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 is 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.
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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!
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 an 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: