« Who you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you’re saying. »
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote would actually sum-up perfectly the life of someone highly sensitive. It does sum-up what I have felt my whole life pretty well.
Elaine Aaron a renown psychologist in the study of highly sensitive people discovered that 15-20% of the population is actually highly sensitive.
Being highly sensitive means that you are normal first!! It is a trait of your personality that is within you and makes your brain work a little differently than others. Basically, you perceive more things than most people and your brain will process more information and will also reflect on them more deeply. You get subtle information and by receiving more information than most people you also get more easily overwhelmed when things are too intense, chaotic, complex etc. Being highly sensitive means also reacting more intensely to any stimuli: caffeine, pain, sound, bright colors, strong smells, emotions etc.
Elain Aaron identified the below characteristics of highly sensitive people:
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
I discovered I was highly sensitive about 4 or 5 years ago thanks to my therapist who simply told me one day to make a research on high potential, highly sensitive and indigo people, which I would encourage you to do as well if you think you are highly sensitive. And by reading everything I could about these topics, I discovered a whole new world. I finally understood what I had grown up with «we can’t say anything to you», «you’re a sponge», «don’t take it so intensely», «don’t be so emotional» etc. etc. and suddenly all these sentences made sense or made no more sense in fact, I don’t know really…
Indeed, everything was of rare intensity for me. The highs would be super high and the lows would be super low. There was no in between for me. I would also feel hurt, often, not understanding people’s behavior around or towards me and I would of course often feel misunderstood in who I was and in my emotions. I could also often perceive things that people around me did not perceive, so often I said to myself that I was the one hallucinating, when my intuition was just much more developed in fact.
Loyalty, justice, authenticity, honesty and truth are immensely important (as for most HSP), in my everyday life, personal and professional, and in all my relationships. So of course, it’s been hard to manage, you can imagine. I have often felt misunderstood.
By accepting this trait as a gift and welcoming it for what it is, it helped me understand myself and yes, IT IS A GIFT.
A gift of great emotional intelligence!
By accepting and understanding this better, I began to recognize the highly sensitive people around me and to attract them more and more it seems. I try, as much as I can, to share the information that I have found about it, my feelings, to listen to them of course and to learn from them and sometimes help them to open up to this high sensitivity when they are not aware of it and therefore often in pain or questioning themselves.
I also observed, from my encounters and my personal experience, that the highly sensitive people often are (or have been) victims, attracting manipulators, vampires or narcissists either at work or in their personal lives. Indeed, highly sensitive people often vibrates beauty, love and light which attracts “predators”. In addition, there is a close connection between highly sensitive peoples and empaths because HSP can feel the suffering of people and it is often unbearable for them.
I noticed 2 (main) types of reactions:
- The highly sensitive people block empathy to protect themself from this suffering and their emotions and will therefore appear distant, cold, introverted even, while still being super sensitive
- The highly sensitive people empathize and experience people’s emotions and want to heal them by taking their pain, thus carrying a burden that does not belong to them emotionally as well as energetically and will tend to get lost giving themselves unconditionally by falling in the savior trap.
It is essential to distance oneself from this. We are only responsible for our self-healing and happiness.
It is by helping ourselves first and foremost that we can help others at best
In order to live fully the potential of high sensitivity it is essential to protect yourself by:
Grounding yourself everyday
Through any physical activity, meditation, connection with nature etc.
From what affects you deeply whether it’s people’s negative energy, vampires (people that drain energy), manipulators, tv (news, horror movies), etc.
Taking time for yourself and isolating yourself
When you feel the need in order to keep or regain your energy. Listen to yourself and don’ force yourself to do things by fear of missing out or being selfish. You need this time for you, so you can then interact with others more optimally.
Thinking of you. You are your priority – the more you will love yourself and take care of you, the better you will be able to love others and care for them – You need your energy for that.
Alone (through different practices: Cleansing ritual, yoga, meditation, energy work, incense, sage, gems etc.) or with the help of a practitioner.
Grounding is a key element for the well-being of the highly sensitive people
I work on grounding every day. And if I forget for a few days, life will remind me. Grounding is linked to the root chakra, located at the base of the spine. When balanced, it helps feel safe, stable, have confidence in life, be in good health and have a good vitality, all of which highly sensitive people often miss. In addition, it helps remain aligned regardless of the type of interactions with the outside world.
There is a very simple visualization technique that I do every day, morning and evening, that helps me a lot. I sit with my eyes closed, my feet flat on the floor, and I visualize roots in my lower limbs that extend my physical body from the soles of my feet to connect to the heart of the Earth that will welcome my roots and once connected, will feed me with energy … bringing me grounding, rooting and support, thanks to this flow of energy injected into my roots and back to my body to feed each limb, organ, cell etc. of my being. I observe the sensations … I can perceive them in my body, like heat, tingling, or a flow of energy, or visualize them or by any other manifestation.
It is often a feeling of well-being and mostly of serenity which vibrates then in my whole being.
To be used as much as possible!
PS: If you wonder whether you are highly sensitive you can find a test here to determine whether you or your child is highly sensitive.
PS2: I found a good article on highly sensitive people with additional pieces of information that you can read here