6 Reasons Why We Need Highly Sensitive People

Maria HillCreativity, HSP Traits2 Comments

Why do we need highly sensitive people? HSPs make up approximately 20% of the population. They are people whose nervous systems are highly sensitive to external stimuli. Books like Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person and Susan Cain’s book Quiet, are helping us to understand more about the quieter members of our world. Our culture is predominantly as an extrovert culture. Extroverts are outgoing. An extrovert culture promotes the seeking of rewards, prestige and power. Interestingly, as many as 30% of HSPs are extroverts balancing their interest in the world with a higher need for rest and rejuvenation. Highly sensitive people are often introspective which provides them with an insightful perspective that is practical and useful. This is what they bring to us: highly sensitive people see what others do not. Our extroverted world is very fast however, speed often means mistakes. HSPs notice when the energy around them feels wrong. The insights from HSPs from what they notice can protect us from the mistakes of moving too fast. highly sensitive people are often deep thinkers. They may notice important overlooked factors in a particular situation. They can observe what is working and what is not, the connects and disconnects that can lead to eventual problems. They are able to notice pitfalls and potential land mines in our plans and strategies saving us needless headaches. highly sensitive people are holistic thinkers. This means that they offer an antidote to our fragmented society. Fragmentation increases the disconnection between different parts of a group, company, or an entire society. Holistic HSPs see and act as bridges between different parts of social or economic ecology to ease and improve problem solving. HSPs have a capacity to handle complexity because of their eneregtic sensitivity, deep processing and introspection that makes them ideally suited to helping a overloaded … Read More

Quiet by Susan Cain: Book Review

Maria HillHSP Traits0 Comments

If you haven’t read Susan Cain‘s fabulous book, the bestseller Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, you are missing out. Susan’s light approachable style takes a challenging subject and makes it accessible. Susan’s book not only explores introversion but also questions the extrovert ideal that dominates the Western world. Quiet is extremely well researched. Susan Cain draws on medical experts, sociological researchers and experts in the field of introversion and high sensitivity. She also does a masterful job of illuminating the experience and reality of many introverted people including herself to demonstrate the value they offer society. Most books on the subject of introversion or high sensitivity focus primarily on the psychology of the introvert. The daily living needs and survival challenges of introverts have been under addressed in our culture and many introverts have felt like aliens from another planet unable to navigate the challenges of extrovert values and expectations. Susan’s book does a wonderful job of juxtapositioning the extrovert and introvert natures and offering perspective on the differences. Although extroverts are more visible in the public domain, it is amazing how many great advances for the human race come from introverts: Rosa Parks Abraham Lincoln Bill Gates Warren Buffett Einstein many artists many of the strongest and most effective CEO’s. Introverts are often the creators and agents of change through their combination of compassion and creativity. They see what others do not which is why an introvert is known for being insightful. Introverts operate deeply and multidimensionally which makes the high-pressure, high-speed competitive economy of Western capitalism antithetical to their natures. As Susan points out, introverts need to be careful about their career and social choices because their nervous systems require considerable rest. However, she also describes many situations where introverts are able to adopt some … Read More

A Reexamination Of Comfort Zones And Creativity

Maria HillCreativity, Emotional And Mental Health5 Comments

Being in one’s comfort zone or not seems to be a marker of all sorts of wonderful traits including creativity and progressiveness. I can even be a path to success and wealth! I consider myself a creative person. However, I find many ideas about comfort zones, and getting out of them, to have very little to do with creativity and creating a good life for yourself. Since I perceive quality of life something that we can and need to create for ourselves, I think that reevaluating comfort zones is a necessary step before it is possible to actually improve your life. Distorting Comfort Zones Current ideas of comfort zones, in particular getting out of one’s comfort zone, are very much tied to the growth model of economic progress. Getting out of one’s comfort zone appears to have become somewhat of a cultural ideal and I think that is problematic. Being uncomfortable is not necessarily better than being comfortable. It is important to be able to know when to step out of comfort zones and when not to. Here are some reasons, a society might value having people move out of their comfort zones: if our comfort zone is “bad”, we will seek continuous self-improvement. Although there is nothing wrong with learning, it is better when it is for healthy reasons rather than to live up to a cultural ideal, we buy and consume more, in particular more than we need. If living in a smaller house and having fewer possessions makes sense for us, it will be demeaned in a consumption based economic system. “Enough” is just a synonym for your comfort zone. it can be thought of as supporting the hypermasculine culture of Western civilization with its emphasis on markets, competition, conquest, and expansion. Nurturing and sustaining activities are … Read More

Michael Jackson: An HSP?

Maria HillHSP Traits0 Comments

Was Michael Jackson an HSP?  The odds are that he was. Highly sensitive people are known for being different and suffering because of it.  They are also frequently highly gifted and often geniuses.  Unfortunately, many HSP’s suffer from any number of genetic, stress and anxiety disorders that impair their functioning. It is not my purpose here to dissect the course of Michael’s life and treatment because that is beyond my knowledge. However, it is interesting to notice in retrospect how many of the characteristics of being an HSP he had: Apparently even when he was young he was shy.  He found it difficult to do the missionary work of the Jehovah’s Witness religion that his family belonged to. By all accounts, he suffered from extreme child abuse.  Apparently, he was frequently beaten with a strap, and experienced nightmares from having been terrorized by his father.  Many HSP’s are people who have suffered from severe child abuse. If he was born a highly sensitive person, the child abuse would have made his sensitivity worse. Although he was alienated from his father he did express his love for him. Many highly sensitive people are very loving and highly empathetic people.  That he could love his father in spite of all the abuse makes me think that he had the HSP’s capacity for empathy but also perhaps some challenges with effective boundaries. He was apparently an introvert. Even as a child in a very large family he felt lonely.  Being abused can create loneliness because abuse is a form of rejection of another person. In addition, if one feels lonely also because of being different that can increase the pain of social isolation dramatically.  It appears that Michael was not able to effectively handle his social pain. The Daily Beast interview of Deepak Chopraa … Read More