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Life as a HSP: 25 Wonderful Aspects of Highly Sensitive People

Richard O'Neill is proud to be a highly sensitive person. It has allowed him to experience life on a more spiritual and intuitive level.

Much like flower, they are beautiful yet fragile

Much like flower, they are beautiful yet fragile

Highly Sensitive People Matter, Too

It is hard being highly sensitive in a world that has yet to fully understand us. We are often ridiculed and teased for displaying behaviors that represent weakness and lack of confidence in the world of non-sensitive people.

Add to this the mounting problems that humanity is faced with on a daily basis, both socially and economically, and it is easy to see why we might struggle somewhat to adapt to this overwhelmingly intense existence.

We Are Blessed With Many Unique Attributes

In spite of the above, I am thankful I was born this way because there are numerous attributes with which each of us are blessed.

Sure, there are certain aspects of life that we often struggle with, such as public speaking, socializing or performing while under scrutiny, but that's not to say we are unable to do these things. We just have to work harder at it. However, as you are about to see, we people do have a purpose and are sensitive for a reason, not just some random fluke of nature.

The HSP Gift

As an HSP (highly sensitive person), I'm pretty confident those of us who know and understand this trait are aware of Dr. Elaine N. Aron, the HSP who enabled the rest of us to finally understand why we are so different.

Understandably, as a psychologist (which is a perfect career for an HSP), she was curious about her unusually high level of sensitivity to her environment, and so embarked upon a journey to find answers.

The day I was perusing the self-help section in my local bookshop and came across The Highly Sensitive Person, by Dr. Aron, my life finally began to make sense. I was an HSP. Chosen through natural selection to be one of the 15-20% that makes up the HSP population, a selection that occurs in every species! We are:

  • Guides
  • Counselors
  • Teachers
  • Artists
  • Psychologists
  • And so much more...
Highly Sensitive People Sense emotion in others

Highly Sensitive People Sense emotion in others

25 Reasons Why Highly Sensitive People Rock!

1. We Are Able to Sense Emotion in Others

This ability is extremely useful as we are able to help those who are in emotional pain, even when they are attempting to hide their real feelings. On many an occasion I have asked someone, "Are you alright? Is something bothering you?" and they have replied in surprise, "Well... yes. How did you know?"

This means that highly sensitive people make gifted psychologists, counselors and teachers although at first it can be overwhelming due to the bombardment of emotions. Perseverance is another HSP trait, thankfully!

2. Great Parents

As a result of our heightened sense of feeling and emotion, we are in tune with other people's feelings on a much deeper level than most are. This makes us great parents who are able to sense the needs of our children and understand babies when they are in distress.

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Babies can sense this in highly sensitive people and consequently are at ease around us, also in part due to our gentle, loving nature.

3. We Experience Incredibly Powerful Love

While in love, there isn't a person alive that does not at once become charged with vital energy that enthuses them with vigor and the power to conquer any obstacle. But when it comes to highly sensitive people, love is incredibly, even stronger.

We experience this sudden rush of energy, yes, but the strength of the feeling involved and all those wonderful little reactions the body goes through are multiplied tenfold! The recipient of this love will be overjoyed at the raw power they are being loved with and the highly sensitive lover will be in heaven.

4. Creativity Abounds

HSPs are extremely creative and sometimes the ideas that pour forth from us are met with surprise because they are so unique and unorthodox.

This is why many of us become artists, teachers and writers. Our creativity knows no bounds!

Fragile yet intense

Fragile yet intense

5. Powerful Intuition

A highly sensitive person's unusually powerful sense of intuition means we literally have six senses rather than the usual five, and this is what makes this trait one of my favorites.

There have been many times when my intuition has saved me from making the wrong decision. It is as if we are able to "feel" our way through life, listening to the signals from our unusually powerful gut instincts that guide us as we go. If nurtured and used correctly, i.e., listened to and not ignored, it can become a powerful gift.

*Isn't it interesting that "gut instinct" refers to the area of the stomach where the central nervous system is—another brain if you will—a brain that feels!

6. A Heightened Sense of Pleasure

We also experience tremble-inducing amounts of pleasure which makes for some amazingly powerful highs throughout life.

