How Being An Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Can Affect Your Relationships
"I am tired of feeling so damn much. It's like I feel every feeling, every sensation, every thought. Not only my feelings, but others'. It can exhausting. Everything is so heightened."
"I get it. I really get it. But, remember this, Kiyomi. We feel so much because we are wired this way; our nervous systems are wired this way. To feel is to be alive—even if the feelings can be so very painful. Even if at times the emotions can feel overwhelming. We feel deep sorrow, deep fear. But we also feel deep joy, deep love. We are creative, intuitive beings."
I sat at the end of the couch with tissues in my hand—as often happens in sessions with my spiritual mentor. I looked up at her, tears in my eyes. We both put our hands on our hearts and sighed.
"The heaviness of being human can feel overwhelming at times." I said, with a slight grin on my face.
"It can. But, remember being a Highly Sensitive Person is a blessing."
"Remind me again as to why it's a blessing?"
We both laughed.
We had been through this conversation multiple times throughout the year. Intellectually, I knew why it was a blessing—but on an emotional level, things sometimes felt heavy.
"I want you to remind yourself why it's a gift," she said, smiling.
"It's a gift because I can feel deeply. I am extremely empathetic. I feel the world on a different level—the music, the colors, nature, humans emotions. I am very intuitive and can feel the world and what others need. This sensitivity also allows me to take care of myself when I need to do so, instead of having it linger for years until it breaks me down. I can't run away from my suffering," I sighed. "It seems as though I am constantly coming here to accept myself over and over again—accept myself for being different from those around me...accept myself for being a Highly Sensitive Person."
If you've never heard of a Highly Sensitive Person, or an HSP, I urge you to explore this new realm. I bring this up because so many of my clients and course members are Highly Sensitive, and it can be important to recognize this trait within yourself—especially if you experience ROCD.
When I took a poll in the community, about 80 percent of the members tested as HSP; 60 tested as an empath. On Instagram, 87 percent of you said you were HSP, while 78 percent of you said you were an empath. That's A LOT. Worldwide, about 20-30% are HSP. Which is why I decided to address this topic:
Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)—a term coined by Dr. Elaine Aron—is not a flaw, but a power. It is a power I must still learn to accept on a daily basis. In a world that can feel dark and difficult at times, being a Highly Sensitive Person is a rare gem. I truly believe HSPs are unique, incredible beings full of creativity, intuition, and power.
If you are a Highly Sensitive, you tend to feel very deeply. Perhaps you cry at the drop of a hat. You may be creative, with a strong imagination. You tend to feel what others are feeling, which can you an empath, and you pick up on others' energies very easily. You can also be sensitive to sounds, colors, and noises. Sometimes you may feel a need to retreat from the overwhelming world around you. Conflict is usually very difficult and we tend to want to avoid it. Highly Sensitive People can become more overwhelmed than their less sensitive peers. This is because we HSPs notice things very easily, and so we take in many more stimuli each day. Highly Sensitive People are more prone to feeling deep changes in life—such as moving, becoming engaged, getting married, committing more deeply with a partner, leaving jobs. "Typical" life changes are felt more intensely. We have a rich inner world—which, if not used wisely or creatively, can cause obsessive tendencies that manifest as anxiety, depression, and OCD.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person can be genetic. It is also neurological: There is research indicating that an HSP personality can result from trauma in childhood. If you had an unstable childhood, you were forced to be more aware of and vigilant to your surroundings. This would have caused you to pick up on subtle dangers or threats, making you more sensitive and aware of your surroundings.
Now, because I talk so much about relationships and love, I want to explain to you how an HSP can feel in a relationship. We HSPs are more aware of fear, stress, and anxiety toward our partners and toward ourselves, we need more alone time to process things, we take in a lot of stimuli - our partners emotions, feelings, words etc., we are more sensitive to changes and transitions (committing deeper, moving in together, getting engaged etc)., because we feel so deeply, we may easily become obsessive in our relationships. And as a highly sensitive, we love deeper. Because we are so aware of our partners and how they may feel, we can become intensely reactive to their behavior and our own. We may also pick up on things easily and blame ourselves as a result of being so empathetic.
But... as a HSP in a relationship, we are also more aware of the love, connection, and passion that we feel; we crave this love deeply because we feel so much. We are more empathetic and loving partners due to being Highly Sensitive. We deeply care and we are terrified of hurting our partners. (Our partners are so damn lucky; they don't even know it! Ha!).
Yes, being a Highly Sensitive Person in a partnership means we care more...which means we are amazing partners.
Curious if you're a Highly Sensitive Person? Then take this test: https://hsperson.com/
I should add that you can be an extrovert or ambivert and be an HSP at the same time. I am more of an ambivert and love people. If you're the same, then you can still be an HSP.