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The Story of a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)

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Published: July 11, 2013
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Acrylics on canvas sheet, unframed,
20" by 16"
Psychologist Elaine Aron writes in her book The Highly Sensitive Person that about 15 to 20 percent of the population is characterized as highly sensitive (HS). She adds that about 30 percept of people are moderately sensitive, while 50 percent of people think of themselves as being sensitive while they are "not at all sensitive."

What being highly sensitive is NOT:
1. Emotionally immature
2. Self-centered
3. Unpredictable and unstable emotions
4. Over-dependent
5. Demanding and attention thirsty

Characteristics of highly sensitive people:
1. Have great imagination
2. Have great intellectual abilities
3. Are creative
4. Have a curious mind
5. Are hard workers
6. Are good problem solvers
7. Are extremely conscious and compassionate
8. Are intuitive, caring and spiritual
9. Have a strong sense of aesthetic awareness
10. Respect nature, art and music greatly
11. Have profound and intense sensations
12. Can access important information from the unconscious mind
13. Have a depth of understanding and feelings
14. Are objective and can see the bigger picture

If these individuals don't learn to handle their high sensitivity, they may suffer greatly. Some of these are a loss of balance when it comes to a self-sacrifice schema, which always leads to emotional deprivation. For instance, Jeffrey E. Young links high sensitivity, or as he calls it, the "highly empathic temperament" with the Self-Sacrifice Schema (Young, 2003, pp. 246-251), which in turn is almost always related to the Emotional Deprivation Schema. In his opinion, these individuals need to learn to focus on themselves instead of or before focusing on others and to learn to get their own needs met fist, needs they typically are not aware of. After that self understanding, they will have a clear picture of what they want to do with their life to make a difference.

Some ways that can help HS people manage their abilities:

1. Emotionally, highly-sensitive individuals are easily overstimulated up to a point where they may experience great pain or great joy. They can have a combination of an introvert and an extrovert personality traits due to the fact that they need to be by themselves to become centered, and they also love connecting to other people and their environment. As reported before, many of these people learn to mask this gift of sensitivity, intuition and creativity because they do not know how to deal with the overstimulation. Cognitive modification can be helpful

2. Physically, highly-sensitive people need time and space to be by themselves to process the amount of input they absorb. They may have low tolerance to noise and anything too strong when it comes to sensations. They also seem to have more body awareness and can feel when their body is not comfortable in an environment. Therefore, nutritionally they have to stick to simple foods that are full of nutrients and have a healthy balance. They also have to connect to nature and do regular exercise, relaxation, meditation and any other activities that go with their nature to calm themselves down and recharge after the over stimulation.

3. Socially, sometimes HS people may feel like misfits and have to learn ways to tolerate imperfections they see in the depth of others. They need to learn to connect while having clear boundaries as to when to say no and how far to go with something and someone. In addition, HS people need to become assertive and have regular "me" times. When it comes to their social personality, these individuals are usually shy, but their shyness is not because they are weak but rather is based on a need to survive. Since their nature is oversensitive, biologically they are designed to be shy as a self-protection mode. However, if the shyness is too much and is affecting their need to be social and to connect, then they can modify it through behavioral and cognitive modification.

4. Additionally, they have to learn to give and receive love and they have to realize that the process has to have a balance point. They have to understand that self sacrifice that leads to emotional deprivation is not healthy. They have to allow themselves to be vulnerable, face problems rather than running away from them, relate positively to life, and learn from their experiences. Some of these individuals avoid some areas of their life and some of the challenges because of their oversensitivity not realizing that in some of these challenges lies great opportunity.

5. And last but not least, these individuals have to find a meaning in their life. All humanity desires this but for HS people, this is a need. It is their innermost desire to help others be happy, and they can use their abilities to bring their creative side out and make this world a better place for all, even if a small step.