Some HSPs become "pleasure junkies" and actively seek out pleasure-giving activities due to the intensity of the feelings they receive while doing something they enjoy. Love-making is out of this world!

7. Super Powerful Senses

Highly sensitive people also have extremely acute senses which, although sometimes overwhelming, can be advantageous in certain careers and positions such as teaching and any career associated with art.

8. Compassionate

Compassion and kindness are two words that are synonymous with HSPs, obviously due to our ability to feel and sense what others may feel or be feeling as a consequence of an action taken. We make great counselors and can sit and listen to others talk of their problems for hours if need be.

*Of course, we do need to recharge more often than others.

9. Hardworking

HSPs are also known to be hardworking and dedicated to our jobs almost to the point of perfectionism which makes us a great addition to any workforce.

10. Imagination

The minds of highly sensitive people are incredibly imaginative and are able to produce extremely vivid and colorful imagery.

This is due to the fact that we can process information more thoroughly, as well as arouse the deep and meaningful feelings required to color each image with a touch of reality.

We can predict future events accurately

We can predict future events accurately

11. Aware of the Subtleties in Our Surroundings

We can walk into a room and instantly notice the myriad of subtleties contained within, such as the moods of the people in the room, the lighting, smells, crooked pictures on the wall etc.

Yes, of course other people notice these things too, but because we are almost always in fight or flight mode, our senses are always alert and scanning the surrounding area.

12. Able to Predict the Future

We are also gifted at piecing together the future from just a few fragments of evidence. This is an ability that should be utilized more by companies as a well-trained HSP is able to accurately predict the outcome of decisions concerning an area that they are familiar with, especially when in regard to human behavior.

Highly sensitive people pick up lies like a television picks up broadcasts

Highly sensitive people pick up lies like a television picks up broadcasts

13. Able to Detect Lies

If we were not so easily overwhelmed, we would make excellent detectives, not only because we are highly aware of our surroundings but also because we are able to detect lies.

Highly sensitive people are so in tune with life's rhythm that they are able to detect slight changes in the atmosphere and also notice erratic or suspicious behavior in others. Lie to an HSP at your own peril! :)

14. Conscientious

A highly sensitive person is also very unlikely to harm others or take any action that will cause distress to others.

This is because it is in our nature to carefully and thoughtfully analyze each situation before acting. We know the consequences of our actions before taking them due to our ability to piece together the future.

15. Faster Reflexes

Highly sensitive people also possess incredibly quick reflexes which compliment an already fantastic array of abilities, making us incredibly quick off the mark when it comes to running, walking or anything else that requires a fast start.

At school I was always the fastest runner off the mark. I remember seeing the surprise on the faces of my P.E. teacher and the other supposedly fastest runners in school when I beat them all in my first race against them. Priceless. Not to mention the amount of times I saved point blank shots as a goalkeeper! Thank you very much HSP trait!

16. Process Information More Thoroughly

According to studies done by Dr. Aron on highly sensitive people, our brains process information more thoroughly which is probably why we are able to answer questions before they are asked, or predict the future. A wonderful ability!

*This may make us seem slower to others because we take longer to process but we are by no means less intelligent; far from it!

17. Have an Uncanny Ability to Communicate With Animals

Animals respond to us differently than to non-sensitive people because they perhaps sense our stronger sensibility and compassionate nature.

Cats and dogs are especially susceptible to our charms and behave differently towards us.

18. Can Feel Weather, and Even Predict It

Another useful ability is weather prediction. It's short-term, but prediction nonetheless. The atmosphere changes slightly just before a weather pattern change, and we pick up on it as long as we aren't in a state of overwhelm or stress.

19. Able to Interpret What Is Happening With Non-Speaking Life (Plants, Etc.)

An HSP can also understand non-speaking entities such as animals and even plants which is why many of us love being outdoors in natural areas with few people. In the vicinity of nature we are in close proximity to plants, trees, animals and are able to "feel" the ebb and flow of life.

It can be a highly pleasurable experience to just, for example, lie in a flowery meadow basking in the sun and watching the life all around . . . even the blades of grass swaying in the breeze. Bliss!

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?

