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.
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:
- And so much more...
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! :)
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.
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
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:
I want to invite you to visit and to share my www.HighlySensitivePeople.com 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..
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on December 28, 2013:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
I would just like to add that the article points out the positives, the potential, the advantages of HSPs in a world (including HSPs) who typically do not see the positives.
We are not all the greatest parents in the world, for example, or smugly feel like we are. I have two sons. I think being a HSP made me a great parent to one because I was sensitive to his sensitive nature. And, the other had ADD and needed stronger and firmer guidance than I was able to give no matter how hard I tried. This left me feeling like I was not a very good parent to him.
We are all in this thing together. Understanding and compassion go a long way.
critterlover on November 01, 2013:
I don't know how this article appeared on my computer, but I am glad it did. I read some of Dr. Aron's book but felt discouraged before I got to the good part (assuming there is a good part.) Not a reflection on the book or author, but my life has not been very good (so far) and I attribute being a HSP to much of this.
It is refreshing to read that others are having a wonderful life being a HSP.
My parents, especially my mother, was very emotionally abusive to me as a child and still is (I'm 57). We are now estranged - my choice. I thought I would never survive childhood and it always puzzled me as to how my brother fared so much better. For one thing, he is not a HSP. (for another, he escaped being hated simply for being born female) I've spent most of my life thinking if only I could heal enough from the past, I wouldn't be so sensitive. Wrong. That did nothing to cure my sensitivity.
Thank goodness for this important book. Just KNOWING that I was born this way and that it's not a curse has helped me tremendously.
A problem I have is this vicious cycle: I get very lonely and have few friends and they are busy with their families (my husband committed suicide Oct 2012; he may have been a HSP, too). To combat loneliness, I go out of my way to make friends. People are generally insensitive (from my perspective), so I get hurt right away. I come home and either cry my eyes out, get depressed, or both. Then, I become lonely again. Repeat over and over. Anyone else struggle with this?
Ever the persistent and creative one though, I have a new idea that I have been implementing for 2 wks and it is working fairly well. I approach everyone (except close friends) in scientist-mode (not sweet puppy-dog mode which is my true, open self). As a 'scientist', I keep in mind when I am talking to an acquaintance or new person that my task is to find out who they are. If they are rude or insensitive, I tell myself: They are showing me who they are and I don't really want to be friends with them. That's okay because there are 7 billion people. I have plenty of other choices. This makes it easier to not take their insensitivity personally.
It may not sound like much, but hey, coming from a person who has been suicidal (not currently) for many decades of my life due to the pain of being sensitive in an insensitive world and the pain of my abusive family (past and current) ........it's a big help for me.
Thanks for reading.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on October 28, 2013:
I hear what you are saying but I can't agree.
You hate HSPs? Surely you don't mean that. We're all different on this earth and each possess our own strengths and weaknesses. It works better that way, it seems and leaves the door open for us all to learn from each other - all of our varied types and groups.
You say HSP people tend to complain that Non-HSPs are insensitive and therefore should make more effort to become more sensitive but doesn't the same apply to Non-HSPs?
(I'm using Non-HSPs for want of a better term)
I lost count of the number of times I was told "Don't be so sensitive." OR WORSE "You are so soft as s**t!" And all that when I was still too young to realize why I was different. So you tell me now - who is wrong? Who are the hypocrites? Who expects the other to conform to their standards?
It seems to me that the door swings both ways, although with a little understanding and acceptance we need not be blaming each other for what makes us different.
You think I'm being audacious and blowing the HSP trumpet by listing what's great about us?
Listen, we live in a world that celebrates those who are extroverted and express themselves freely and often selfishly, at the expense of others. If you think I'm over-exaggerating, take a look at these examples:
Justin Bieber 'appears' arrogant, self-centered, vain, self-indulging, uncaring of observers, confident and doing absolutely nothing to use his wealth and power to help the world - yet - he is worshipped like God with half a billion views on one video alone.
Madonna and Lady Gaga promote sex among our youth with their music (at least Madonna did) yet they are also worshipped.
Hip-Hop promotes aggression, free expression to the extent that its okay to fight with guns and be posturing towards people in the street yet it remains the most popular.
These people are all extroverts, the world belongs to the them and because of this, HSPs quietly feel like aliens and as if they aren't meant to be here amongst all this noise, therefore, I strive to assure my fellow HSPs that it's okay to be this way, we are not weird or broken. We should celebrate who we are.
