I recently came across an explanation for this definition of character and the attributes struck such a chord with me.
I believe the initial reaction when hearing the term Highly Sensitive is to assume it has negative implications, as though someone is delicate. Therefore, you must be cautious around them when asserting opinion, truth, or reality. Some may think you have to tiptoe around Highly Sensitive people and watch what you say, burdened at the thought that you’ll hurt their feelings. However, reading about this terminology brought a sigh of relief for how I can respond to certain situations in my life and the life around me.
Being an HSP shouldn’t have a destructive stigma attached to it. “Don’t take things too seriously,” “You’re overthinking it,” and “You’re overreacting.” If you identify with its characteristics, you probably have heard those criticisms and many more that can leave you feeling like this is something you need to correct about yourself. It isn’t. It just means you are more sensitive to your surroundings and feel the impact of certain things a little more deeply than others. You are more empathic and feel an inherent need to help because you care. You may become overwhelmed when too much is happening around you, overstimulated when so much is going on or is being asked of you. You probably take longer to make decisions, sincerely reflect on actions, and prefer deep conversations to small talk. You probably live more inside of yourself than out, living longer in a moment when others can just carry on.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes you can be left feeling like these attributes don’t sit well with others and can subconsciously retract from situations because you are afraid of showing or sharing too much. I am constantly skeptical of sharing too much of myself because it hasn’t always been met positively in the past, and if I’m honest, that has left a habit in me where I do hold back. That’s one of the reasons why I began writing under the pseudonym Ivory Tales. She gave me the opportunity to separate my feelings and my everyday life, which allowed me to be as emotionally charged as I wanted in my writing and express those feelings in a way that left me with peace of mind, and she still does.
Highly Sensitive doesn’t mean someone who is easily hurt but more attuned to what is happening within and around them. None of this is negative or a flaw. Feeling more means you take on more, and if you’re able to take on that extra weight, it’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
We need to stop directing ourselves away from thinking that emotional expression is a bad thing. It needs room to breathe and a safe space to evolve into a resource that can benefit us all. A sensitivity that can encourage peace of mind and a sense of happiness that only comes from within, because that sort of happiness can only come from yourself after you learn to stop running away from how you feel and start going after what you truly want.
This is achievable when the fear surrounding sensitivity is forgotten, but we live in a world that loves to judge, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If you are a Highly Sensitive Person, the world can sometimes make you feel like there isn’t a place for you and your thoughts. That’s how it used to feel for me, and I still buckle under the pressure that society presents from time to time. Still, there is something to be said to finally understand why we do certain things that others don’t and embrace those qualities that you once used to fight against. And the truth is, the world needs Highly Sensitive People, because we’re the ones who remind the world just how beautiful it can be, and we can leave it a more compassionate and encompassing place to live.
So, don’t be afraid to have those intense conversations. Speak up even when they try to talk over you. Let yourself feel those feelings that people tell you not to. Share your insight in the hope to open another’s mind, and never let someone else imply restrictions that stop you from achieving those heights that you were born to reach.