“People with the highly sensitive temperament and trait have something that I call ’emotional leadership’ because highly sensitive people cry before other people, we get mad before other people, we are generally more emotionally affected than those without the trait. About 20% of the population have this trait of high sensitivity.”
Elaine Aron – The Highly Sensitive Person
If you do not experience things as an HSP – highly sensitive person – then you may not understand what it means. You may not even believe that it is an actual thing. It’s easy to pass it off as more shi-shi, hippiefied nonsense. But, if you experience it, you know how real and sometimes uncomfortable it can make you.
One of the most frustrating parts is observing a person that has zero redeeming qualities bring harm to those I loved – I wanted them to see what I saw. But, until they are ready to see what damage these kinds of people bring, they aren’t going to see it, they aren’t going to believe it.
I have been in many situations where I meet a person, and almost instantly, I can tell they bring the kind of energy to the table that can only bring headache and harm. Over the years, people have shown me their true colors in a matter of moments. Their words, tone, body language, and sometimes it is just a FEELING. It is hard to get people to understand or even believe what is happening. I get it; if you don’t see the behavior or recognize it, it can be hard to acknowledge it. Over the years, I’ve learned that few people trust my gut instincts, and that is okay. When I tried to give someone an explanation or heads up, it ended with some unintentionally hurtful comments from the very people I tried to protect; these comments not made out of spite but still harmful to know that they don’t take you seriously.
You’re too sensitive. / You don’t even KNOW them. / It can’t be all that bad.
You are over-reacting. / I don’t think it is that bad. / You must be imagining things.
“Don’t assume malice for stupidity.” was something that was said to me often, growing up and into adulthood. I am not guessing; I observe shitty behavior. I notice the tone of voice, and I read body language, there is no assumption.
In reality, sensitive people are just in tune with their surroundings. Your nervous system seems to function on a higher level. Anyone can be a sensitive person to some extent – you only have to observe.
Whenever a person hurt someone I care about, and I saw it coming but couldn’t do anything about it, I felt awful. If I could only make people understand and see what I see. It is only recently that the beautiful human being that is my therapist asked me a $100,000 question.
“Why is it your job to save everyone? Your job is to save yourself.”
It was all it took. Now, I still feel a twinge of guilt that others can’t see what I see. I will do what I can to fully explain my actions to avoid certain over-stimulating places/events or to cut people out of my life. However, I will no longer suffer through things because others don’t understand. I am not responsible for making someone UNDERSTAND my feelings and needs. They are valid all on their own. This life is most likely the only one I will ever have, and I’m not here to make myself less than who I am. I’m sensitive, and that’s okay.
*This post was about the sensitivity to human behavior – that is the not the only thing that affects the HSP.
Lights, smells, noises, tastes, people, crowds, weather, and just about everything else can factor into sensitivity. What causes strain on one sensitive person may not even be a blip on the radar of another. So when you meet someone that shares with you what is making them miserable – don’t disregard their bravery with disbelief. I assure you, we aren’t making this shit up.