You might have heard the phrase highly sensitive people before. Maybe you’ve wondered what exactly it means. What makes someone a highly sensitive person? It’s kind of a vague phrase, even subjective if you’re unfamiliar with it.
You may even wonder if it’s a description that fits you or someone you love. Maybe you have a friend or family member who seems to be more impacted by everyday life than others.
What follows are fifteen symptoms of a highly sensitive person. Ask yourself if any of these sound like you.
Highly sensitive people are more emotionally reactive. You’ll have a tendency to cry easier or get angry over things that might not bother others. Because of this, you’re probably more than used to being told by others not to take things so seriously. But that’s difficult advice for you to take. Your emotions are always valid, always honest. That can be a difficult thing not only for others to accept but for you as a highly sensitive person to accept as well.
Small annoyances are more significant to you, both from other people and everyday life. Bright lights are awful; small repetitive noises are unendingly frustrating. You’re also more easily startled by things like loud noises or sudden surprises. Someone loudly chewing gum. A constantly blinking light. Typing on a too stiff keyboard. All of these can cause stress and frustration in anyone, but even more so for you. You might find that you often use headphones to cancel these things out and feel lost when you can’t do that.
Because of your sensitivity to anger and fear, violent movies are harder to watch. Anything in the horror or action genre is probably right out of your comfort zone. You’re far more likely to enjoy a movie that encourages a healthy cry because it’s an emotional outlet.
Highly sensitive people are also more susceptible to pain. Things that other people seem to shake off and go on from can derail you for a day or two. Illnesses or injuries just seem to have more of an impact. This is likely something you feel that others are judgemental about. They bounced back from this injury when it happened to them, why haven’t you? Try not to listen to them. Your pain is your own, and feeling bad about being in pain isn’t going to help you feel better faster.
You may also take longer to make a decision. Deciding a Major? Planning to move or make a big purchase like a new car? Things like that are difficult and cause anxiety. Even fairly routine decisions can be hard. While this can cause frustration for the people in your life, it’s far worse for you. You might wonder why you can’t just decide on something.
One of the reasons why it does take you so long to make a decision is because you’re more upset over what you perceive as bad decisions. Small errors or disappointments seem like huge failings in your eyes. And the fact that you tried your best probably doesn’t help much. And it can often be impossible for you to let something go once you feel like you’ve made a mistake.
Because you’re so hard on yourself already, you tend to take criticism from others hard. A gentle correction from a supervisor can feel like a far stronger reproach. Likely when your teachers or parents corrected you as a child it was hard for you to take. Even as an adult, it can be difficult to hear constructive criticism without taking it personally, whether it’s meant as such or not.
Don’t be afraid to ask the people in your life to keep this in mind. While it’s normal for people to be critical of each other, it’s not always something we need to share unless asked to. Sure, maybe you have gained some weight. Maybe your best friend isn’t the person you need to hear that from, though.
Being a highly sensitive person isn’t a bad thing. While there are downsides to it, there are upsides as well. Highly sensitive people tend to be detail oriented. You’re going to be the one who spots the little things, like errors in a group project that everyone else overlooked. You’re also more likely to remember things like your co-worker’s birthday or your friends preferred brand of soda. Likely you’ll know these things without being told, simply because you noticed and remembered.
This is an amazingly appreciated quality. Likely the people in your life love the fact that you seem to know them so well. Highly sensitive people come off as thoughtful and caring because they are.
You also likely have above average manners. Because you’re sensitive to offending people, you are always polite and well spoken. Your parents likely never had to tell you to be on your best behavior while visiting someone’s home, because you wouldn’t have thought of behaving any other way.
Highly sensitive people are also more empathetic. You feel your own discomforts and fears so bluntly, that it’s hard not to feel bad when others around you are suffering. And, because you are so detail oriented, you’re more likely to recognize the signs of pain, fear or exhaustion in the people that surround you.
This can sometimes lead you to take care of others before you take care of yourself. Be cautious of this. You can’t care for anyone if you aren’t caring for yourself first. And likely you need more personal care than others.
You probably enjoy making other people happy. So not only are you likely the first to remember a birthday or notice that a friend has a bad day, you’re quick to do something about it.
Given all of this, it shouldn’t be a surprise that highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties. You’re quick to pick up on small social cues that others don’t see and notice things that are left unsaid. While this can sometimes lead to anxiety for you, it also means that you’re far more aware of your surroundings than most people.
There are things that you can do, as a highly sensitive person, to practice self-care. Likely you’re already doing some of these things. For instance, you probably know that you work best in an enclosed space like a cubicle or a closed office. Open space workstations are a nightmare for you because there’s no hiding from the things that tend to irritate you. The lights, the sounds, the people! There’s nothing muffling it all.
Likewise, you probably do not want to exercise in public. First of all, the same issues with lights and sounds that you’d find in a work setting are abundant in a gym. Besides that, you likely have a hard time getting over the feeling that people are judging you. Even though they probably aren’t.
A small group yoga class or personal home training are always going to be more comfortable options.
You probably also require alone time to deal with everything. Because you so often feel that others are judging your actions, it can be hard for you to have people that you feel truly comfortable and at ease around. That can make your alone time essential.
Self-care, in general, is essential. Because you are likely empathetic and enjoy making other people happy, it’s probably a struggle for you. It can be hard to take the time for yourself when you worry that you’re taking time away from people who might need you. Worse, people who might not understand why you’re behaving the way that you are.
Remember, just because something seems like no big deal for other people doesn’t mean that it’s not a big deal for you. And you cannot allow other people’s opinions to influence your own self-care too much. You’re not being selfish by taking a night to yourself, no matter what anyone says to the contrary.
Finally, while everyone requires a creative outlet, you probably need one more than most other people. Drawing, painting, writing, sculpting, singing. All of these can be ways for you to express your emotions in a safe and comfortable way. Remember, you react differently to your emotions than most people. When you’re angry, you’re furious. When you’re sad, your heart is breaking. While your emotions are never anything to be ashamed of, it can sometimes be difficult to express these emotions in a healthy way. Art can be the healthiest option, an absolute necessity.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with being a highly sensitive person. It requires a different sort of self-care and a strong understanding of your personal boundaries. Hopefully, this list will help you establish your own boundaries, understanding that you’re not alone and you’re not wrong to feel the way you do.
And if you read through this list and none of it sounds like you, but it does sound like a loved one, take heart. It can be difficult to understand a highly sensitive person. But remember that what feels like nothing to you is far from nothing to them. But the smallest gesture of love and acceptance from you can mean the world.
Latest posts by serge Souprayen (see all)
- 15 Symptoms Of A Highly Sensitive Person - June 19, 2017
- 13 Awesome Gift Ideas for Introverts - March 5, 2017
- Best High-Growth Introvert Jobs Without A Degree Or Experience - November 14, 2016