I am incredibly proud of myself right now. I literally just demolished 12 fried chicken wings. I don’t think I took a breath. It is the best achievement of my day, and I may have to call it now, but it might also be my best achievement of 2020 so far. I mean, I can already feel the sensation of being so full I may vomit, but I am still loving myself sick right now.
It was while feeling this tremendous life achievement that I thought it was the perfect time to write about something I have recently discovered. Now this discovery could be viewed as a negative trait, but I now call it my superpower (and it cost me at least £100 in therapy to see it as such). You see recently I discovered that I am HSP or a highly sensitive person. It is something 15-20% of the population is categorised as and actually means we are very highly evolved in the area of survival. I should really add the caveat that we are highly evolved in survival in some areas, and in others not so much. Essentially, this heightened sense of awareness can actually be a little detrimental in the modern world.
Pray tell (I hear you say) – what on earth is a highly sensitive person? Well, there are several traits to help you work out if you are part of 15-20% of the population. Mostly you may have been told that you ‘feel too much’ or you ‘feel too deeply’ or that you are being ‘too sensitive and overreacting’. They can be viewed negatively, so I am here to explain why they are in fact superpowers.
1. Because we give a shit about what people think and feel, we have a greater ability to listen and affirm.
HSP’s are very aware of the things people do not say. We can pick up changes in tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, and the energy people give out. Often we are told – how did you know what I was thinking? Or I was just about to say that?
Now look, we’re not psychic and we don’t own crystal balls. But we pick up on the little things and we make it our business to understand our fellow humans – because we remember how horrible it is to feel low, how gut-wrenching it is to lose your self-worth and how painful it is to feel alone. Therefore we give a shit about you. So we listen, we pay attention and then we try to make you feel high, worthy and loved.
2. Our empathy is so off the chart that if you cry, we cry and if you feel pain, we feel pain.
This might not sound like a superpower. I mean – who wants to feel pain when you are not currently feeling it? But, it means when you feel joy we also feel that. Therefore, selfishly we only hang around with people who are happy all the time. I jest – revert back to point one of wanting to make people feel better about themselves.
I once had a friend at work tell me a relative passed away and I ended up crying so much (I did not know their relative at all) that a manager walking by asked us both what had happened. I had to explain there was nothing wrong with me at all, then I worried I had taken too much attention away from my friend who actually did have the reason to be crying.
But I do remember at that moment, as she told me, I felt exactly what she was feeling. It is hard to explain but I fully felt her upset, the loss and the fact she was so far away from her family. I’d like to think we help by making someone feel like their pain is validated, they feel heard, and they know it is ok to feel upset and show it.
3. Our intuition can sometimes make you question if we own a time machine.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have known how something was going to pan out. It is just by observing behaviours and the environment around you that you can almost sense what is going to happen.
I remember observing the way a friend behaved around a guy. She also used to say how he was just a friend – a lot. I called her out a few times saying that I felt she really liked him, it was like I could see what her brain had yet to acknowledge from her heart. That may sound deep and profound… and you could argue that by me saying it that I had sewn the seed in her head. However, 6 months later she ended up in a relationship with this guy.
We like to scare the crap out of our friends with this shit.
4. We know what your wants and needs are sometimes before you do.
That’s right – I guess this is similar to my point above. Essentially because we listen, because we care and because we pay attention to those little things… we uncover nuggets that sit behind your passions, your desires, and your needs. Then we want you to realise this yourself to help you be the best possible version of yourself. We may even do sneaky things like enquire about something for you, then tell you about the date of the next meet up.
Now as you can see from this little list – I think we bring something pretty cool to the table in our friendships. However, a lot of people notice the negative aspects (pesky people) such as: being overly sensitive about how we’re perceived, overly sensitive about others and sensitivity to our environment. We will be told we feel too much, we care too much or that we feel too deeply. However when you think about it – is it really that bad to feel too much, to care too much or to feel deeply?
Sure you have to listen to us explain how we feel about someone for 20 minutes and you think we are talking through the love of our life, but really we just want to explain that someone is a nice person and explain why. This is because our feelings are important to us. While some people can experience traits of an HSP from time to time (like a friend who is knee deep in love who suddenly discovers the ability to talk about their feelings for 20 minutes) – HSP’s are there 24/7 and thus can become very overwhelmed with our surroundings and have to escape for some downtime.
You’ll see that I’ve shared some articles below and you’ll notice the focus is on the negative aspects of being HSP. However, once you realise you are part of the elite over feelers in life – then you can self manage some of these ‘perceived negative’ traits. However, I am more than happy to own being an HSP… I think it’s awesome (but please don’t judge me or think ill of me for saying that 😂 ).