Overall, many of our writers, creators, inventors, imaginaries, discoverers, and people who have contributed greatly to this world may fall in the category of highly sensitive. We need more of these people and we need to encourage them to unleash their potential. For those people who want to become more sensitive, they have to learn ways to overcome society's encouragement to be overly analytical, materialistic and competitive and to encourage themselves and others to cherish this trait and make the best of it.
Here's MORE about HSP's. Maybe YOU are one....www.hsperson.com/
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Date Taken
Jul 11, 2013, 4:52:48 PM
anonymous's avatar
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ForeverEvanescent's avatar
ForeverEvanescentStudent Writer
I do relate to a lot of those. Thanks for telling me. 
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
Wolfriah's avatar
WolfriahHobbyist General Artist
I relate to all of these Meow :3 Hug  
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
Good. 👍Download it and print it out!
Vulpes-lagopus21's avatar
Vulpes-lagopus21Student Traditional Artist
Wow, most if not all of these apply to me!
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
You’ll have to get the book out of a library!
Vulpes-lagopus21's avatar
Vulpes-lagopus21Student Traditional Artist
That wouldn't be a bad idea!
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
Cosmic-Cucumbers's avatar
Cosmic-CucumbersHobbyist Digital Artist
I know you posted this several years ago but I just found it today and I must say, I really love it! <3 As a HSP myself, I relate to pretty much all of these. Thanks for creating this. :)
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
You’re welcome! 🙂👍
mikesmom37's avatar
mikesmom37Student General Artist
you sound like a basic human being to me.   welcome to the race  :D  *big hug*
but more importantly...I applaud you for you  fidelity to the Faith!
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
sn4pdr4g0n's avatar
sn4pdr4g0nStudent General Artist
I recently learned that HSP is a thing, and have been greedily consuming all the info I can find about it. Up until a few months ago, I just thought there must be something wrong with me. Hell, enough people had told me so for so long, I guess I believed it.

This is a personal list I take it? Being religious has nothing to do with being an HSP as I understand it...if anything the HSP's I've met in these past couple months (including myself) can see too clearly into all sides of the Great Debate that it prevents them from being able to pick one.

Also you might already know, but 'subtleties' is misspelled...sorry, spelling errors really stick out at me >.<
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
It's not a personal list. Well, near the end it is. Most of it is from Elaine Aron's work. I'm disasterous at spelling but at the same time spot mistakes all the time. You make the mistake of stereotyping religion. If you actually read Elaine's book you'll understand better. I'm sure most libraries will have her books as they are out years now. HSPs know that there is far more to all creation than what immediately meets the eye. We are counter-cultural and don't follow the crowd. It's very 'cool' and 'PC' to knock religion at the moment and very very 'uncool' to say you are religious. Professor Anthony Flew spent his whole life denying that God exists and then when he changed his mind he was ridiculed and shunned by his peers. Don't tar all religions with the same brush and stereotype them. You do that because it's the PC and done thing theses days. HSPs are the uncoolest people in the world. They seem out of step with the world while actually seeing what most are missing. It's lonely and difficult to be born a HSP but you are what you are and you can't be other than that. 
sn4pdr4g0n's avatar
sn4pdr4g0nStudent General Artist
Your spelling was actually pretty impressive, I'm definitely just a nitpicker :) 

I am still listening to Elaine Aron's audiobook (can't put hands on the actual book yet!) and I'm about halfway- still learning. She has mentioned spirituality so far, as well as on her website, which is much different from religion. I suppose I feel more inclined toward spirituality rather than religion, because I definitely understand what you said about knowing that there is far more to all creation than what meets the eye. I feel that very deeply; however, I do have doubts that the higher power is anything close to what humanity has ever described through religion.

It's funny that you say I am tarring all religion with a brush just because it's the conformist thing to do. HSPs are by nature indecisive, deep thinkers. If we're going by the definition of religion, then as a rule it requires being able to blindly worship a deity and follow a collection of rules that may or may not have come from an omnipotent being many years ago. That's why I feel like, even though you are an HSP, religion is a personal choice for you and not in line with actual HSP dogma. It's a choice that is not specific to HSP's and actually goes against most of the traits described by Aron (not that that's a bad thing, everyone is different). It really couldn't matter less to me if religion is cool to follow or not. Cool or not cool, I can't see myself subscribing to the idea of blind faith, because it feels very naive to not be skeptical of highly organized social mechanisms that control such large groups of people.

