Flourishing with Sensory Processing Sensitivity
I recently returned from a family reunion. It was a week laced with rich moments. I should also tell you by day three I felt desperate to disappear from the mammoth group. I found myself sitting in the cabin googling: hsp/family reunions. The following article popped up. Although many of us are familiar with these challenges it did my head good to read them again. Thank you Elizabeth for reminding me I am different and how difficult different can be.
Ten Challenges of an HSP’s Daily Grind
A highly sensitive person experiences day to day life very differently than someone who is not highly sensitive. Prior to discovering research on the trait of high sensitivity, I thought something was wrong. It was implied by those around me who were not highly sensitive that something was wrong. I didn’t understand why I was different or why I reacted differently to certain situations. The following is a list from my perspective on the challenges that HSPs may face during their daily routines:
1. An HSP feels everything around them. This includes the unspoken emotions and intents of others. They are likely to become irritated and overwhelmed when there is a lot of activity or people in the same room. This may unintentionally come across in their body language.
2. An HSP is often physically and emotionally tired. Perhaps this is from thinking too much, absorbing everyone else’s energy, being a natural insomniac or a combination. This means they likely won’t have the energy to go out after a day at work or they may need more downtime by themselves at home. They may not have the energy to talk at the end of the day because all of the energy they’ve absorbed is still swirling inside them and they need time alone to process and divulge. This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as anti-social or depressed. Being physically and mentally tired may mean they are more likely to need to take naps or sleep longer than others.
3. An HSP often has trouble discerning what they want versus what someone else wants. They are easily influenced by the energy of someone else’s presence and may need to “get away” from that person in order to respond to them with their own thoughts and convictions. Others shouldn’t take this personally.
4. An HSP is able to intuit more than others. This means that they instinctively know things that others wouldn’t without asking questions. They also pick up and learn quite a bit by observing and then reflecting. This may make them seem more withdrawn, uncommunicative and possibly uninterested. Usually this isn’t the case.
5. An HSP often absorbs themselves in learning and can at times seem to “become” what they’ve learned. This comes from the innate ability to transcend themselves, a technique often used by actors to portray a character. This doesn’t mean that they actually want to become what they’ve learned. They do get bored easily and have a thirst to continue grasping new concepts.
6. HSPs often don’t believe in their abilities, at least in Western societies. Perhaps this comes from Western culture’s preference of the “warrior” type personality. They have difficulty with compliments, don’t see the results of their talents as anything special (it is “normal” to them) and at times will have difficulty following through with their ideas.
7. HSPs have a tendency towards emotional downspirals or “depression.” They experience emotions more intensely than others and are often surprised and overwhelmed by the intensity. They also have difficulty discerning between their emotions and the emotions of others. It can seem as though someone else’s emotions are their own. However, this doesn’t mean they actually are depressed.
8. HSPs are easily irritated by the little things, such as hearing neighbors close and open doors, the sound of music playing from a car driving by or through the walls of their home. To an HSP, even the slightest noise can be disturbing and magnified. They are also easily irritated by the small inconsiderations of others, such as other drivers following too closely or others pushing past them in a store. They may find themselves reacting in a frustrated manner, which may come across as rude and mean to those around them.
9. Introverted HSPs hate small talk. They don’t find it interesting and it can actually be almost impossible for them to do it. They would rather have philosophical, deep conversations. This can make them appear unapproachable. They are anything but.
10. An HSP has an intense desire to help and please others. They become so absorbed with what others expect that they forget about or are completely unaware of what their needs are. They take criticism from others harshly, which can result in immediate withdrawal. They have difficulty standing up for themselves and often overlook the devious intentions of others. This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as weakness, for they often have an inner strength that surpasses that of those less sensitive.
Written by Elizabeth from the blog: Inside the Mind of a Highly Sensitive Person
A song I bet an hsp penned. The video is quirky but the lyrics and wisdom are gold.
“Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out.”
― Deb Caletti