20. Rich Inner Lives

We often retreat into ourselves during those times when we are feeling overwhelmed by over-stimulation. This gives us a chance to be with ourselves spiritually and mentally.

In doing so we are able to know ourselves on a much deeper and meaningful level. Activities such as watching T.V., partying, and going to concerts are usually off-limits to us, leaving lots of time for meditation and contemplation which comes naturally to HSPs.

21. Possess an Enhanced Ability to Recall Dreams

Quite often, highly sensitive people are able to recall dreams. This is due to our brain's ability to process information more thoroughly.

22. Highly Vivid and Emotional Dreams

Another reason we find it easy to recall their dreams is because our dreams are often very life-like and detailed and so are easier to remember due to their sheer complexity.

23. Able to Recall Events and Memories in Vivid Detail

When recalling past events and memories, we are able to almost recreate identically the exact state of mind as well as the main senses stimulated at the actual time of the memory.

This is another of my favorite gifts and is the reason I often daydream despite the fact that I am 32 years old.

24. Love Being Close to Water Such as the Sea, Rivers, and Waterfalls

When we are near the sea or any other natural form of water, we experience feelings of bliss and contentedness.

This must be because of our gentle and passive nature, although we are still capable of showing the other face of water, the raw, unstoppable, powerful force, when pushed too far.

Highly sensitive people don't need stimulants!!

Highly sensitive people don't need stimulants!!

25. Don't Need Stimulants Because We Are Already Highly Alert!

Since we are continuously in fight or flight mode, we have no need of stimulants most of the time, in fact stimulants do more harm than good.

We are already aroused enough as it is without the kick up the backside that coffee gives!

It's Great to Be a HSP!

So you see. It really is great to be highly sensitive. I listed 25 things but I'm sure there are many many more positive things about being an HSP.

Too many to list!

Thanks for reading!

Peace and blessings to you. :)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Richard J ONeill

Are you a highly sensitive person? What do you think of highly sensitive people?

S P Austen from Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada on September 08, 2018:

A very informative and very true article, Richard; this is me for sure. Best wishes, Steve.

An hsp soul on December 07, 2017:

We are angels sent by god or other high power to help this world to be better. We have a mission to fix the world by showing our pure soul. We came from heaven that's why we are attracted to the beauity of nature. We miss heaven but we we were sent to this world in order to overcome hell. the other 80% of humanity are more human than us, because we are angels trapped in human bodies. Our hsp souls are connected and all hsp people are soul mates.

Cosmo Kramer on November 20, 2017:

I was always pretty sensitive growing up. I finally realized being overly sensitive was making me miserable. Overreacting to things was taking the enjoyment out of life and making me a very unproductive person. I’ve worked long and hard but I am now able to look at things in a more logical way and am not ruled by my emotions anymore. I can honestly say being less sensitive has made me a less stressful and happier person. I think being sensitive is good when it is used to help others but when sensitive people are only sensitive about themselves it is can be a very selfish trait to have. It’s all about balance.

Arathorn II on November 12, 2017:

Finding out a few years ago there was a name for my personality trait was a great relief! My life was like a 1000 piece jig-saw puzzle that was missing 10 pieces. Sure I could see what the picture of the puzzle was supposed to be, but I always felt incomplete - something was missing - I felt so different from everybody else! It's hard at times being a HSP but it's also so rewarding!

IRfan bhat on September 16, 2017:

Very difficult in todays world,when your family quit s

SweetPea on September 01, 2017:

I'm an HSP-and have known it for many years, when I came across Dr Aron's book (don't have a copy now, lent it out and it didn't come back).

The highs are high and the lows are so miserable I just hide under the quilt, recently I'd thought I was bi-polar!!

After coming across this article/ website, I've been reminded (yet again) of my true self-I'm an HSP and I'll stand up loud & proud to be counted as one.

Thank you so very much for reminding me who I am at my very core.

In this crazy fast paced world it really is so easy to forget... I'm me and proud to be at one with my sensitive soul and with my fellow hsp's.

Heyzeus Christos on August 20, 2017:

Hells ya highly sensitive but also extroverted at times too, so dont f with me! Kidding. Kind of.

