They see and feel more, stronger, and deeper. Within seconds, they absorb a huge amount of stimuli and recognise the emotions of others with extreme accuracy, but they also efficiently absorb those emotions. Furthermore, they have a good sense of humour and extremely rich imagination. How else can you recognise an HSP? Here are 8 distinctive features.
High sensitivity is a genetically determined trait, occurring in approx. 20% of the world’s population. Interestingly, it is recognised in both introverts and extroverts.
1. Emotional exhaustion
People with high sensitivity find it difficult to maintain relationships and contact with others. Why? Mainly due to the absorption of other people’s emotions, unfortunately also negative ones, and even when they do not want to. When a person is an HSP, after meeting up with a friend who wants to unload, it feels like having run a marathon. That person feels all the grief, frustration, and anger of others on his or her shoulders. Something like “everything that touches others also affects me”. They are good listeners and good friends, but they pay a very high price for it.
2. Vulnerability to violence
Most of us react with empathy to stories of sick children or abandoned dogs. The sensitivity of HSPs, however, is much more extensive – their emotional reactions are not only to acts of cruelty or human drama but also fictional violence in movies, books, or computer games. Shootings or horror movies can be – literally – unbearable for them. The stories that these portray reach HSPs much faster and more intensely than others.
3. Light and noise
Every stimulus acts on highly sensitive individuals with all its intensity. This means that when you are an HSP, you will feel uncomfortable in a club with loud music, a mall with bright lights, or in a crowd. A highly sensitive person will also hear the roar of a motorbike outside the window louder and will feel the smell of gasoline at a gas station more intensely. Fortunately, it also works the other way around: the singing of birds or the scent of spring flowers will also reach them faster and stronger.
Do you surround yourself with art and aesthetically pleasing and beautiful things? It is also one of the hallmarks of HSPs. Tears in their eyes while listening to music or when watching sad scenes in the movie are normal for them.
5. Excessive duties
Highly sensitive people have difficulty coping when they have heavy responsibilities or several things to do in one day. They cannot work effectively under pressure – be it time or environment. When they are given a task at work to be done “right now”, they feel enormous stress and tension. Deadlines do not motivate them; instead, they cause frustration and anger. HSPs, therefore, achieve worse results at work where someone stands with a proverbial whip over their heads.
They are excellent observers and have great intuition, but they definitely feel uncomfortable when they become the object of the evaluation of others. That is why, in places such as the bus or restaurant, they feel that someone is constantly (critically) looking at them. For this reason, HSPs are extremely self-conscious – they can’t stand the thought of someone criticising them, even if no one is currently paying attention to them.
7. Feeling of being misunderstood
HSPs are very often the subject of jokes and even mockery, which may give them the impression of being misunderstood and alienated from others. “Something is wrong with me” – is how threads often start on forums for highly sensitive people.
The frequent feeling of being overwhelmed by stimuli tends to cause highly sensitive people to run away, most often to the bosom of nature. After a hard week, they’d rather turn off the phone than meet their friends. They need much more time and peace to bring their body back into balance. After they calm down and feel better, they will come back to life, so let’s respect their temporary escape to the “inner cave”.