Ever since I was little, I have been told that I’m sensitive. Sometimes too sensitive. I got used to hearing that… so much so that I started thinking of the word “sensitive” as one of the first words when describing myself. Yet, I saw sensitivity as a quality that meant I was weak or too emotional, not something that I should necessarily be proud of.
However, last year I read something online that talked about being an HSP: a highly sensitive person. It can also be known as SPS: sensory processing sensitivity. At first glance, by the way it was labeled, I thought it was much more serious. It was talked about in a way that made it seem more like a diagnosable condition, such as ADHD or anxiety. However, it is actually just a personality trait that a solid fraction of the population has. As I was reading all of it, I thought that it really sounded like me. I thought it was an interesting concept but shortly forgot about it.
I have always been fascinated with identity: who we are and what makes our edges just a bit different than the people around us. I have written countless blog posts about facets of the world and myself that I have discovered in my journey so far. I have known all my life that I am sensitive, and I’ve written about that more times than I can count. But did I really consider it to be a major part of who I am until recently? Not really.
I have had some time to be with myself and my thoughts during my commutes to work. I am very in-tune with my senses. I’ve noticed I get upset or anxious when I hear loud noises. They seem to echo louder for me. I am always aware of what others are doing, how they are acting, and sometimes feel that I know what they are thinking or can pick up on their emotions. So much so that sometimes I feel them, too. I appreciate beauty immensely, whether it’s a golden sunset or a song that I connect with. I am very picky about what I wear because I despise being even a little bit uncomfortable with itchy fabric, pants that are slightly too tight, or a sock that gathers too much by my toes. I have extremely vivid dreams most nights and can remember them well into my day. When I am focusing, listening, or trying to calm myself, I have little calming habits with my hands and my fingers (ever since I was a child.) I shut down when I am overstimulated, and, going off of that, anyone who knows me well knows that I absolutely cannot multitask for the life of me. 🙂
I find the world to be intensely overwhelming and incredibly beautiful at the same time.
I decided that I should really look more into the idea of being highly sensitive. I thought that it would help me understand why I can’t pass a car crash without thinking about it days later, why I cant stop replaying moments in my head where I felt strong emotions of any kind, or why the lighting in a room could drastically affect my mood or can make me dizzy. There are a million fragments of our mind, body, and soul that make us who we are. Each piece of us different than the next. If we pay attention to these teeny parts of our being, we can grow our sense of self-awareness so that we can feel what our soul needs and attend to it.
I recognize that like anything, it is both challenging and rewarding to be highly sensitive. I believe that the world can always use a bit more compassion and empathy. I am happy to be a small part of a contribution to that. I am learning to accept, recognize, and make both myself & the world aware of all different types of people.
Life is a balancing act of individuality and togetherness. Find out who you are but also talk and share with other people to understand them too. Figuring out what makes you, you will help you grow in this life. I challenge you to do that each and every day.