May I ask what religion you follow, if it's not too rude to ask? You don't have to answer, I'm just curious. You're probably tired of me by now! I'm enjoying the conversation- you're making me think.

My family tried to bring me up as Christian when I was little but we stopped going to church when I was about 9 or so. I never found any connection with God in the church and didn't connect with the people there either. Maybe I'll find a religion that suits me better one day, but for now it's enough to know that there is more to this world than I can comprehend.
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
I'm Christian. Catholic actually. This 'blind faith' comment is interesting. Where's it coming from? I don't see it like that at all. Do you know that John Henry Newman (England's newest saint) had two atheist parents? Your view of religion is the secular view of religion and that view DOES tar all religions with the same brush. In her book Elaine Aron does say that HSP's can be religious or not BUT she does wrote a lot about how the world perception of religion has changed and that HSP's can see deeper than the cliched, overused summary of religion that you give here. The trouble with the word 'spiritual' is that it covers so much, means completely different things to everyone using that word that it is basically meaningless. To you, and to too many in the world 'religion' and 'religious' have become bad words. To me, and to many others,  that is not the case. 
Why did your family abandon Christianity? Why should a religion be sought that 'suit's you? Where would the challenge lie in that? Would any religion 'suit' you? Would being agnostic/atheist suit you? Why do the most intelligent and gifted always feel the real need for religion in their lives i.e. Madonna and The Beatles.  You wouldn't go looking for a new language if you suddenly became disillusioned with english?. Why is coming to believe in a power greater than oneself the way out of all addictions? Do you know that scientists recently found that humans brains are wired for religion? Also seek out the recent science finding that 'Atheists may not exist and that's not a joke'. Shake off the popular misconception that all people in Christianity are blindly, dumbly following an 'highly organised' (would a more disorganised one be better?), man made religion. That's a very limiting view of a subject that is more vast than the universe.....
British-Prophetess's avatar
British-ProphetessHobbyist Writer
I believe myself to be HSP based on a few of the traits you mentioned and it all makes sense to me. Hell, I've been going to some counselling sessions and the woman that I see has said something about me being hyper sensitive. Now that I know what it is I think I understand myself a bit more better. It's a learning process :)
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
Please read Elaine Aron's books. They are great. It is. It's not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing. It's just something to be aware of and when we are aware of it then we can adjust to it and build our lives around it....
British-Prophetess's avatar
British-ProphetessHobbyist Writer
I'm going to see if I can get them for my Kobo e-reader.
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
I hope you do.
HakumeiKira's avatar
Hello and sorry I did not comment earlier, I was busy all day.
And you're welcome of course. I must say I was really astonished when I found this artwork of yours, it is, in one word, wonderful! 
Are you highly sensitive? If not, you have at least an extensive knowledge about the matter, being able to describe the emotions of a HSP so perfectly. (And I am not only talking about the picture which is simply stunning in its expressiveness and accuracy in terms of content)

Okay, to say it in a less complicated way (I'm sorry, I tend to rant about things that really fill me with enthusiasm); 
I love it, it's so overwhelmingly beautiful and true. Thank you.
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOM's avatar
wwwEAMONREILLYdotCOMProfessional Traditional Artist
I am. I just realised it recently. Made an awful lot of sense to me after 44 years of living. Elaine Aron's books are great. i'd recommend them to any HSP. Rant anytime.
HakumeiKira's avatar
Wow that's a really long time. It must have been quite a surprise...I'm just 22 and came to know about it a year ago. And I am still struggling to let go of many uncomfortable habits I have adapted during the years. Although I am trying to change my way of living step by step, it is not very easy. I hope to be able to read some of her books soon. 
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