THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON (HSP)
Being sensitive is a superpower but it doesn't always feel that way.
Is it possible to thrive in an overwhelming world, and how can therapy help?
Being highly sensitive means that you feel very deeply.
You might be someone who feels emotions—both joyful ones and difficult ones—very strongly. You may even absorb other people's energies and feels them almost like your own. You often notice very subtle details that others may not, like facial expressions or other nonverbal cues. You often find yourself feeling drained after a long day out or a stimulating experience (think: concerts, all-day excursions and more). At its best, you're appreciated for your empathy and keen eye for details. However, you may have also been told that "you're too sensitive" and to "toughen up." Others may have written you off as "shy."
This is a common struggle for HSPs. Often, they feel out-of-place around family and friends who don't seem to notice as much or be overwhelmed in the same situations. HSPs may be struggling to know if they are in the right career or if there is another field better suited for their particular temperament. Life as a misunderstood HSP can often be a lonely, confusing experience—one in which they're left wondering if something is wrong with them.
Your sensitivity is a superpower and needs to be better understood.
You are not alone or abnormal. According to psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron, who has been studying high sensitivity since 1991, 15%–20% of the population are highly sensitive! Her research shows that there are 4 defining traits (D.O.E.S.) that make a HSP different—and powerful.
Depth of processing
Emotional Reactivity & Empathy
Sensing the Subtle
What her work also tells us is that we can turn what's been perceived as a liability or weakness... into a strength. Therapy is a place where you can slow down and actually get to know yourself better. It's a place to safely process the impact of being told "you're too sensitive" your whole life. With greater understanding and self-compassion, you can stop trying to fit yourself into other people's boxes and instead:
Develop deeper, more meaningful relationships
Find work or a career that is meaningful to you
Design a life that allows you to actually rest and recharge
If you're wondering if you might be a highly sensitive person, you can take Dr. Aron's self-test or read more about these characteristics. If you are curious about therapy, contact me for a free consultation below.