Damn 55 yrs old and thank you Elaine Aron, Judith Orloff MD Richard O'Neill, and others for helping figure this type out.

Water check, snow, mountains check, athletic check, creative check, animals, kids love me check, loud noises suck as do loud people check, hardworking, most have no idea, nor can keep up check

not being full of self, just excited, ah ha moment, epiphany

Not taking so many risks these days so perhaps atypical that way, but prob gonna go climb some more rock.

And Aries fire sign all the way.

Thanks y'all, full force to be reckoned with, but sensitive as...understandably as you know, "toughen up"and "real men dont show emotion" never heard that before

Peace out

Agnes on August 17, 2017:

Its true but people take advantage of us...

Sana on August 04, 2017:

its awesome being a hsp at we are no less than others and should be thankfull for this gift

sandra L Lehman on June 15, 2017:

That is who I am and comfortable with it...

Joan Southard on May 08, 2017:

I am so is my Dad and my 2 sisters and my son. It runs very strong in my family. I've learned to avoid crowds, too much overload, too many emotions going all at once. Careful with what I watch on TV, and confrontations, don't like them at all. Then there are days when everything seems AOK, but I'm feeling anxious, just waiting for the shoe to drop and it always does. I have no complaints, you see, sticking with my "gut feeling", I saved 2 lives, so being gifted in this way, is truly a joyous one!

Wei La on March 18, 2017:

I was born an hsp and I have had a tough childhood(violence, physical and verbal abuse). The experiences that I went through as a child had given me much pain and suffering for the last 30+ years of my life and countless anti depression medications as well as cousellings. Nothing worked for me. The only question I kept asking myself was " why?". Because an hsp, i couldn't understand how people can be so insensitive when it comes to the well being and happiness of others, why they acted the way they did. Not only until I found the TRUTH of life that everything started to make sense. If you are a parent, all I ask of you is to please love and give all you can to your children, because you are the only safe have that they have and without this haven they are lost in suffering.

Kristina on September 08, 2016:

Awesome article :) Very close to what I feel and think of myself. This is the encouragement I like to read when few people around me seem to gravitate to the same kind of things: plants, animals, water, peace and quiet.

Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on August 24, 2016:

Hey to all that commented. I'm sorry I didn't get back to everyone. My bad. I always try my hardest to get back here but sometimes it might be weeks before I return, only to find I've missed more comments.

I'll start with you Martin.

Yes, I agree. We do tend to be hermits. I really love how you mentioned our built-in-manual because I also tend to think that too. If we know what to ask for, the answer will come and your idea of sitting at the computer to jot it down as it flows to us is excellent.

I'm going to try it tonight and I recommend that any other HSPs reading this also give it a go too as I believe it's possible.



martin mittelmark on August 22, 2016:

Highly sensitive people may well tend to be hermits, where their best friend is themselves. Plus as mentioned they find it easier to go within where they can experience a wonderful sense of bliss and may find it easier to tap their creative side and may even have poems come to them which they take down almost like a scribe. Also they come to realize they have a built in how to do it manual, where they can sit at the computer and ask God a question and then take down what is said, and the answers they receive are wonderfully filled with wisdom.

Hsp!! on July 29, 2016:

Wow ,I'm 18 ,and I thought I was the only one, I knew something wasn't right with me, in life ur tought as a male to be a MAN ,need to grow up!!as my dad would say,bt i would cry every damn time anyone else does the deeper and better ik the person the worse it is I littraly feel everything they do ,like a tidal wave of emotion came over me!! I typed in my Google search bar copassionite sensitive thinking I'm the only one and that I would find nothing bt I read this and it blew me away !!!!everything was dead on to me ...well us...and this was very hard to deal with when ur on shrooms I balled my eyes out for HOURS when I did them months ago !!and the only thing I can compare it to is ur hole family dieing all at the same time all bt u ,and u feel like ur dieing inside !!!!horable experience wouldn't recommend anyone with this hsp or whatever it is to try it ,unless u think ur ready ik I wasn't at all!!bt I'm glad I'm not the only one that deals wit this.... (it's a bitch and a blessing at the same time ...)

