What Is a Highly Sensitive Person?
There are a number of traits thought to be common among highly sensitive people (HSP), including:
Overstimulation. HSPs tend to be easily overwhelmed by bright lights, loud sounds, violent movies/television shows and crowded places. HSPs also often have more difficulty tolerating hunger and pain than non-HSPs.
Rich inner life. HSPs often feel deeply connected to the world and experience strong emotions. They also tend to stay alert for quite some time before falling asleep at night and think about things in-depth rather than superficially.
Perfectionism/Self-criticism. Because they're so in tune with how others perceive them, HSPs are often perfectionists and prone to self-criticism when they don't meet their own high standards or the standards of others.
Empathy/Emotional intelligence (EI). Because they're so in tune with their feelings, HSPs also tend to have a heightened ability to sense other people's feelings as well as their own emotions—this is known as empathy or emotional intelligence (EI).
Signs of HSPs
You know that you're an HSP if you tend to:
Have a keen imagination and vivid dreams
Have a rich inner life
Get easily overwhelmed
What Is the Highly Sensitive Person's Dream Job?
As a Highly Sensitive Person, it's helpful to find a job that allows you to use your strengths, where you can engage with the kinds of people and things you’re passionate about, and where you have the freedom to work independently.
A perk of being an HSP is that you will be more likely to choose a career path in which you are highly engaged. If money is not a primary driver, then this increases your chances of enjoying your work.
You may need to do some self-inquiry and make some tough choices along the way but ultimately it’s best if you choose a path that aligns with your goals and values.
Favourite Jobs of Highly Sensitive People
In the meantime, here are some of my favourite jobs for highly sensitive people:
One trait that HSP have in common is a high level of compassion. Therapy allows you to use this compassion to help others without feeling drained or overwhelmed by working with too many people at the same time.
HSP are typically motivated by an innate sense of justice and they feel offended when they see someone suffering the consequences of ignorance or prejudice. A job as a teacher, where they can use their empathy and awareness to educate and inspire positive change in others, would be ideal for them.
Artist, Photographer or Writer
HSP enjoy occupations that allow them to express their values authentically so that they can make a difference in the world, such as creating art themselves as a photographer or writer. These jobs all allow HSP the harmony between independence and helping others that they require from an occupation.
HSP need work environments that are flexible enough for them to pursue different ideas without being stuck on one thing for too long; otherwise, their creativity is stifled. Their curiosity and generosity lead them toward occupations such as coaching where they can encourage learning in others by providing them with new experiences and step into the role of being a guide or mentor for others.
Create Your Own Dream Job
If you’re a highly sensitive person, you might have a hard time finding the best job for you. Here are some tips on creating your dream job:
Define it. What does that look like? Where will it be? What kind of people will you work with? How much time and energy do you need to put into this work? What does success look like in this field? Will it bring you joy for years to come?
Find out how to get there. Do your research and determine what steps are necessary (training, education, etc.) and then list them out chronologically.
Be prepared to work hard. Highly sensitive people tend to be more introverted and less likely to want confrontation than other types of people. You might feel shy or intimidated when dealing with crowds, giving presentations, talking over the phone—basically anything that requires putting yourself “out there” in a big way! But all is not lost! There are ways around these obstacles (like building confidence through practice). Remember that while no one likes doing things they aren’t good at right away, eventually everything becomes easier with practice.
Be prepared for a long journey. The path towards finding your dream job can be difficult and sometimes discouraging--but remember that happiness lies in the journey itself. Take time along the way to reflect upon what steps have been taken so far by asking yourself three questions: did I enjoy myself during this process? Was I successful? Did others appreciate my efforts as well?
One of the most important things you can do as a highly sensitive person is to honour your traits and find a career that allows you to express what makes you unique.
That means being true to yourself and having the courage to design your life in a way that will allow you to have meaningful work, good relationships, and an enriching personal life. It also means finding people who get you and who will support you in having a fulfilling and meaningful life. You are not alone on this journey. You can find a job you love, but it will take time, patience, and effort on your part.
About the Author
Jules De Vitto, MAEd, MSc Certified Transpersonal Coach and Educator
Jules De Vitto has a BSc in Psychology, MA in Education and MSc in Transpersonal Psychology, Consciousness and Spirituality. She is an accredited and certified Transpersonal Coach for HSP, Authentic-Self-Empowerment Facilitator, as well as an experienced trainer and educator.
She is the founder of the Highly Sensitive Human Academy™ which provides quality courses and certified training for Highly Sensitive People all over the globe. She helps those who identify with the traits of high sensitivity to navigate emotional overwhelm, step into their authentic power and align with their true purpose in life.
She is a published author who wrote ‘Resilience: Navigating Loss in a Time of Crisis’ which provides practical resources to cultivate greater resilience and find greater meaning and purpose through times of crisis. She has published her research in the peer-reviewed journal Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology.