Most of my life I have been considered a “highly emotional person,” one of those strange ones that could be driven to tears by a commercial. It became a family joke to see what would make me cry when watching television.

My sensitivity became part of my personality and I accepted it as such. That is until recently, when researching for a topic to write about, I came upon an article about sensitive people. Lo and behold, they were talking about me, and I found out I was not strange after all, and that there actually was a name for my state of being, “a highly sensitive person,” HSP for short. What a relief that was, finding out I was not alone and that I had a “condition.”

What is HSP and how do you know you have it? HSP is not a dysfunctional condition. It seems in many cases; you are born with a nervous system that may see, smell and feel more than others do. As adults you may also think, reflect and notice more than others, it is largely an unconscious process. Being an HSP means your nervous system is more sensitive, your sight, hearing and sense of smell may be keener, but not necessarily so. Your brain just processes information differently and reflects on it more deeply.

Here are some of the traits and behaviors of a person that has a highly sensitive nature. See if you fit:

  • You have a heightened sense of awareness regarding your environment whether it is sight, sound, touch, taste or smell.
  • You become stressed out and upset when overwhelmed and find it necessary to get away to re-compose yourself.
  • You are creative.
  • You are conscientious, hard working and meticulous.
  • You become uncomfortable and less productive when being watched or scrutinized. You become nervous and shaky.
  • You are overwhelmed by chaos, clutter or stress.
  • You feel compelled to file and organize things and thoughts.
  • You enjoy simple things and quiet
  • You are easily startled.
  • You do not like crowds.
  • You avoid violent movies and television shows.
  • You have a deep appreciation for nature, art and music.
  • Other people’s moods affect you.
  • You try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things.
  • Being hungry creates a strong reaction in you and disturbs your concentration or mood.
  • You become unpleasant when there is a lot going on around you.

    If you these things sound and feel like you, you are more then likely a HSP. These are normal traits and are inherited by about 15 to 20 percent of the population. People with HSP have often been called shy, introverted, inhibited, and fearful, though many people with HSP are outgoing and are not fearful. Since today’s society thrives on sociability and boldness rather then sensitivity, many HSP people are misunderstood. Many of us with HSP have been told by our loved ones and family “don’t be so sensitive or emotional,” which makes us feel abnormal, when in fact there is nothing we can do about our behavior and we are not abnormal at all.

    Those of us with HSP do enjoy being alone, we enjoy quiet and we are very physically aware and in touch with our bodies. We know when something is not right. We are aware of the effects that certain foods have on our bodies and generally enjoy simplicity in the foods we eat.

    People with HSP generally have a gift of intuitive insight and have a great capacity for inner searching and can be very spiritual. This is one of their greatest blessings.

    How does HSP develop? Problems can develop in childhood if a child’s sensitivities are not noticed. It can happen during the pregnancy, especially if the baby is not wanted. Recognizing a HSP baby can be difficult, they can be colicky, certain foods may upset them, they do not like to be rocked and can be terrified of certain people. If the problems are ignored the baby becomes an insecure child. A HSP baby is creative, they may walk early and talk early and seem happy when left to themselves. Shyness is common in HSP children. Childhood wounds have a long lasting effect on HSP children. It is important if you are a HSP to try and heal past hurts, as you cannot forget them. Dealing with them and forgiving them helps calm your inner being.

    Is there a cure for HSP? No! It is not a disability, nor is it a liability. You are not broken, helpless and you do not need to be fixed in any way. In your own unique way take pride in who you are.

    I enjoy being me. My awareness and sensitivity toward people and my surroundings gives me a different outlook on life then most people have. It helps my creative juices flow, as I love to write.

    I have a great relationship with myself, I enjoy my own company and I do not need to be entertained by anyone else, other than myself. Many people do not enjoy that state of being. I am also a great employee, I am project oriented, dedicated to whatever responsibility I have at any particular moment, and I am thorough in whatever I am asked to do.

    Many of us HSP people are sensual, have rich inner lives, have strong intuitions, are intellectually gifted, enjoy one on one relationships and are attentive and thoughtful partners.

    HSP people add to a softer side of life, they are great friends and do not take friendship for granted. They are someone you can share a cup of coffee with and confide your inner thoughts, they can enjoy deep spiritual conversations with you and they understand when you have a need to be alone

    If there is one negative about being a HSP, it is that most people do not know

  • Author's Bio: 

    I am an HSP and now that I know I have a "condition" that has a name, I am as proud as I can be of who I am. I always thought I was one of those namby pamby people who cried at a drop of a pin and could not explain why. My childhood was rough and I am certain my impending birth was not met with flags and banners, but from researching for this article, I now know why I am the way I am and golly gosh - I sure am glad I am me!