At least twenty percent of all people are highly sensitive. If this is you, then being highly sensitive will most likely be both wonderful and challenging, a source or delight and inspiration, and of difficulty and pain. It is something you will be, to some extent, for the rest of your life.
I would describe myself as a very highly sensitive person, and have been on a long and curious journey with my own innate nature. It’s been an interesting ride, sometimes a very bumpy, intense and perplexing journey, and other times a source of deep joy, connectedness, creativity and contentment.
Being able to understand and recognise you are highly sensitive is important, and empowering, because unrecognised and uncared for heightened sensitivity can be very painful, confusing and distressing. Heightened sensitivity is also a beautiful gift and invaluable resource you may not be utilising and falling in love with in your life.
Here are some ways you can recognise if you are a highly sensitive person:
- You have a sensitive nervous system, and you startle easily. This can cause anxiety and sometimes be very painful. You are sensitive to the experience of external stimuli such as noise, sudden sounds, light, busy environments and are easily overwhelmed by doing too much, going too fast or living at a pace which does not seem easeful and nourishing to you. While others around you are unperturbed or can even thrive on intense environments and high octane lifestyles or with high-impact entertainment, you may find these overstimulating, simply too much, and prefer more quiet, flowing or low-intensity experiences. You thrive when you find a way to live your life with a sense of balance which keeps you at ease and fluid in life, and centred in your own being.
- You are often, or always, very aware of other people’s stuff. This can occur in ways that are supportive and beneficial or in ways which are frustrating, painful and overwhelming. You may often you wish you had an off switch for this form of sensitivity. This means you are highly empathic. Being empathic means you have an awareness of other people’s thoughts or feelings or internal experiences regardless of whether they express this to you directly or not. Sometimes you feel other people’s feelings inside your own body and with your own body. Sometimes your empathy is a valuable source of guidance and knowledge in your relationships and your life, and other times it is exhausting, disturbing and you cannot cope with being inundated with other people’s inner lives. You may yearn to be more in charge of your highly sensitive, empathic gifts. You may tire of being able to provide an up-to-date emotional weather report on your colleagues, your boss or your friends.
- You are deeply affected and moved by beauty, nature, animals, or art and draw deeply on your relationship with these in order to nourish yourself, keep your balance and centre and to ensure your inner resources are topped up for the demands of life.
- You value time spent deeply contemplating life, quiet time alone, and having deep and meaningful conversations around personal or spiritual values or passions which inspire you in living your life from the heart. You may tire easily with small talk because you are flowing in the deeper ravines of your inner landscape, and love sharing with others from this sacred place. It can feel draining to move too much or too often from this rich, creative internal centre. You flourish with and value friendships with other highly sensitive people. Having at least one highly sensitive person in your life makes all the difference to your wellbeing on all levels.
Did you recognise yourself in any of these descriptions, or feel like these words were a mirror to you? Are you emailing me now requesting membership to the highly sensitive person’s club?
While there are many more indicators of being a highly sensitive person, these four areas are often prominent in most highly sensitive people. You do not need to tick the box in each, but may find yourself strongly attuned with one or two, or all and more.
You may find it meaningful to take some time to contemplate your sensitivity, and consider this description of being a highly sensitive person. I suggest you begin to value yourself as a sensitive person and think about how you might get really clear about how your sensitivity shows up in your life, and how you can develop a better, healthier , more intimate and balanced relationship with your sensitivity. A loving, positive and respectful relationship with your sensitive nature is a powerful foundation to thrive as a highly sensitive person in an often insensitive, modern world.
Your sensitivity is beautiful; it is a sacred and wonderful element of who you are. It is worth recognising, honouring, caring and living from in all areas of your life.
I offer these words in honour of your innately sensitive, human nature, with love.