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

HSP Identity: A Plant In The Right Place

Lisa McLoughlinEmotional And Mental Health, HSP Traits, Personal Development, Social Anxiety20 Comments

My name is Lisa McLoughlin and I am from Green Alder coaching, based in the UK. I would like to share a personal account of my journey to discover that I am an HSP. Is There Something Wrong With Me? Most of my life I felt like a weed— not belonging to my environment. Being a weed was a bad thing and needed to be fixed, eradicated, changed, and just a blot on the landscape. I often wondered, “If only I could be like all the others…the ornamental and outrageously colorful, extravagant man-made plants (people)…perhaps my life would be easier on me?” Well, what is a weed? ‘A plant growing in the wrong place’ is the commonly accepted description. But wait a moment, how are we to know it is in the wrong place? The war on weeds began with the coming of intense farming and public opinion. Who’s to judge a plant and name it a weed when all it is doing is trying to survive? Surely, a weed is entitled to the same life as any other plant? Despite mans’ persistence to eradicate weeds by hand and chemical weed killers (like the Extrovert Ideal), the war has never been won. The same old weeds show up in the same spots, demonstrating gritty resistance, and persisting through centuries of persecution. You have to admire their tenacity! It’s only recently that I have come to respect the weed and understand that it is a plant, that might not fit in with expectations of it’s environment, but it has just as many rights to thrive and flourish as any plant—often with useful properties and benefits to the environment. So, I am left asking, “What if a weed is entirely normal and just needs to stand proud and comfortably in its environment—room for … Read More

HSPs And Developing Self-Compassion

Ritu KaushalEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development17 Comments

If you are someone like me, you know that are you are sensitive, and yet, you often struggle to integrate this knowledge in your life. If you are someone like me, you also have an incessant voice in your head that keeps on discounting the little onward steps that you are taking. It feels really hard to extend yourself the same compassion that you can extend to others. It’s very easy to get impatient with yourself as you try to make changes. It’s only lately that I have started developing more compassion for myself in this process. I have started seeing that my hesitant, baby steps are part of my larger journey. I have started understanding why I have such problems with giving myself what I need. The Challenge Of Self-Compassion So, why is self-compassion such hard work for so many of us? Sonia Connolly discusses this struggle in her lovely book Wellspring of Compassion: “Self-care can sound like an obligation, one more item on a long to-do list. Self-care can sound like abandonment if we were emotionally or physically neglected as children and still long for someone to rescue us. Self-care can sound selfish, self-indulgent, or forbidden when we are accustomed to caring for others first.” Just being aware of these dynamics can help us immensely. We might have unmet needs for love and belonging that are not getting satisfied. We might still be holding on to the hope for some outside redemption. We might be looking at other people and envying them their ability to take care of themselves while forgetting how hard it is to give yourself what you haven’t received. Maybe the first step in developing more self-compassion is suspending judgment about how well we are doing self-care. Maybe it’s about having patience with the parts … Read More

Separating Ambition And Greed

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development2 Comments

Ambition and greed are often thought of as the same thing. They are not easy concepts for highly sensitive people and can be a source of pain and unhappiness. Greed does Not Work For Highly Sensitive People Greed does not work as a life strategy for most highly sensitive people. Part of the reason is physical because it requires a lot of energy directed toward personal gain. Another reason is our natures. We see the dehumanizing side of greed and the destruction of animals and natural resources that is required to sustain greediness. A third reason is that it is our nature to reflect before we act. We take in so much information that we have a high need to process what we take in and understand it before we leap to conclusions or take action. It helps us to be in integrity with ourselves. Our natures and natural processing style slows us down which means that we cannot do greed very well. The Effect Of Structural Greed On Highly Sensitive People Structural greed which is what capitalism is has a significant social effect. Whenever a culture structures itself to achieve an objective it then elevates the values that support it. When a culture is oriented toward making money, then greed becomes a positive value in the culture. Those who manifest the desired value advance in the culture and those who do not fall behind at least in economic terms. That would not be so bad if social safety nets existed.  Unfortunately in greed-based societies they often do not, which means that you either participate in the money-focused structure or you struggle to survive. Many highly sensitive people struggle to survive. Greed Energy Is Different From Ambition Energy Greed and ambition are very different energies. Greed energy is built on … Read More

How The Path Of Creativity Can Help HSPs

Ritu KaushalCreativity, Emotional And Mental Health, Personal Development, Stress4 Comments

As someone who is basically an artiste in the broadest sense, I am often stopped in my tracks by my fear of making mistakes. My very roots seem to be dipped in this feeling, and I have often made myself small by refusing to give myself enough space to explore. Even if you don’t consider yourself creative (maybe just the word “artiste” made you cringe), the fear of making mistakes probably stops you from living a full, artful life. It stops you from doing things expansively, trying something new, and feeling at home when you don’t do things right the first time around. Many of us find our being shrinking in size as the shadow of this fear looms large. Perfectionism And Shame Kill Creativity Just like you, I am learning to let go of perfectionism and attempting to live a more creative, juicy life. I am beginning to learn some things that I hope will seep right into me one day, just as deep as the fear had once gone. What we think of as a mistake is a starting point: When we start off doing something, we are not very good. Or, maybe, we are talented but not as good as we ultimately want to be. Keeping things pristine and empty because we want to make only the best thing or the best decision leads us nowhere. We all know this intellectually, but we don’t know it in our bones. What we do know almost physically is the intense reaction we have when we make a mistake. Some old part of us comes calling. It says: “You can’t do anything right.” It says: “You are a mistake” even though you have just attempted something you don’t know very much about. If you are at this point, you are … Read More

Are Left-Handed People More Likely To Be Highly Sensitive?

Maria HillHSP Traits1 Comment

If you have an allergic reaction to a lot of noise are you highly sensitive? If you can’t stand crowds, are you highly sensitive? If you are left-handed, are you highly sensitive? Maybe. The Elusive Trait Of High Sensitivity The highly sensitive trait is not easy to pin down. There are many different types of sensitivity associated with being an HSP, and they can vary in intensity. It is hard to identify a highly sensitive person because: the many different types of sensitivities can make it hard to identity many sensitivities can coexist on one person many highly sensitive people have characteristics like left-handedness that are not obviously associated with being highly sensitive many HSP’s also have other medical conditions like lupus, diabetes and learning difficulties childhood abuse can make the symptoms worse and add psychological conditions that may mask the HSP condition. Why It Is Hard To Identify Highly Sensitive People The manifestations of the highly sensitive trait can be so diverse that it is sometime hard to see sensitivity as one trait. In the past, people who were highly sensitive were often considered damaged in some way. Throughout the centuries, the characteristics of sensitivity were often treated as isolated symptoms rather than one of a family of possible sensitivity characteristics. Lack of knowledge made identification of the HSP trait difficult. Today we have a different challenge. We have – although only recently – identified the highly sensitive trait, thanks to the work of Elaine Aron, Ph.D. and Dr. Norman Geschwind. However, our culture has so much overstimulation and toxicity it can be hard to identify whether or not you are in fact highly sensitive. Perhaps you are manifesting the symptoms of being overstressed.  Overstimulation can affect anyone including non-HSP’s. Perhaps you are suffering the impact of other forms of … Read More