Scott Davidson from Sydney, Australia on May 13, 2016:

Highly sensitive people are awesome. They have the ability to bring out emotion in others. People are able to draw from their incredible energy and it lifts them up.

That said sensitive people are also incredible delicate. They can quickly pull you into line if you are doing something that is hurting another person.

Sensitive people have an uncanny sixth sense of things. One of my friends is highly sensitive and they give me advice on things I didn't even realise about myself.

They are seriously attuned to another level. They are great to have around.

Cari Jean from Bismarck, ND on May 13, 2016:

Very interesting article! My husband and daughter are both HSP's and I now understand them so much better! I would love to be an HSP for a day just to see what it is like!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 27, 2015:

Rich, this was an interesting hub to know about HSP people like you. I'm sensitive and shy though. This was a great read and voted up!

Cassandra on April 12, 2015:

You have just explained what has been going on inside my head that I could never put into words...Thankyou.

I've been watching myself being so emotional with strangers and even people I know, where im always in 'flight or fight' mode, watching what I say and being paranoid, loving taking time alone to run through grassy forestry or sitting under a tree with my music, talking with plants and animals, having dejavus, being overstimulated and becoming obsessed with an object or idea.

I always kept on thinking how do people live? How are others so..almost perfect, in the way they can brush off things that make me hot and sweaty under my collar. I always knew I was sensitive; id be told don't be so sensitive when id cry about talking to someone about a job or doing something that was actually good for me. And id feel weak because of it and be hard on myself about how I was alien and not normal. But know that I know about HSP and realised I was this blessing I finally accept and can put into perspective all the things I do without my control. And maybe know I can manage it.

Im real thankful to have found your page and for you to have written this in the shoes of a HSP


Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on March 31, 2015:

Thanks for adding to the discussion Hustlersam.

I love that name by the way! :)

HustlerSam on March 31, 2015:

Joliejojo, you are talking about a different kind of sensitive people, and I think you're right about them.

But there is another kind of "sensitivity", the original meaning of the word, which means there are people who digest more information, process more sensory input, and feel deep empathy towards everyone around them.

I don't think that is something to hate.

Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on March 31, 2015:

Thank you Bobby.

All from the perspective of a HSP, not a psychologist or expert, far from it in fact.

You're probably right though.

Thanks for stopping by.

bobby on March 31, 2015:

You make some good points, but you are less knowledgeable than you bring on.

Curiad on September 27, 2014:

Yes this speaks to me. I have many of these traits. Thanks for this great article.

Jim Hallowes on September 27, 2014:

Hello HSPs!

I want to invite you to visit and to share my website and I'd love to put you on my HSP Newsletter, just send me you regular email address. Thank you!

Jim Hallowes, and here's a direct link to sign up, too:

And follow me on Twitter: @JimHallowes because I want to follow more folks myself!

Janice Horner on July 10, 2014:

Wow, what a fantastic hub! I am just like this, no two ways about it and actually, I'm very pleased to be part of a group of people as described in this article. Loved it!

Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on March 27, 2014:

Hey Areeb Ali,

Reading your comment brought a huge smile to my face as when I first set out to write about sensitive people (myself included), helping others to understand themselves better was my intent.

I'm sure you'll agree that whilst (especially in our younger years) it can be painful as a HSP, to feel so alien and so weak in comparison to others, it is a blessing. When we finally grab a hold of all that makes a HSP special and begin to utilize it, we realize we can do such wonderful things for this world and it's inhabitants, people, animals etc.

Thank you for making me smile today!

Have a great day!


Areeb Ali on March 26, 2014:

Brilliant Article! You put my thought in words perfectly..

Since, I've been watching myself as an alien being so emotional with people I don't even know, talking with plants and sea waves, conversing with winds and raindrops, very often dejavus, walking with another world around me, abstract connections, writing so many surrealistic, broken ideas. I kept on thinking how can people be so straight like a line with their lives? Why can't they see what I am seeing? Why can't they feel what I feel? but I ended up focusing on myself and resuming the world on its own.

I am just so much thankful to you for you have reduced the long distance way of HSPs knowing themselves in a more better and productive way by arranging these words with beautiful images..

Hats Off!

Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on December 28, 2013:

Hey Lisa,

Yes I understand. The bullying is hard to fathom, especially as a HSP. Though it's impact does lessen somewhat once we begin to understand why we are so different. It's then, I suppose, that we stop feeling so alien and beating ourselves up for being so.

Good luck with your dream of becoming a physician assistant. As a HSP, it's a great career for you and gives you the opportunity to heal those who need it.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you.


Lisa on December 26, 2013:

Believe it or not this post has helped me physically, mentally and emotionally. I was labeled as "shy" "too sensitive" and i was bullied for this. I am so thankful to have this uniqueness about me, i understand who i am. i am willing to apply this to my everyday life as i move towards my dream of becoming a physican assistant.

Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on November 04, 2013:

Hey Critterlover,

Oh no, I really didn't mean all that regarding you, not at all. That wasn't aimed at you. I was merely stating how it can be on forums where people are not proactive in seeking a way out but instead complain.

It's the reason I left them all. Hubpages is part of my healing process and helping others come to terms with what they are in turn heals me too.

I see that you are 'not' stuck in a cycle nor are you complaining. You would not have come here and said what you did had you been that way.

I promise you, Critterlover, I was not advising you nor referring to you when I said those things. That was simply a general observation, a conclusion I had come to in seeking out healing for myself in the past.

I am all about compassion. One reason I never stayed in the forums was because no matter how much compassion I gave the same people, in fact most members seemed to have never ending problems and spent the ENTIRE time going over them with no improvement whatsoever. I'm not being judgmental, merely seeking healing as you are and for me, it didn't help to talk of my problems like that. Sure sharing as you have is healthy and necessary in order to better come to terms with it, not lock it away, but to have it become a habit to tell your problems over and over and over rather than rely on yourself, therefore strengthening your resolve, your confidence, your problem solving skills is not the way forward. Once again, I never said you do that and I don't blame anyone for doing it.

I also suffered from very similar things to you, abusive parents, abusive older brothers, incestuous relatives, teasing, bullying, depression. We've both suffered in much the same way, only because of the wealth of material and understanding about our trait today i.e. Elaine Aron and all the forums, I have been able to catch it early whereas for you, I fear you went misunderstood until much later - that is unfortunate. But you are on the right track and being proactive.

I agree. Advice is seldom useful unless the person giving it understands you as a person in every aspect, otherwise they are merely saying (without realizing) what they 'would' do or 'should' do, not you.

I apologize profusely if I gave the wrong impression, Critterlover and want you to know that it was never my intention to upset you or criticize you. That was a mistake.

I hope you understand me.



critterlover on November 04, 2013:

Hello Richard,

Thank you for your reply to my post ..... I think??

It is sometimes challenging for me to distinguish between my uncanny ability to read a situation accurately and my oversensitive feelings but I am going to vote that I am not being oversensitive to your post.

It seems to me that you think I am caught in a cycle of complaining in an effort to seek comfort, and that I focus on the negative aspects of being HSP. Plus, that I need to change my self-image and reprogram my subconscious.

Yikes, I guess I am going to have to be more careful in what I write on forums. I thought this was a 'safe' forum - free of assumptions, judgments, and advice. I was merely giving my perspective from my viewpoint, which unlike everyone else on this forum - I personally do NOT think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I would trade it for another 'gift' like singing or 'leadership' any day of the week. Isn't an honest exchange of different ideas and experiences better than everyone being in agreement that HSP is wonderful? It's not a wonderful life for everyone. Please don't judge people (like me) for having a different viewpoint, but rather accept that is my viewpoint from the vantage point of my life, which you know relatively little about.

I have been wounded, recovered, and still recovering - not by having HSP as you seem to assume - but by living through many crimes committed against me, not one but TWO highly abusive parents, an incestrous grandfather, many great losses, etc. and on top of these events (not perspective), I've had to deal with them through the mind and body of a HSP. This does not make me a wimp. I am not a victim. I don't live in a cycle of unworthiness or complaining.

I merely spoke my truth, and erroneously expected compassion from fellow HSPs, not unsolicited bad advice and assumptions.

