Life as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) can be hard. School can be torture to sit through, work can be overwhelming. You just need more time to recharge your batteries than everyone else. Your sensitivities can cause discourse among your friends and family, making you feel guilty or downright ashamed to be who you are. But don’t be! You have great abilities and can provide deep, meaningful insights into life. Here, at Psych2Go, we share Ten Strengths that you have as a Highly Sensitive Person.
You know what to do most of the time, you can get stuff done, people are asking you what they should do next. It’s easy to skim through the book of life and improvise your way through the rest. You are self-sufficient, self-directed, self-motivated and have enough self-discipline to implement any plan, or personal project. Of course, friends and family are important and it is healthy to ask for help when you need it. But, because of your strong independence, you only must ask for help half the time.
Highly sensitive people make great artists, whether that be traditional arts like painting, kinetic arts like dancing, or even the culinary arts. That’s all thanks to an HSP’s heightened senses. Taste, touch, hearing, smell, and sight are given just a little extra kick into overdrive for an HSP. This makes food more flavorful, colors a little brighter and touch to be more tender.
Greater Development Potential
According to the work of Kazimierz Dabrowski (1902-1980), who studied the emotional and intellectual development of gifted youth, there are 5 levels of self-actualization development. Everyone can reach a level 5 development tier, but HSP’s have a unique advantage in this regard. Due to HSP’s reflective nature, self-actualization becomes natural. Level 5 self-actualization entails a great inner depth of consciousness, a connection to something bigger than themselves and the achievement of true inner peace.
As an HSP, you are subject to emotional extremes during times of stress. That can be exhausting for yourself and for those around you. But as compensation, your sense of compassion, caring and responsibility towards others in unparalleled. It is not unusual for HSP’s to take up important environmental causes and to reach out in humanitarian aid. The child who cried finding a dead bird on the ground may very well end up opening an aviary refuge for endangered species.
Truly Imaginative Creativity
What does theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, business entrepreneur Walt Disney, and famous painter Vincent Van Gogh have in common? A seemingly endless supply of creativity. Creativity is not just for art. Creativity is the ability to combine and extend ideas in uncommon ways. Your natural ability to look at the world at obtuse angles gives rise to the ideas that go beyond the norm. These ideas can shape society for the better, improving the quality of life of countless generations.
Passion for Learning
Your intellectual endeavors go beyond just being a bookworm. If a question pops into your head, you will not rest until a satisfactory answer is known. Your intellectual interests may not exactly be what is taught in schools. Special interests are not held in great regard by society. But curiosity will carry you far. Finding meaning and satisfaction in the things that bring you happiness just may open a whole new realm of possibilities that can have global implications.
A Greater Sense of Justice and Fairness
The HSP, even as a young child, is concerned with fairness. Many a schoolyard dilemma has been solved by the suggestions of an HSP. Whether it be insisting on taking turns, using rock-paper-scissors to determine a true winner, or just making sure that everyone in the group has a say. When things are not fair, such as most of life, it can eat at the HSP’s soul. When justice is denied to a group, an HSP will usually step up to the plate. This makes the HSP an invaluable element in social justice causes, which can vastly improve the quality of life for marginalized people.
Maturity at an Early Age
This strength comes with a couple of asterisks behind it. Maturity, or the ability to handle hardships without resorting to pettiness, is a wonderful trait that can carry an HSP far when they are forming relationships with people. It is a strength to be able to make rational decisions about one’s life. People often quote, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” For an HSP, that won’t always apply because you’ve already made the mature decision. But this strength can only come out with proper emotional and intellectual development. It is a sad reality that some children do not have the proper environment to grow and develop to their full potential. Maturity at an early age is also very easily manipulated by less-than mature adults.
An Eye for Detail
Do you hear the buzzing in the room? Did you notice the clock stopped working? For an HSP, the little details in life are all a part of the charm. It seems like you’re the only one who notices those details too. You can get more out of movies by noticing how a director uses a certain color or impress a teacher by finding a discrepancy within a formula. Little details can add up to form a big picture. Any knowledge is good knowledge, and with your super sleuthing skills, you bet you could give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money.
One with Nature
The love for plants and animals comes naturally to HSP’s. Nature doesn’t judge you, plants don’t care who you are, and animals love unconditionally. Going for a hike in the woods, a stroll on the beach or even maintaining a garden at home can provide much needed stress relief and connect you to the world. For HSP’s, the behavior of plants and animals are easily understood through observation. This ensures that your relationships with the flowers and the bees are a healthy one, mutually beneficial to you both.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person can be rough, but you have all the strength you need to succeed. The key is to focus on what you are good at, how you can help, how your unique abilities can make life more bearable. Not everyone can understand a Highly Sensitive Person, but by going through this list of your strengths, at least you can understand yourself a little bit better. It’s up to you to be your own best ally.
Daniels, S., & Piechowski, M. M. (2009). Living with Intensity: Understanding the sensitivity, excitability, and emotional development of gifted children, adolescents, and adults. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.