Being ‘too sensitive’, a Highly Sensitive Person or having Sensory-Processing Sensitivity
- a person with an innate behavioral trait where there is a heightened level of observation – our brains actually do work differently
- very aware of subtleties – the brain processes information and reflects it more deeply
- more easily overwhelmed by sensory input such as crowds, malls or proximity to other very active and energetic people for long periods of time
- represent about 15% of the world population according to research so far
- often highly sensitive to some types of pain and physical discomfort or irritation
- highly sensitive to environment – lighting, smells, sounds, making us ‘hyper-vigilant’ and overly stimulated
- being very hungry causes a strong reaction whether mood, ability to concentrate or perform
Highly sensitive people are often judged harshly in our Western society since sensitivity can often viewed from one frame – purely emotional
Being called ‘too sensitive’ or ‘too emotional’ is a hard judgement on somebody with a neurological trait – eg the way the brain is wired. My experience of this judgement is that my response must be a purely emotional one and therefore that I must have some element of control over it.
As a child after some time with these judgements, I often learned to hide my responses from those who ‘eyes might roll’ when they saw my reaction.
Placing a judgement on a person’s neurological bent is also a missed opportunity to learn (I’ll restrain myself about what else I’d like to say!). If you don’t consider yourself a highly sensitive person, I hope you’ll enjoy this opportunity to learn more about us! 🙂
People do not fit in boxes and neither do our sensitivities or our neurological traits.
Highly Sensitive People ARE Highly Sensitive and I will thank you for saying so! – and it’s a gift just like any other neurological bent or predisposition
As a result of being a Highly Sensitive Person I have abilities to perceive people’s energies differently than most and work in the field of reflexology, energy work and personal development. I notice subtleties and I know how to make people feel comfortable, so I’m a very good practitioner!
That’s a gift that my sensitivity brings to the world. So when people react and say to me that I’m too sensitive these days, I always thank them – because sensitivity is one of our gifts as humans.
We are all unique, we are all different. The more people learn and grow (and educate themselves), the more we will learn to be compassionate about people’s differences through whatever spectrum we may be viewing the world.
Having a Highly Sensitive Person as a child
Since Highly Sensitive People represent about 15% of the population, there’s also a chance you will beget a highly sensitive child – a challenge either way, whether you would categorize yourself as being highly sensitive parent or not.
My oldest daughter’s sensitivity manifests as…
- A requirement to wear soft, seamless clothes and socks
- Easily overstimulated if given too many tasks in day
- Strong smells can make her vomit (peppermint oil sometimes helps!)
- Likes her food separated on the plate – food has been a big issue – she eats a great diet and is an intuitive eater, but just can’t stomach some things so people may judge her as ‘picky’
- Need to keep food on hand to keep her energy levels up
- Suffered from 3 month colic as a baby (so did I)
- New environments can sometimes cause an outbreak of hives or lip-biting which creates sores
- an outpouring of emotion when 3 or more stressors hit at once or she overdoes things.
Not an easy task to help manage these kind of behaviors. This is one of the reasons why over time I’ve turned to more and more natural methods and tools such as Homeopathy, Essential Oils and Flower Essences to help my daughter stay balanced gently.
High sensitivity can also extend to pharmaceuticals, topical creams and products with high chemical counts, it may not just end with behavior. I use as many natural products as I can in the house, both to wash clothes and to do housework.
Some resources for the Highly Sensitive Person or to learn more
I really like Dr Elaine Aron’s website for the Highly Sensitive Person.
There are questionnaires for adults and parents, if you may think you have a highly sensitive child. I bought the book several years ago and have found it both validating and useful.
Something else to be thankful for!
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