I'm not saying everyone else is inferior or wrong in some way. I'm merely assuring people like myself (sensitive) that it's good to be sensitive. I'm not saying we are better or worse, I'm searching for and showing what makes us unique.
Many HSPs are lost and need guidance - that's it.
You can't generalize. Nor can HSPs.
Some introverted HSPs get it wrong. They teach their kids to fear the world whilst they harbor blame towards extroverts or Non-HSPs but that's just a very small percentage and then those people are also not wrong, merely misguided and hurt and reacting with defensiveness. Don't blame them for that.
The same goes for Extroverts. Mistakes galore. Going on T.V. promoting vanity, greed, lust and barbarism by the mountain-load but are they wrong and should we blame or hate them and tell them to be more sensitive? No, absolutely not.
I accept as a HSP that extroverts possess skills and attributes that most HSPs can only dream of, but by the same token I know that HSPs also possess skills extroverts and Non-HSPs do not. Neither is superior, they merely compliment each other.
Please don't hate us, Joliejojo. We are simply searching for a place to be ourselves and certainly not at the expense of anyone else.
If you find that some of us blame, please bear in mind that they are the minority and furthermore do it because they were hurt by extroverts because of a lack of understanding between the two groups, that is all.
Peace to you and I hope you are able to understand me.
Joliejojo on October 28, 2013:
I can't stand HSP people. Why? Because you are Hippocrates. You expect everyone around you to walk on egg shells to not upset you, you can't deal with everyday problems like everyone else and that needs to be Accepted. However, you can tell a stronger person they need to be more sensitive? So you never need to be stronger and need to deal with things better, everyone else around needs to change. Also, can you be any more full of yourself? The audacity to say you love stronger and your better parents, along with a host of other things that you are better at because of your lack of dealing with the world around you is nonsense. I'll bet there will be HSP's that will insult my comments, because they are so sensitive. If no one can tell you buck up and deal with the world better, you do not have the right to tell people to be more sensitive. I can also say that as far as parenting goes, we can agree to disagree. An HSP parent can make the child a mess. Very afraid of what's in the world and always confirming what's mean and scary. I know a person that has made their child afraid of the world around them, it's sad. She was smart enough to realize this was not a good thing, she put him in therapy . Has built a great deal of confidence and no longer falls apart as easily when the going gets tough. I find that the HSP is not at all as sensitive to everyone around them only to themselves and what is upsetting to them.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on October 11, 2013:
Yes, HSPs come in all shapes and sizes. Many people would be surprised that your brother is as he is, being that he is so big, I get that too as I'm also quite muscular and being sensitive and thoughtful with it just doesn't seem to fit, for many people.
I'm glad I could be of service to you.
Your brother is making a real difference and using his HSPness as it should be - in helping others.
Good day to you.
Stephanie Constantino from Fountain, CO on October 11, 2013:
I loved this hub... my brother always gets a ton of grief because he is 6'6, 300 lbs, and basically a huge man. However, he has the heart of a little kid. He is always so sensitive, and I think it makes him a better person. He is actually a teacher who works in special education. His current class is full of emotionally disturbed 3rd graders, and they all really love him. Thanks so much for this list... I'm going to forward this to him :)
geraldine on August 31, 2013:
i find when trying to relate to other people it sucks being an hsp. i don't think people like me very much or think im phoney. oh well
AnnaCia on May 10, 2013:
Very glad for having read your hub. I am so proud to be one of the HSP people. Many difficult things come with it until I started embracing it and loving my uniqueness. Beautiful photos . Thank you for discussing such an important topic.
MysticMoonlight on April 27, 2013:
First of all, THANK YOU for putting HSP in a good spotlight! I am a HSP and all of my life I have been teased and ridiculed for being "too sensitive" to life! UGH! I've always told myself that other people just don't get it.
This is a wonderful hub, very informative and much appreciated! Rock on!
Kayla Hancock from Chicago on April 09, 2013:
This was so helpful!!! I never knew about this trait until a month ago or so, after I have come home from college for various health reasons. I didn't realize at the time the depth of these physical issues and that there was really more going on. The more and more I started following my instincts and not my bombarding thoughts, the more and more everything started to piece together. Meditating helped a lot, for sure.
