitive People have heightened senses, including smell. If ever to walk into a space with subtle notes of gas or something burning in the air, an HSP is likely the first to notice and therefore the first to know if it’s time to flee or stop immediately.
2. They are likely more organized.
Clutter can be annoying to the average fellow but disorder can be particularly disturbing to Highly Sensitive Persons. A poorly organized and dysfunctional environment can cause an overwhelming amount of stress so they tend to keep their homes and work spaces neat and conducive to functionality.
3. They have the necessary insight for being a good mediator.
As I mentioned before, HSP are blessed with having intuitive insight. Although tense situations can cause anxiety for an HSP, their ability to understand and empathize with people can make them more aware of the nuances in a conflict and, therefore, more compassionate as well as better equipped for helping reach an agreeable resolve.
4. They understand deep concepts more easily.
HSPs are more reflective and introspective which allows them to see the depth of people, concepts and situations. This is valuable for personal development. However, they must be mindful not to become too obsessive about these thoughts as it will create more anxiety.
5. They are more aware of when their bodies are in need.
HSP are more likely to notice changes in their inner environment just as much if not more than their outer. Due to this, HSPs experience intensified discomfort when they are hungry, thirsty or have other cravings. Although, this can have a negative impact on their mood, they are not as likely to neglect themselves when sustenance is necessary.
6. They experience art and beauty more deeply.
Films, music, good food, art work and pleasant aromas have a more profound affect on HSPs, sometimes even to the point of a physical reaction such as happy crying or other outbursts of excitement. This may be perceived as strange to many, but when in the company of other HSPs, it can be quite the euphoric experience. This is why we tend to see artists (a group usually considered to be more emotional) gravitate towards other artists.
7. They are in their element when being creative.
Speaking of artists, HSPs are very in tune with their inner world which makes being creative very important for them. It’s necessary to have an outlet as HSPs can be withdrawn to avoid over-stimulation. Activities such as drawing, singing, painting, dancing and even formulating strategies can be good outlets for HSPs as hobbies if not careers.
In spite of all the “symptomatic” characteristics that come with being a Highly Sensitive Person, we perceive the world on what, sometimes, seems to be on another dimension from what others do. Although it may sometimes feel lonely, it can also be pretty wonderful; alone or not.