The Highly Sensitive Person

Here is a glimpse of a manuscript I am working on:

Over the last few years of my life, I have started to notice a group of people. One that feels emotions very deeply, cares deeply and loves deeply. These people tend to be more sensitive to what people say and do (and even don’t do), these people are very sensitive toward the discomfort or pain of others. They are sometimes their toughest enemies, when they are under the belief that they have wronged someone or done something wrong. They also tend to be more socially shy (or even seen as awkward). My reasoning for mentioning all of this, is that I am one of these people. To define more clearly what I am speaking about in the above sentences, is HPS (Hyper Sensitive Person. HPS was a phrase that was created by Dr. Elaine N. Aron in 1996.

According to research, it is believed that 15-20 percent of people have a highly sensitive trait .  People who are HSP’s typically are very creative and have very rich inner lives.  There came a point when I really began to understand this about myself, when I investigated many of the signs of being a HSP. Things began to add up when I noticed that I would become easily shaken when I had much to do, or when I would avoid situations that I knew could be crushing to my person or that I often spent a good amount of time thinking about the meaning of life, why people were they were  and so on.

It is extremely easy to say that HSP is a simple case of introversion,  but it’s not always the case. Research shows that the difference between an introvert and  a HSP is that an introvert may just need to recharge their batteries after being around people for a while. They may not react the same to emotions and various types of stimuli. There is another layer to the hyper sensitive person’s that is the opposite introversion, that is extroversion. We all know that extroverted people feed off of interactions with others, but how do they as highly sensitive people deal with life as highly sensitive people? When I first understood that extroverted people were also highly sensitive people, my intrigue went to an all time high. Again, while highly sensitive extroverts do thrive off interactions with people and group activities, they do have a need to be by themselves to recover from adverse stimulation.  Whichever spectrum you identity yourself with, we are a group of people with much to offer to the world and beyond.

I am a introverted HSP myself, it’s taken me awhile to find the cause of why I was the way I was. That being that I feel things deeply, have a rich inner life and often feel overwhelmed in stressful situations. Most of the time there was the belief that I needed to get over being “too sensitive” or taking things “too personally”. Of course, there is always room to grow, find balance and learn to let thins bounce off you. But if there is one crucial element that has brought me great clarity and peace, it is that God (the creator of the Heavens and the Earth) made wired me this way, because of that there must be great rejoicing and less living in shame.

This is the perspective that I write from, a gospel centered worldview that says that there is plenty of room and purpose for highly sensitive people within the kingdom of God. So for the artist that seems so impacted by the harsh criticism of others, for those who have ever been told to stop taking things so personally, for those in caring professions that see to care “too much” about others, for those who feel “too deeply”, for those who constantly plagued with irrational thoughts, for those seemly surrounded by unexpected fears and for those who know people with sensitive  spirits. This book is for you, may we gain a better understanding of our selves, each other. I also want to be very clear about something,’being made that way’ with HSP is not an excuse, but rather, a reminder that we should focus on the positive and remember that we, as HSPs, have some pretty special and unique skills and qualities and the opportunity to use them to make a difference and bless others.  As we begin,  may we in the words of Brenning Manning: “Define our selves radically by the love of God

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