There are so many great points in this article! I seriously might show my parents this; they just don't understand me sometimes which I totally understand. But they can't deny that I possess most of these traits. They do know me after all-my tendencies and such; just don't understand why I am like this.
Reading this only helps reassure me that I have this trait. Going through psychotherapy and stuff I've come to my own conclusion that alll of this crap I've gone through is happening for a reason. My therapist even tells me he can tell I have such a strong intuition and inner voice.
I literally could tell stories relating to all of these 25 benefits. But the dreaming I never knew was related to HSP and I was very interested to hear that, because I've always been a vivid dreamer. I keep a journal and write them down. They are so intense and real to me, and I can remember even the tiniest details! It's incredible. I also didn't know about the animal stuff and the perfecct jobs for hsps. I was studying psychology and still want to be some kind of guide/helper to people =] Not sure exactly what yet but. Very interesting.
Fantastic hub, rating up ++++
Lizam1 on April 05, 2013:
There are cognitive tools such as CBT that can really help HSP personality types Terry. It can be tough when you always feel misunderstood but training our way of thinking - thoughts control our feelings - does really help.
Terry on April 05, 2013:
I've decided i HATE being a HSP at this current time. All it seems to do is bring me pain, neurosis, storms of emotions, an easy target for bullies, nearly every friend I've ever had or Gf has ended up hurting me and they didn't even think they'd hurt me, constant work conflicts because of this stupid fucking sensitivity, addictive behavior to manage the high intensity of emotions, knowing that people are lying etc..even they don't know that you have a 6th sense, falling so deep for people and caring for them and then getting used and manipulated etc wish i was normal!! I feel like 'Cheers God why me??;! :(
Nathan on March 31, 2013:
Thank you for this. It has helped me to better understand myself, and to feel better about what I had always perceived as a weakness.
PrakashBalaji on March 09, 2013:
Proud to be a HSP..:D
white sandy beach on January 17, 2013:
Lizam1 on January 12, 2013:
Beautiful hub. I like the way you have written about the positive attributes of HSP. As a child and younger adult I was told time and time again I was over sensitive. Now having found my place in the world this gift serves me well as a parent, counsellor and coach and in my writing. Thank you
idigwebsites from United States on January 11, 2013:
There are two sides of every coin, so to speak. This is sensitivity on the good side, rather than the bad (easily irked, annoyed, given to too much whining, etc.) I like the details you've brought out here. Voted up and interesting, and a following. :)
Jabari on January 07, 2013:
In all of my 17 years of life, I never fathomed that being extra sensitive could be something someone shared. I thought that I was weak and being dramatic.
after reading all of the posts and replies, I realized that I am not alone.
My childhood is making more sense. Why I have always felt something for the elderly, wanting to listen to their stories and just bring a smile to their faces.
It saddens me, deeply to see someone in pain or suffering...so much so that I would get physically sick whenever I played my brother's fighting video games.
I never truly understood why. why my brother never got sick from killing someone. or why I was usually off on my own as a child, just in deep thought...sometimes over nothing in particular.
When I was younger, I could sense things, when a phone booth was out of order, how a person felt over texting, when my friend was thinking about ending her life.
It's hard to explain to most people. they just think I'm imaginig things. It's good to know I'm sane for the most part. that the pain I feel from those around me isn't all in my head.
That the tears I've cried for so many years due to my mother's pain and suffering were not just because I was weak or needed a "thicker skin"
abram on November 01, 2012:
i am highly sensitive in a manner in which ,i can notice any slide change that cometh my way .
sometimes it cause me lot of tension and struggling in my relationship .
i just wonder what the sensitive person ,full of assumptions.
every sentence of my talking ends with a with,am just assuming.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on October 03, 2012:
Thanks very much for that nice comment. :)
Welcome to the hubpages HSP community! There are a few of us here, I have discovered.
Peace to you. :)
vibesites from United States on October 02, 2012:
Thank you for bringing us highly sensitive people in a good light. Cheers to you! Great hub all around. :)
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on September 17, 2012:
Hello there, Curiad!
Awesome name by the way.
Yes, you most definitely are blessed with this wonderful HSP trait and I', so glad that you are able to see it as a gift. I also share your gifts of being able to connect with people even though they are thousands of miles away. I feel them through their writing and can detect what kind of person I am communicating with. It is wonderful, this sensibility!
