Research has shown that about 15-25% of the population identify with the traits of a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
The traits of high sensitivity exist on a spectrum ranging from extreme, to somewhat, to not at all. Even if you identify with only a few of the traits, but the traits are particularly strong for you, you will benefit from learning more about highly sensitive people.
Here are some common struggles that HSP often come across. An awareness of the struggles that come with high sensitivity will help empower you to make positive shifts in your life rather than remain stuck or become of a victim of these traits!
1) Difficulties with Conflict
As a Highly sensitive person, it’s likely that conflict and arguments will easily affect you - whether physical or emotional - you may go out of your way to avoid conflict altogether. You will also struggle to witness arguments, hear raised voices, or observe any form of physical violence between other people.
One reason you might move away from conflict is that you don’t like the thought of upsetting other people, and as a result, you try to maintain harmony and peace in the situation.
Although this can be a positive quality and you might be an expert at conflict resolution - this desire to avoid conflict can lead you to neglect your needs - when in relationship to others. You might also deny or push away your emotions because you don’t want to experience anger, hurt or upset. Eventually these emotions will find a way to express themselves, so it’s better to learn how to embrace your emotions and the conflict in a healthy and compassionate way - rather than deny or avoid them altogether. We will talk about authentic communication and expression in one of the following bundles on the membership site!
2) STRUGGLE WITH BOUNDARIES
The points mentioned above can also mean that you struggle to set boundaries with others, and even though you are extremely compassionate about the needs of others; you can sometimes neglect your own needs. You tend to put other people before yourself and find it difficult to say ‘no’ or assert yourself. This difficulty in setting boundaries with others can be exhausting and takes its toll in the long run. You regularly find yourself absorbing or taking on the emotions of others and can even find it hard to distinguish between your emotions and the emotions of other people you’re with.
3) YOU FEEL MISUNDERSTOOD
There is a strong sense of being ‘misunderstood’ or feeling different from others. You question the ‘mainstream’ and are always reflecting, wondering and asking ‘big’ questions about the meaning of life. This means you are also likely to be more in touch with the spiritual or non-material aspect of reality. This awareness of the spiritual path can also be overwhelming at times.
4) YOU TEND TO THINK A LOT
Because of your depth of processing and the awareness you have of subtleties in your environment, you may spend a lot of time thinking, analysing and reflecting on situations. An overactive mind can often mean you are prone to feelings of anxiety, stress, guilt or even shame. If left unchecked, those who are Highly Sensitive are more likely to experience bouts of extreme overwhelm or even burnout.
5) YOU TEND TO NEGLECT SELF-CARE
Your traits mean you tend to neglect self-care and prioritize the care of others. In fact, your highly sensitive nature means you are much more likely to work in the helping profession such as being as a teacher, nurse, doctor, therapist, coach or counsellor. You thrive in these kinds of roles because you are so empathetic and sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. However, being HSP you are more prone to anxiety, stress, overwhelm and burnout. This means it is even more important for HSPs to engage in acts of self-care, build emotional resilience and have a road-map to maintain their emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
6) PHYSICAL PAIN AND ILLNESS
Your sensitive nervous system means that you are very aware of changes in your physical body and might have a lower tolerance to pain or simply be more aware of the shifts that take place in their body. HSP are easily affected by a lack of sleep, a change in routine or diet. They’re more likely to experience physical illness and bodily pain, such as fibromyalgia or frequent migraines.
7) EASILY OVERWHELMED
Being so attuned to your environment and your senses means that your nervous system can become easily overwhelmed.
You are also likely to be very conscientious; you strive towards perfection and do your best to avoid making mistakes. This mindset means you’re likely to achieve a lot of success in your life, but because you tend to take on many responsibilities, this can lead to overwhelm, exhaustion and burnout.