HSP : THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON
Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development,
invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.
Edgar Allen Poe ~
One in five people are born highly sensitive or are HSP ~ that means 20% of our population is highly sensitive. Being a HSP means your nervous system absorbs & processes ten times more information than an average person. Your nervous system is more sensitive to subtleties, your brain processes and reflects more deeply, you are prone to over stimulation, get easily stressed out and overwhelmed.
Being born HSP interacts with experiences of trauma in childhood ( due to being misunderstood) producing symptoms of depression, anxiety and shyness later in life.
HSP are born with special antennae to receive subtle signals. Though this is physically & emotionally exhausting, it is also a gift. HSP can comprehend faster, are generally more aware than others of beauty and pleasure, are better able to sense other's moods. HSP know what is needed to improve their environment, take greater delight in Art & Music and are conscientious.
When entering a room, HSP are able to pick up subtle nuances, sounds, smells, energy; sometimes even catch some lingering energy from an argument that happened before they entered. HSP are also very creative, intuitive, artistic and detail oriented; they have stronger emotional reactions, are spiritual, and posses a rich & complex inner landscape. HSP are loving and caring and feel a deep internal connection with people, animals, plants and the earth. Conclude that their spiritual life equals their physical life.
The darkerside of this extreme sensitivity is that they quickly and easily loose footing due to loud noise, harsh light, chaos. Even particular medicines, foods, or smells can throw them off. HSP will need time and rest for recuperation often. It is important to learn at an early age how to protect Self, as HSP are more often than not, extremely misunderstood.
Special gifts such as these bring with them special responsibilities. However, not many people are aware, and a highly sensitive person (HSP) rarely gets recognition. While a HSP needs more comfort and attention than the average person, unfortunately they often get pushed aside without being valued or getting acknowledgment for their positive attributes. HSP quickly get the message that things are not 'normal' according to the ideal, and develop at early age a negative self image. Many HSP hide their true nature and try hard to adjust themselves into our fast paced, loud and chaotic society. Unfortunately HSP will burn out fast and need periods of rest and quietude. Because of 'shame' infested feelings, many HSP live in solitude and therefor it is not a known fact in their circle of family & friends that they are indeed highly sensitive with special needs.
Not much has been written on this subject; many people are unaware and unable to detect and/or aid a HSP. Often when a HSP comes out with their truth, they are ridiculed and considered a nuisance. This shows that the negative aspect of HSP is more on the forefront than their positive attributes.
20% of humanity is highly sensitive. Different cultures have different reactions toward HSP; in Asian culture and Native American Indian culture HSP are regarded much higher than in Western Society. In Western society, outgoing, bold, extroverted personalities are rewarded, while sensitive personalities are treated as a flaw that can be conquered and defeated.
HSP's could contribute much more to society,
if they received the right kind of attention.
~ pioneer in HSP ~ Dr. Elaine N. Aron
With awareness and education (understanding), much can change, and HSP, such as myself can live happier, more peaceful lives and develop deeper, more meaningful relationships. One negative aspect of HSP is that we quickly get into 'overload' mode, because of the many subtle stimulants we pick up, from the outside (sound, light, smell) as well as inside (thoughts, feelings, ideas, memories). We also pick up energies from other people around us, which will exhaust us mentally as well as emotionally.
It is usually the imagination that is wounded first,
rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.
~ Henry David Thoreau ~
Physical symptoms, such as blushing, sweating, heart palpitations, feverish feelings, will often turn into high adrenaline and tightening of muscles. The body then will go into 'fight or flight' mode and produce Cortisol (a stress hormone; the most potent glucocortitoid produced by the human adrenal) which in turn can stop digestion, metabolism ( causing stomach disorders), and other functions ( bone & muscles get weak/fragile, cell regeneration is decelerated). This is the body preparing for emergency. This influence will result in internal confusion and the HSP will often times just 'give up'. Cortisol can also produce feelings of fear. When this goes undetected or gets ignored over time a HSP can become severely depressed.
One of the first things we can do to move forward from this, is to repair our 'low self image' . It is significant to recognize that we have the inner capability to 'cleanse & heal' our selves. Everybody does, not just HSP. There are ways to change thinking and behavior.
By training the mind to move from problematic thinking into visualizing desires, we step away from pain, fear and judgment. We embrace desires and needs, working on what makes us peaceful and happy. As we get older we find our self apologizing less about who we are, developing a sense of pride towards our special gifts. And when misunderstood, we're able to walk away rather than trying desperately to 'convince'.
It is essential to realize that we are responsible for our own feelings and sensitivities, and that we, as HSP, learn to protect ourselves properly against societal ridicule, knowing that we are oft misunderstood and will not be accepted immediately nor unconditionally.
Health is defined as Inner Peace.
Jerry Jampolsky, Author of ~ "Principles for Attitudinal Healing" ~
It is vital that we (HSP) learn to claim quietude to gather our 'self'. We can do this by being concrete about ourselves, for instance when in conversation we can say, "Hold on a minute, let me think about this." or "Give me a moment to gather my thoughts". This will allow time to go inward and breathe, to conclude what we are actually feeling. Effective communication is one of the most important life skills you can learn. For HSP communication is KEY, and taking a moment to gather self is a sign of strength and inner knowing (self knowledge).
It is beneficial to stay centered, balanced at the core, when coming into contact with others, as we are quick to let their energy envelop and overpower our own. We can build a strong centered self by meditation and breathing exercises. Some other activities that have calming & centering effects are gardening, writing, painting, reading, massage, yoga, listening to beautiful music...etc.
A heavy load for HSP is that it is impossible to bypass the energy of others. When I encounter angry people, full of negative energy, I suddenly become negative as well, and often find myself agitated long after I have passed them by. It is therefor imperative to learn to protect 'self ', to find ways to build resistance in handling such situations. Find neutral ground inside the heart, so that energetic information can be processed properly. A HSP who has a strong inner core, a strong sense of 'self' will be able to withstand the energy of others.
Fear & insecurity is another pitfall of HSP. But if/when we change the labels around, in other words start thinking differently, we can embrace the signals as signs of change and we can show gratitude towards self, for the capacity to recognise.
When HSP are paired with non HSP, they find themselves less happy because they demand more depth in their relationship in order to be satisfied, reflect more and therefor worry more. They will also see more threatening consequences in their partners' flaws and behavior. Most people are ignorant to the reality of the drastic differences that exists among nervous systems. HSP are better off partnered with other HSP, as they understand each other better, and are more accepting of the emotionality attached to HSP.
Always go inside 'Self ' , and take inventory of thoughts and feelings. Accept 'Self ' as is, and develop forgiveness and pride. Find ways to control emotion and balance at the 'core'.
~ Always find peace ~ Never dwell in fear or shame ~
~ Don't look for confirmation from others ~
Give your 'Self ' permission to be and LOVE WHO YOU ARE!