As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) your nervous system is more attuned to the environment than other people. This means you will have a stronger sensitivity to loud noises and smells, you will probably be deeply moved by art and poetry and find that you process events deeply.
Aron (2016), estimates that 15-20% of the population is an HSP. Being HSP is no better or worse than not being an HSP, they are just different, and for an HSP growing up in a family of non-HSPs it can be a deeply painful and invalidating experience.
It is very common for HSP’s to hear:
- “Are you still going on about THAT?”
- “Get over it”
- “You really are too sensitive”
- “That is too loud for you???”
Over time, they often develop a sense of being flawed. That there is something wrong with them. They will then often try to change their natural way of being to avoid making others uncomfortable. Because HSPs know when they are making others uncomfortable. That is one of their gifts.
The key is to know that your experience IS valid and IS NORMAL for HSPs.
This is the time to look back at your life and begin re-framing some of the big events in your life. Was it that you were ‘too sensitive’ or was it that you were ‘more sensitive’ than others and had different experiences and needs to others in your family?
Here are some things to journal if you feel like it:
- How did my family respond to my traits as an HSP?
- How did my friends respond to my traits as an HSP?
- How did I see myself as a child who was an HSP?
- How does the culture I live in value or not value the HSP?
Let me know if this resonates.
Reference: Aron, E. N. (2016). The Highly Sensitive Person. NY, New York; Random House.