Unfortunately, many HSPs see their high sensitivity as more of a negative than a positive, but is it really? Has it ever occurred to you that high sensitivity is a gift, something to be grateful for, despite its challenges?
As highly sensitive people, we deeply take in everything around us and are profoundly influenced by our environment, which bestows us with the gifts of creativity, observation, intuition, and compassion. We have the ability to experience intense joy on happy occasions. We are thoughtful and excellent problem solvers. We are curious and always seeking to know more. We are caring and intuitive, especially about the feelings of others, making us great parents, friends, spouses, sons, daughters, siblings, and co-workers.
On the flip side, our high sensitivity also results in feelings of overwhelm, making us uniquely challenged by the experiences of our everyday lives. Feeling overwhelmed is stressful, but there are ways to mitigate the effects of this anxiety. The most important thing is to be aware of your sensitive nature and to understand the things that trigger your feelings. That way, you can be proactive rather than reactive. For example, if the news or social media makes you depressed, then limit your exposure. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do, take a time-out and do something calming to recharge your batteries, such as taking a walk, meditating, stretching, or listening to relaxing music.
Many highly sensitive people also have a tendency towards perfectionism. While we can readily list our shortcomings, we may have a harder time acknowledging our positive attributes. We berate ourselves for making mistakes and fail to credit ourselves for the things that go well. These negative habits of thought become so ingrained that we fail to see the impact they have on our happiness.
Again, there are ways to address these challenges. Keep in mind that highly sensitive people have a powerful capacity to think deeply and analyze problems. When your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, take a moment to stop and examine these thoughts. Are they true? How do you know? Do they come from actual experience, or are you just believing something because others told you, or because it’s what you’ve always believed?
Also, it’s important to take stock of the things that you have done well. What successes do you have? Have you given yourself credit for these accomplishments? What are you most proud of? What are your strengths? If you struggle with this, ask people who know you well what they think your best qualities are.
The purpose of my work is to bring more self-awareness to highly sensitive people and to help them embrace a positive mindset and appreciate the many gifts they have. Sometimes a thought-provoking article or question at the right time spurs an epiphany that motivates you to shift your perspective.
I undoubtedly see my high sensitivity as a beautiful and powerful gift! While I don’t enjoy the perfectionism and overwhelm, I savor the intense bonds that I am able to form with others (humans and animals), the rich inner life I have, the expression of my creative impulses, the connection I feel to nature, and my lifelong passion for learning and growing. I cannot imagine my life without these pleasures!
What do you think? Are you grateful for your high sensitivity? Or do you focus more on the challenges of high sensitivity? What do you like most about being highly sensitive? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have. Happy Thanksgiving wherever you may be!