I do, however, consider your youthful age. I am a generation older than you and therefore give you lots of leeway in those things you haven't learned yet.

Please consider this. It would be insensitive to tell my black friends who tell me they experience racism (on top of being HSP) - 'don't play the victim card.'

It would be insensitive to tell my friend who is paralyzed from the chest down who has many health issues - 'you need to read a book so you can change your perspective.'

It would be insensitive to tell my best friend who is still grieving the loss of her son from an accidental drug overdose 6 years ago - 'look for the positive, not the negative.'

The following is some general info that we can all learn from whether a HSP or not. These are damaging, not helpful:

Sympathy - "Oh, you poor thing."

One upmanship - "That's nothing. Let me tell you what happened to me."

Unsolicited advice - Never give it because a fool won't heed it and a wise man doesn't need it.

Judgment - "You need to change your perspective" (and all it's varying forms.)

This IS helpful:

Compassion - "I hear you. I get it. I feel with you. I've been there, you are not alone.

It is my sincerest hope that this post adds to the discussion and that you do not feel criticized. That is not my intention, but rather to say and explain that I felt very misunderstood and a bit bashed for expressing my honest, unsappy post.

Thank you for your work in this forum. I appreciate the fact that it is not an easy task.

Most sincerely,


Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on November 03, 2013:

Hey there, Critterlover

Thanks for sharing so much with me and all those who come here to read this article. I'm sure that all this sharing, exploring and drinking in of each others' experiences goes some way to helping us heal.

After reading that first part, I feel for you because it must have been even harder for you, seeing as you were born at a time when psychology had yet to grasp this concept of sensitivity - not to mention the distinct lack of understanding of it in society. It was bad enough for me being born in 1980. To be honest though, it didn't get hard for me until I started attending secondary/high school - then it was all downhill from there.

Anyway, I can relate to your own experience of coming to the conclusion that I might not make it to adulthood. I was always sick and lonely, shy and weird, even to this day to some extent.

I hear you on the loneliness aspect and the cycle. I too do that and suffer from that. It's self-perpetuating huh. On the one hand, you want more friends and need the company, on the other having too much of that only wears you down especially if those friends become insensitive upon getting to know you better as is so often the case. Therefore, to avoid all the stress and weariness that being popular causes, we end up lonely as it is the easiest way.

I have known many many people - sadly, few of them, although friends on Facebook currently, understand me nor do they make any effort to do so, like attracts like in this case but I find the one thing we must not do as HSPs is become victims.

I've been a member of too many forums and pages where instead of sharing their gifts and celebrating how gifted they are as sensitive beings, all they do is complain and blame and seek sympathy and comfort - this is the worst vicious cycle of all. We are living with the misconception that to talk of our problems over and over somehow helps - it doesn't. It simply creates a cycle, a habit within the subconscious mind that loops over and over meaning we habitually cause our own loneliness and unworthiness as ironic as that may sound.

So I guess the way for us all to move forward is to celebrate who and what we are and love ourselves for all the little things that make us so special, so unique and valuable to this world, even the seemingly negative things.

Your new 'scientist' outlook really seems like a step in the right direction because at least you aren't blaming. You are simply observing and being in control. Keep that up and more ideas will follow though, you'll get better - just gotta keep that ball rolling is all. Once the ball stops it becomes so unbelievably heavy!!!

I'm sorry to hear about your husband. For HSPs, such things are even more difficult but you are on the right path, being proactive and taking control.

I have one suggestion for you though Critterlover. Look for Dr. Max Maltz's book called Psychocybernetics. It's the best book I have ever read about changing your self-image and reprogramming your subconscious mind and I'm currently using it to change my life.

Wonderful book. You can even find interviews with the man himself on Youtube. Life changing stuff.

And last but not least, thanks for adding to the discussion with Joliejojo.

It's been a pleasure and I hope to see you again soon!


critterlover on November 01, 2013:

To Richawriter,

I don't know if Joliejojo understands your last post, but I sure did! How well said, how accurate, how respectful. I got every word of it, and it is exactly what I feel and think. Thank you for being such a good spokesman.

To Joliejojo,

I would just like to add that the article points out the positives, the potential, the advantages of HSPs in a world (including HS