“We HSPs do a great disservice to ourselves and others when we think of ourselves as weak compared to the warrior.”
- Elaine Aron
I have. Ever since I was little, those two sentences were said to me over and over again and I started to believe that being sensitive was a negative trait. I almost started to despise myself for being so sensitive and wished that I was able to take things ‘on the chin’ or ‘with a pinch of salt’ just like so many other people I knew – but no matter how hard I tried, things always seemed to get to me at a much deeper level and it was exhausting!
‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., really jumped out at me when I was looking for my next book to sink my teeth into. I was intrigued by the thought that I wasn’t alone and that in fact many of us are ‘highly sensitive’ people and it’s far from being a negative trait. Elaine N. Aron pioneered the research into HSPs and, being a highly sensitive person herself, provides a wealth of information and knowledge about this spectacular trait and gives a fresh perspective to sensitivity as a whole.
For years, I thought the only thing that made me ‘sensitive’ were my emotions. In fact, there is so much more to sensitivity than meets the eye – it made me realise that there’s a reason why I feel anxious in large crowds, why I need a nap if I’ve had a busy day, why loud sounds bother me and even why my mood alters depending on how I perceive others are feeling. All of those are traits of a highly sensitive person (HSP) and if you feel that you might be a HSP yourself then I can not recommend this book enough!
“One in every five people is born with a heightened sensitivity.”
- according to Elaine Aron, and although these people are often gifted with intuition and imagination, they also experience a lot of drawbacks – primarily “because they find it hard to express themselves in a society dominated by excess and stress”. Sensitivity is far from being a flaw, although it might seem that way at times – it is in fact, an asset and an empowering quality to possess.
“Having a sensitive nervous system is normal, a basically neutral trait.”
“OUR [HSPS] NERVOUS SYSTEMS SEEM DESIGNED TO REACT TO SUBTLE EXPERIENCES, WHICH ALSO MAKES US SLOWER TO RECOVER WHEN WE MUST REACT TO INTENSE STIMULi.”
“YOU PICK UP ON SO MUCH MORE OF THE SUBTLE CUES, THE NUANCES, THE PARADOXES AND AMBIVALENCES, THE UNCONSCIOUS PROCESSES.”
“YOU CAN TOLERATE HIGH LEVELS OF STIMULATION, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE WITH SOMEONE WHO RELAXES YOU AND MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE.”
“INTUITION CAN ALSO STAND IN YOUR WAY BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU AWARE OF TOO MANY INNER VOICES SPEAKING FOR TOO MANY DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES.”
“SHYNESS IS NOT YOUR TRAIT – IT IS A STATE ANYONE CAN FEEL.”
“HSPS MUST SPEND FAR MORE TIME TRYING TO INVENT SOLUTIONS TO HUMAN PROBLEMS JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE MORE SENSITIVE TO HUNGER, COLD, INSECURITY, EXHAUSTION, AND ILLNESS.”