Thanks for that insightful comment!
Take care and Peace to you! :)
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on September 17, 2012:
It's great that you have recognised the HSP trait in your daughter because as a HSP you can guide her through life and support her so that she'll develop into an exceptional young woman. I have read somewhere that HSPs who are brought up in supportive families become highly talented and successful people in life.
I think it is only when we are misunderstood and mistreated because of our trait while young that we become depressed and anxious, which in turn leads to illnesses and health problems as you mentioned above.
I understand how you have become. Kind of desensitised to most things, but that isn't to say anything is wrong. As you say, you have just grown a hard casing which is just one way of dealing with the trait. I have an extra-hard casing too but I am still very sensitive to some things and still struggle somewhat.
Perhaps some HSPs can not be counselors but as for myself, it is my dream to become one because I have always been good at advising and helping others out with their problems.
Thanks for the kind words and comment, izettl.
I'll see you very soon.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on September 17, 2012:
Thanks so much for those wonderful words of support and appreciation. It fills me with great joy when I am able to reach out and communicate these feelings of mine with other HSPs.
I see that in order to overcome the difficulty we experience as HSPs, you first gave yourself an almighty push through necessary learning and exposure as a way of finally accepting and dealing with your gift. Excellent, well done on your success Sir!
I too have dragged my sensitive self through many a tough situation that I could have ran away from but didn't because I knew and 'felt' that if I backed away, I would never grow and would always hide away, rather than express my gifts.
You entered into a tough but ideal career for a HSP. I also aspire to one day become a counselor of some sort.
Take care and thanks for such a nice comment. See you soon.
Curiad on September 15, 2012:
Hi Rich, this is an awesome hub and one I can totally relate to. I too am a highly sensitive person, and possibly very emphatic. I have experienced so many things in my lifetime and yes it can be hard to deal with. One of the things I have happen a lot is I connect spiritually with people that I have only met via chat or a virtual world such as second Life. (I actually have an article on this). I have connections so powerful that I can speak with people and hold conversations with them over vast distances. I would not give this up for anything as it is a gift form our creator.
Thank you for the awesome article!
Lizett from The Great Northwest on September 15, 2012:
This is a great hub. i've given more thought to this since having my daughter. She is 5 and highly sensitive...well, since she was a baby. I often wonder if things get to be too much for her cause little things are big and she has extreme empathy.
I believe I used to be as a kid, but just with life I guess I got less sensitive. I'm sure many HSP turn the opposite direction just to cope.Let's face it the world isn't ideal for us. I'm still very snesitive but have a hard shell now I suppose. I've had to overcome a lot and out of necessity I had to become less sensitive. Honestly I like it better now.
The downside to HSP: A few years ago I got an illness (Rheumatoid Arthritis). This is a physical disability but linked to psychological- taking in too much, taking in the pains of the world around us basically. I believe this too be true. I think HSP have a lot of disadvantages in this world- more illness is one for sure. HSP need outlets, stress relief, and hopefully end up in a job suitable for them. Having got my Pscyology degree, I quickly found out counseling was not a good area for a HSP. I know you mentioned those types of fields but I disagree. I think HSP take it all in and it's been proven that counselors nee to have a degree of sympathy, but need to be able to let that all go. I think once you've heard people's issues and feel deeply for them, it's hard as a HSP to "let it all go". they tend to take it in...which can be too much for HSP. Seriously, try listening to some awful problems all day and still be OK with being highly sensitive. I think HSP are drawn to those fields but not necessarily good for them.
Great topic...voted up and useful.
Vinod from Hyderabad, India on September 15, 2012:
First of all, I have given this a big thumbs up - very detailed informative writeup that will make sense even to the uninitiated!
I struggled with my sensitivity about thirty years ago - long before I came to know of Dr. Elaine Aaron. I realized that my amazing sensitivity was an asset as well as a curse, because of the suffering I had to undergo on account of all that I would pick up while others around me enjoyed the bliss of ignorance. In that tussle, I concluded that the only way forward would be to become better capable of processing the information. My three years as a counselor and behavioral science facilitator gave me wonderful opportunities to grow and become capable of handling lot of what I was picking up. So as the suffering reduced I found it easier to retain and celebrate my sensitivity. The characteristics mentioned by you fit me to a T - but I was not aware of the linkages until I came across Dr. Elaine's work. I think you are doing a great job by now bringing this to HubPages.
