According to sensitivity researcher Dr. Elaine Aron, 15-20% of the population are Highly Sensitive Persons, or HSPs. HSPs have nervous systems that are more easily activated than those of the general population.
If you are a HSP, you may have always felt different to those around you.
You were probably told to stop being so sensitive when you were a child.
So, how do you know for certain whether you are a HSP? Here are a few clues:
1. You can walk into a room and immediately notice small changes:
As a HSP, you are keenly attuned to your environment.
Whereas others might not notice a crooked picture on the wall or that your friend is wearing a new pair of shoes, nothing escapes your attention.
When you are with friends, you’re probably the first to notice an annoying background noise.
This trait makes you a fantastic employee, because you can be relied upon to pick up on small problems as they arise and ensure they get fixed.
You have high standards.
In fact, you might well be a perfectionist.
This is a mixed blessing.
On one hand, you can be extremely productive.
At the same time, you can be too hard on yourself.
2. You have very specific preferences when it comes to textures and scents:
Your nervous system is easily activated, and you are prone to sensory overload.
Merely touching a surface or catching a whiff of an aroma can make you shudder if it isn’t to your liking.
You are probably very particular when it comes to picking out clothing, perfume, and air fresheners.
You may sometimes have to move away from people who wear a lot of fragrance.
3. You need a lot of time alone, especially after spending time in large groups:
Most HSPs are introverts, meaning they feel more energised after spending time by themselves rather than socialising with other people.
As a HSP, you enjoy the company of your family and friends – in moderation.
After a few hours with other people, you start to feel drained and over-stimulated.
Large parties and holiday gatherings are your idea of a nightmare.
4. Other people say that you are a great friend and a “good listener:”
Most HSPs have a sincere interest in other people, and they like to lend a hand to those in trouble.
Your friends have probably told you how patient and kind you are, and how thankful they are to have you in their lives.
You may find that complete strangers feel compelled to confide in you.
This is because your gentle, sensitive nature makes others feel safe and understood.
Perhaps you have had a heart-to-heart discussion with someone you have only just met that ended with them saying,
“I have no idea why I just told you that!”
5. You stay away from dramatic or scary media:
From your perspective, real life is exciting and scary enough – you don’t need to watch or read dramatic films and books!
Most HSPs prefer uplifting, educational, or light-hearted genres such as romantic comedies and documentaries rather than horror stories or thrillers.
If you do watch a scary movie, you might have nightmares and have mental flashbacks for days afterwards.
6. You have a special love for the arts:
The disadvantage of having such a sensitive nervous system is that you experience negative feelings on a deeper level than most people, and your senses are easily irritated.
However, there is an advantage – you are better able to appreciate the arts and music you love.
HSPs are often moved to tears by beautiful sights and sounds, and can usually sense an artist’s intention better than other people.
7. You have an excellent imagination:
Dr. Elaine Aron describes HSPs as having a “rich inner world.” You are probably an avid daydreamer who gets lost in their own thoughts.
As a child, you might have spent longer staring out of the classroom window than doing your schoolwork.
Life as a HSP is challenging at times, but sensitivity is a gift.
Highly sensitive people make excellent friends and artists, and are often visionaries with a unique outlook on life.
You have the ability to imagine an infinite number of possibilities, and you dream about a better world.
You may have special needs – for instance, you might have to explain to your friends why you don’t want to go out partying every week – but sensitivity is a blessing that allows you to connect with other people and the world in general in a truly special way.