Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) isn’t easy. Its not easy to constantly be processing information and sensations with little to no filter. Its not easy to be so attuned to your surroundings in an overstimulating world. Its not easy to have extra needs while trying to co-exist with people who don’t always understand. However, if you are one of the 20% that carries this trait, you know that it is rewarding when you can control it. Being easily stimulated is exhausting. Being more aware than the average person is incredible. It’s a challenge, but it can be turned into one of your greatest strengths if you learn how to balance it.
Being an HSP myself, I’ve had to learn a great deal about making this trait work for me, and here are some guidelines I’ve come up with.
1. Other people’s reactions, emotions and perspectives are not personal 90% of the time.
When you’re so attuned to the emotions of others, it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in them. Which can make any form of conflict an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Unfortunately, conflict isn’t avoidable and we have to learn how to manage situations involving someone else’s emotions without getting tied into them. The best way to do it is not to take responsibility for someone else’s reactions, emotions or perspective. You can be understanding, gentle and supportive. But don’t forget to be diplomatic as well and to remember that their outbursts are not about you most of the time.
2. Inhale the positive, exhale the negative.
This is a mantra I tell myself daily. When I take in a breath, I breathe in the positive and release the negative on the exhale. It helps me remain calm, it cleanses the negativity from my system, and it reminds me to find the positive. We can’t always control our situations, and it can be overwhelming. This mantra will help keep yourself under control during the times where everything seems to be out of your hands.
3. Notice syncrinicoties.
The HSP trait is built for this! Once you learn how to utilize it, it will become your greatest strength. Noticing those moments when life just comes together will help you stay positive and affirm that you are on the right path. It will help you become more intune with your gut instincts. In times of confusion, turmoil, or anxiety, the syncrinicoties will become a beacon of hope for you to trudge forward. Not only that, but it will help you feel good about continuing on instead of increasing the anxiety.
4. Face problems head on.
Being HSP, it can often feel like we have so much more information to sift through before tackling an issue. While that may be true, we can’t let it become our excuse to procrastinate. Conflict isn’t our forte, and we might not always be the best at standing up for ourselves. But these are important life lessons! The best way to do it is to tackle things head on. Be smart about it, but beware the path of least resistance.
5. Let things go.
We feel things deeply. We feel deep affection for our loved ones, we feel deep compassion for strangers around us- hell, we feel deep empathy for characters on the movie screen. Unfortunately, when we get hurt, we feel that deeply too. When we get hurt, it can be difficult to heal from it. A lot of times, I see HSPs put the saying “forgive but never forget” into reality. But a big part of healing is learning to let things go. Don’t compromise yourself, don’t force yourself to heal if you need more time, but don’t hold onto negative feelings that no longer serve you.
6. Embrace yourself and utilize all sides of you to your fullest potential.
We all have a happy, cheerful, joyful side. And an affectionate, thoughtful, nurturing side. And a sad, fearful, anxious side. And a mean, stubborn, hurtful side. The sooner we embrace all of ourselves, the sooner we can truly feel love for ourselves and utilize them to our fullest potential. Your happy side is there to embrace life, your affectionate side is there to help foster relationships with others, your fearful side is there to guide you to a place of strength, and your mean side is there to stand up for yourself and protect those who need protecting.
7. There is only love. Love yourself, and love your life.
Yeah, there are bad things in the world that make staying home and binge watching netflix in the safety of your own bed seem like a good idea. There are negative emotions that are easier to stuff away than deal with. And there are difficult experiences we’d probably rather forget. But at the base of everything, there is love. And at the base of each person, there is love. Everyone is capable of giving it and receiving it. At the beginning and end of everything, there is love. It makes the world a much more comforting place for everyone who is the slightest bit different, including us sensitive ones.