Finally need I add that I am thrilled to meet another HSP?
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on September 12, 2012:
I'm honored that you would think like that. I guess that is the HSP part of me that seems to be drawn to helping people when they are down.
From Hsp to another. :)
Perhaps you need a HSP man in your life. Some would say that 2 HSPs in one relationship would be doomed to failure but that is only from the view of a pessimistic person or at least predominatly negative. I'm sure that the union of 2 HSPs would be a dream relationship. Harmonious and giving.
Wow you really do live in a wonderful area! I also love the sea and have been drawn to it my whole life. My dream is to go on a round the world cruise and be at sea for months! Perfect!
Well, fellow HSP and explorer. See you soon.
OceanLuvn from Florida on September 10, 2012:
You are so sweet.
Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words. I'm sorry if my 2 previous posts sounded negative, I usually try to always see the positive and be upbeat and I practice TM every day to help me cope with being overwhelmed by life.
I'm just going through some tough time right now. But, it will get better, I know. I just have to have patience and faith.
It means a lot that a perfect stranger can be so kind and compassionate......it means more than you know.
YOU are the type of man I would so love love to meet one day.
And yes.....I live in Paradise....beautiful St. Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the U.S. Bought a house on the beach and loving it! I never knew why I was always so drawn to the ocean or why it's where I feel the happiest, but now I know it's because I am a HSP! :)
Bless you Rich
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on September 10, 2012:
I'm sorry to hear of the insensitivity you experienced from those men, and I can relate because I have been through similar, not just with girlfriends but with every relationship, it seemed, except that with my mother because she is also a HSP.
As you said yourself, you are attractive, smart and successful. You WILL find the right guy in time, although what you can learn from your past experiences is to take more time to get to know the real person before falling for them. But I know that is easier said than done when you are a HSP. Our emotions often get the better of us and even though we know we are doing something inadvisable, our heart pulls us on, seeking love or intense feeling. Pleasure. Security. Companionship.
You will most definitely find the kind of man who understands and likes you the way you are, highly sensitive. Unfortunately, just as the HSP population is, the population of men who understand sensitivity and like it is quite small. Those men are there, you just have to use your sixth sense or your more powerful HSP senses to 'feel' what kind of man they are. We all have these acute senses, HSPs, but we sometimes stop using them perhaps because we fear their power over us.
I have noticed a strange phenomenon throughout my life. Each time I felt incredible attraction and the feeling I was with the 'one' was at those times when I was experiencing extreme lows in my life. They were like the proverbial knight in shining armor, only they were 'maidens' on horses. They always appeared when I really 'needed' them. There are patterns in life like that if you look closely. Like a program.
Times are tough now but good times are a comin, soon. You'll see, just expect it.
Wow, you live in Florida. Sunny, beautiful, trendy, fun!
Love that place!
Well, I'll see you very soon OceanLuvn.
Take care. Everything will be alright. :)
OceanLuvn from Florida on September 08, 2012:
Thank you for the encouraging words. I am really having a tough time trying to find the bright side to being a HSP.
Because of being so sensitive, I have never been able to find someone who will try to understand why my feelings get hurt over things they may say or do. It has ruined every relationship I have ever had with a man, because I feel like if they loved me and respected me, that they would try to be more aware of my sensitivity. But instead, I have always been accused of having something wrong with ME. What I try to explain to them, is that, even if they don't think it is something I should be hurt by, the fact is, I AM hurt and that's what should matter if they love me. Not whether they think I have a reason to be. I get so tired of being told to "get over it" and 'toughen up"!
Is it possible to ever find a good relationship with a man who will care enough to try to understand? I feel so disrespected when my feelings are trivialized....which has happened in every relationship I have had. I have never even had a man apologize to me for hurting my feeling because they always think I shouldn't be hurt.....but I AM hurt, and that's what should matter.
I guess this is so close to my heart right now because after getting out of a 30 year marriage with someone who was SO not caring about my feelings, I finally found what I thought was the love of my life, but I just ended that because he constantly hurt my feeling, made me feel bad and then would laugh at me when I tried to explain about how sensitive I am and to please just be aware of it. I am devastated and feeling hopeless that there will ever be a man that would care enough to understand. I just don't get it.....I am attractive, smart, successful, own my own home on the beach in Florida, have lots of friends.....but every relationship with a man ends up the same way.
