Being a highly-sensitive person (and why that's okay)

My whole life I’ve been a highly-sensitive person.

And my whole life, I’ve been led to believe that being too sensitive was a bad thing, a flaw, something that I should attempt to change or try and hide. People always told me they felt as if they needed to “walk on eggshells” around me. And for a long time, I believed them.

I thought it was a flaw, and I was embarrassed because of it. It became something I was so ashamed of, and it made me turn into someone who was nervous to react to certain situations, because I wasn’t sure how it would make those around me feel. In short, it was a big mess. And it took me a long time to learn to appreciate what makes me, me. 

“It is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded.” 
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

I wanted to share a few reasons why I am now appreciating and accepting the fact that I’m a highly-sensitive person. Hopefully this reaches someone out there who is sensitive, too!

Why Sensitive People are Cool:

  1. Loyal | People who are sensitive are loyal. They will always think about YOU and how you’ll react before thinking of themselves. I take all of my relationships seriously, and I’m very sensitive to anything that would harm them. This can also be a negative, because if you’re the sensitive person often times you care far more than the person you’re with. But it’s a blessing because it allows you to care deeply for others.
  2. Open | I love the fact that I can talk to anyone about anything. There are definitely times when I may have shared too much – but if I didn’t I wouldn’t be where I am today. I love sharing my life, especially on my blog. It’s helped me to make so many amazing connections with people from all over based on our similarities.
  3. Morals | Adhering to a strict-sense of morals can be both a blessing and a curse, but it’s something that comes along with being a sensitive person. I can’t know that I’ve hurt someones feelings and sleep well that night. Just isn’t in the cards for me.

If I do something that is not right, it bothers me – and usually for a long time.

Some people have no problem letting things roll off their shoulders, but for sensitive people – guilt continues to build up until the issue is resolved. And until it is, the load just gets heavier and heavier. This is a good thing because I never feel like I have unfinished business, but it’s a bad thing because people don’t change – and you can’t change people. So fighting to resolve an issue with a difficult person is near impossible and you often cut yourself down in the process.

  1. Heart | Sensitive people are all heart. Overly-sensitive people can pick up cues that others are putting out, alerting them that there is something wrong allowing them to be very intuitive. In my case, I’m the first to know when my son with Autism is on the verge of a breakdown. I can tell just by looking at him. When he’s upset, when something is about to upset him, I know. I’m also the best person to calm him down because I can sympathize and I genuinely feel upset when he does. Also, sensitive people feel the good things, deeply. Sometimes when something good happens it overwhelms my whole body and just makes me feel so grateful and appreciative, and it’s the best feeling in the world.
  2. Work Ethic | Hiring sensitive people can be a bonus because they will bust their butts to avoid any kind of criticism. We are our own worst critics, and we reflect on the decisions we make, and the things we get checked off our list every single day. For me, it’s difficult to “leave something for tomorrow” or to leave anything unchecked on my daily list. So for an employer, this is a great thing – but for the individual it’s annoying because you’re constantly trying to one-up yourself, and take on too much.

“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” 
― Shannon L. Alder

Tips for communicating with a sensitive person:

  1. Be open. What may be a casual conversation for some can instantly turn into a deep conversation if you’re talking to a sensitive person. So if this person is your friend, just try to relate – you don’t have to tell them your whole life story if you’re not comfortable with it – but be sure to voice when you are not comfortable. Don’t hold their openness against them.
  2. Don’t be mean, actually – while we’re on the topic. One of the most frustrating things I’ve heard is “don’t take things so personally” or “don’t look too much into it“. As a rule of thumb, I don’t think anyone should ever say anything that could be offensive, taken the wrong way, or looked too much into. In general, we should all strive for healthy communication, right? There is a right way and a wrong way to communicate, and if you’re being a jerk to a sensitive person, it will completely ruin their day. Just be direct, but not mean, because when you do this – you leave no room for interpretation.
  3. Don’t try to shame them for being sensitive. Sensitive people are creative, empathetic, and open-minded. And they’ll be the first to try and make you smile on a bad day, or have your back in a stressful situation. Let them know how much this is appreciated, and not looked down upon.
  4. The world NEEDS sensitive people, period. So value them, tell them how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness, and offer the same in return.
  5. Don’t ever feel like you need to hold anything back from them for fear of how they will react. This makes things worse – always, always be honest. It’s a trait that everyone appreciates.

Are YOU a highly-sensitive person?