Please tell me it's possible to find someone who will understand.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on September 07, 2012:
Your childhood sounds exactly like mine. Labeled shy and quiet, timid etc. God I hated it when people called me 'timid' or 'lovely.' It was so demeaning to me to be belittled like that, but all the while, no doubt like you yourself, I blamed myself for the chaos in my life. After all, I was the one being so damn sensitive all the time right. Those other people were just being normal no? I was weird!
That was how I used to think. I now accept my trait and because I have learned to accept it and enjoy it's positive aspects my life is so much better now and I feel that I can really make something of myself.
I'm sorry to hear that you have struggled with it so much throughout your life OceanLuvn. You must have been though so much pain and grief.
Although I have accepted my trait, I also take things personally too. It's partly because I think no person has a right to make another feel useless or inferior in some way, even if they say they are only joking, they still meant to hurt you in some way. I never understood why people did that, but I do now. They do it because inside they are insecure and they need to put others down in order to feel secure and satisfied with who they are. It is all unconscious, though. They don't know why they do it, they just do. I feel sorry for those kind of people.
Their problem is they don't 'know' themselves. They have no idea who they are or what they want to be. They are lost souls and sadly there are millions upon millions of them.
My advice to you Oceanluvn is to study your trait and read about it as in depth as you can. Secondly, appreciate your gifts. Your wonderful ability to love, to feel, to immerse yourself in the pleasure of the moment more deeply than a non-sensitive person could.
Sure there are negatives, but they are negligent when compared to the positives of our trait. Don't hide it any longer. Don't go around broadcasting it either, but just don't hide it anymore. Express who you really are and life will get a whole lot easier.
You can do this. You are a powerful HSP! I'm so glad to have met you here. A fellow HSP. There are a few of us here you know. Our little tribe.
OceanLuvn from Florida on September 06, 2012:
Well, I was googling HSP on my phone while at work today and somehow ended up here!
I have always known I way more sensitive than most people, but I only recently discovered the HSP.
Growing up I couldn't understand why everyone else wasn't as sensitive as I was.....and of course, I was labeled shy, etc.
It helps to know there is a reason I am this way, but I wish I could say that I am glad to be HSP. Actually, I really hate it and I am embarrassed for people to know because it's so misunderstood.
I get my feelings hurt all the time and so very easily, especially by those I love the most. I try not to take things personally, but I just don't know how not to.
I get so easily overwhelmed although I am good at hiding it from people. Most people who know me would have no idea. They just think I'm very easy-going and sweet.
Unfortunately, I haven't had people in my life who even TRY to understand it.....my parents and my siblings, while growing up, made me feel like there was something wrong with me.
Then in my adult years, it seems that every relationship I have had with a man (married 3 times) has ended because I am so sensitive and get my feelings hurt so easily and they don't understand it and just finally get tired of dealing with it.
I keep hoping that one day it might be possible to meet someone that is another HSP or at least is willing to try to understand it and not make me feel like I'm the freak.
I'm curious as to how many HSPs are able to have good healthy relationships with a significant other. Are there people that are capable of understanding even if they don't feel the same way?
My last marriage finally ended after almost 30 years, but most of the years were not good and it was largely due to the fact that he was extremely "insensitive" anyway.....even for a "non HSP". Before I knew anything about HSP most everyone in my life close to me, made me feel like there was something wrong with me and I was told the usual things like, "get over it" , "you are being too sensitive", "toughen up".
I really have been trying my whole life to toughen up and not take things so personally, but I haven't been very successful.
I hide it fairly well, but if I get into a relationship, it eventually shows up.
Anyway...didn't mean for this to be such a long comment...it's just nice to find other people who might understand.
Thanks so much for shedding light on this....I am still a work in progress! :)
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on August 23, 2012:
I'm glad you were able to learn a couple more things about being a HSP and you seem to share a gift with me - the ability to know what cats are thinking!
Thanks for those wonderful comments. They definitely made my day today!
Have a great day.
Sharilee Swaity from Canada on August 21, 2012:
This is such a lovely hub and I learned a few things, too! I am most definitely an HSP, and do believe it is a gift. I did not know that HSP like to have water close by. That is me! I always feel "off" when I am not close to a river or a lake. I love watching the water and walking beside it.
As well, I did not think of my affinity to understand animals as an HSP trait, but I always tell my husband what the cats are thinking and he makes fun of me!
I loved this hub. Voted up, more and shared. Thanks for writing such a sensitive hub.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on August 09, 2012:
Hey Jan, thanks for dropping by.
You are in the perfect career for a HSP as a therapist. Good on you for finding your path!
I too wish to train as a therapist as I feel I was born to do it, with my HSP trait.
Take care. Peace.
Jan Camus on August 07, 2012:
Being a natural magnetiser and a trained CST therapist I fully agree with Kate Klemer. My passage in the businessworld left me burned-out. Great teaching life gave me!
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on August 04, 2012:
Hey Dr. Kate Klemer.
You are right on the money with that comment. We should choose professions that will utilize our innate gifts and therefore result in a much more fulfilling existence for us, all round.
I'm glad you found a career that appreciates your gifts and puts them to good use.
Thanks for stopping by.
Dr Kate Klemer on August 04, 2012:
Hello, I am grateful that I am wired this way as it enhanced my profession as a practitioner of craniosacral and chiropractic.
If I had chosen to be an attorney I would have been plowed over.
I think when you have this gift it is wise to choose a profession where your gift is magnified and appreciated.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on August 02, 2012:
Hey Mama Kim!
Nice to see another HSP here on hubpages, there are quite a few of us here. The HSP Hubpages Hangout!
Yes, us HSPs are a difficult breed to understand. I hope your husband checks this out and it helps him to understand just what we HSPs are all about.
Thanks for coming over and I'm glad I could help.
Sasha Kim on July 28, 2012:
This is wonderful! My son and I are both HSP and my husband doesn't understand. I'll have to get him to read this ^_^
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on July 23, 2012:
Hey Debilyn, thanks for coming over!
I hear ya when you talk about how people are forever telling you to be 'less sensitive.' Less sensitive!! How is that possible for us? It isn't. That is like telling non-hsps to stop being so damn non-sensitive or unsensitive. To them it is normal, they aren't doing anything wrong as far as they are concerned, they were 'born' that way, and furthermore, it's 'normal' behavior!
That's where the 80/20 problem comes in. Only 20% of us compared to the 80% of them, so no wonder we are weird to them. We are so few and not only that, but many of us often wear a mask to cover up our hsp traits because we know it is perceived as a weakness or we'll be called 'lovely' and 'shy.' Condescending labels that no-one wants!
There will come a time when hsps play a bigger role in the big scheme of things, and until then, we'll grow and learn to accept ourselves in readiness for acceptance into the rest of the world.
Right now the world well and truly belongs to the 'extroverts' who do literally anything to be noticed and make millions from the other lesser wannabe 'extroverts' who stare at them all day in worship mode.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! :)
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on July 23, 2012:
Hello Benita A. Esposito and thanks for stopping by here on this wonderful day!
Firstly, thanks for your kind words about my article. :)
You are a counselor and a hsp! That is fantastic because hsps are born counselors, only not many of us get to do it because we allow our sensitivity to hold us back and make us depressed etc. That's where you come in, a hsp and a counselor, you can't get much better than that can you!
I long to be a counselor and can't wait to return to university to finish off my studies. I have qualifications in counseling but have never actually started it. I'll get back on the treadmill and pound away!
That book by Elaine Aron also changed my life and made me realise that my hspness (awesome name by the way;) ) is a gift that I should cherish and nurture like a flower. It is a fragile thing while growing and can be damaged easily (hspness) but once nurtured and cared for it blossoms and becomes a wonderful thing!
Thanks again. It was a pleasure reading your story.
Keep up the good work!
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on July 23, 2012:
Wow, those are some very wise and insightful words you so fit to grace my hub with. Thank you very much!
Yes, hsps do have an important role to play in the coming years and generations of our species, as do all the other types of human being. However, I feel that hsps are yet to be fully understood or accepted by the western cultures especially.
When we are finally accepted, it will be tantamount to a huge step forward for mankind.
Up with the Highly sensitive people!!!
Debilyn from Garden City, MI on July 20, 2012:
AWESOME hub!! I am an HSP and an empath and it can be extremely emotionally draining. My entire life I've been told I'm too emotional and sensitive; and I need to "get over it" (whatever the "it" was.) The question I always wondered was how could I not take things personally when seemingly, I'm identifying with people and things on a highly personal level. I walk into a room and can immediately tell when there's been a confrontation, and when people that I encounter have been having an "off" day. My natural tendency is to want to swoop in and hug them. (I'm not a fan of having security called on me, so I refrain. LOL)
Thank you for writing this hub and for re-assuring me that not only am I not alone, but for reminding me of the beautiful side of the gifts I've been given. Blessings.
SharonG on July 20, 2012:
In Elaine Aarons work she makes the comment that HSP's fill a role in society that no one else can fill. We MUST find Peace w/ our createdness & unique giftedness & live into it FULLY or the world will suffer even more. We are not saviors but we CAN be healers, peacemakers, visionaries, & as Dr Aron says, "...prophets, priests, & judges" at a crucial time in both our nations story AND the worlds ! Press ahead fellow HSP's & forgive those who cannot or will not honor your gifts. They simply do not understand. Blessings & Joy as you find your place & fill it well !!!!!
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on July 19, 2012:
Thank you so much Nadine Marie for that wonderfully positive comment.
Good for you. You have accepted it just as I have and that means we can get on with the 'living.'
The world can be cruel to us but we will never break and we shall always be proud to be HSP!
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on July 19, 2012:
Thanks for stopping over and I'm very happy to have been able to remind you of the wonderful trait that we share.
Yes, we really do experience life with far more intensity than the average person, and like you I struggled with this for a long time. Also like you, I eventually began to accept my trait (just recently) after years of 'life' counseling sessions. I never got to see a counselor but I did learn to love myself and my trait despite the hardship I experienced in my teens because of it.
You taught for 30 years. Wow. You did what all highly sensitive people are born to do, help others. You must have changed thousands of kids' lives that way and now with your interesting articles and your writing career you'll no doubt do it again. :)
Take care and peace to you.
Richard J ONeill (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on July 19, 2012:
It's a pleasure to see you again.
Yes, some of those T.V shows can really get you hooked and before you know it, that hub you were supposed to write 'today' gets - once again - added to 'tomorrow's list of things to do!
Yes, you are right you know Patrice and I have since edited the article and changed that sentence to something a little less hopeless! It is true that we 'can' practice these skills and become just as good as non-sensitive people. In fact just like you, before I started teaching I was terrified of being the center of attention and would seize up at even the mention of being so.
Now, however, I can speak in front of others. Although I must say that in my case, there are still certain situations that terrify me.
Well, thanks for coming over. Was nice having you. Peace.
Nadine Marie on July 18, 2012:
It's not good to be sensitive - it's GREAT to be sensitive! Ok, perhaps I'm exaggerating or even delusional because as most, if not all us HSP's know, it can be challenging. Yet I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm grateful for this gift despite being mocked and shamed. Thank you for being reminded and validated of how blessed we HSP's are, regardless if the majority see it differently. Much blessings, Love & Light, Peace & Joy, Namaste!
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on July 18, 2012:
Yes, I must agree with the commenter before me-It is possible to become a public speaker . Probably because I was a teacher, I am able to do public speaking without a problem. But it takes practice just like anything else .
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on July 18, 2012:
I am HSP and I can tell everyone that this article is spot on! It took me years of therapy to come to all these conclusions about myself, but I definitely know who I am now, and I wouldn't want to be anyone or anything different. We do experience the world with heightened awareness, more intensity, and more compassion. I was a teacher for 30 years before retiring, and I was certainly in the right profession, and it was such a rewarding experience. HSP cannot develop a "thicker skin" which everyone in the world tells this type of person they must do. We have to develop strategies to combat the desensitive people of the world. Thank you for writing a vital article about this and bringing greater awareness to those who are HSP.
PWalker281 on July 18, 2012:
Rich, thank you so much for reminding us HSPs of our unique abilities and qualities which we often take for granted. I just had a dream this morning that gave me guidance on a TV show I need to stop watching.
I will say, though, that HSPs CAN learn to become great public speakers and have excellent social skills, as I've come to discover over the years. I actually enjoy public speaking (which I used to be deathly afraid of) and interacting socially, as long as I can participate in these activities in small doses and have sufficient "down time" afterwards. So it's not impossible.
That said, this is an excellent hub, well worth sharing. Voted up, useful, and interesting.