Here I am again!
Today I will tell you a little about what it means to me to be a highly sensitive person (HSP). As I don’t know if everyone is familiar with this term, I’ll start with giving a short summary. In general, HSPs have a lower threshold for sensory stimuli, meaning that they register more of their environment than “normal” people. What sounds pretty cool at first can be very stressful and disquieting in reality. It is really hard not to get overwhelmed in situations that are absolutely normal for others. For example, walking in a crowd can be a real pain and after having spent a day shopping in the inner city the typical HSP will be completely drained. Of course there are many facets of this lowered stimulus threshold. HSPs often appear very empathic because they just sense other people’s moods. Well, I am not gonna give you a complete lecture on HSPs in general, but I guess you get the point. Now let me talk a bit more personally…
I mentioned last time that I learnt only recently about being an HSP and it really felt like a revelation. Of course I knew that I was who I was and that it was ok for me, but I also used to have the strong feeling that something was completely wrong with me and no one in the world could ever understand me. Now I see things a bit differently. The nature of HSPs makes most of us be less outgoing than the average person, a good explanation for why most HSPs still think they are alone with their “strangeness”. One of my very prominent characteristics is that I actually do enjoy being alone. A lot. And not from time to time, but regularly. And even more than hanging out with friends. I really dislike that I usually have to try to come up with excuses as to why I don’t have time to attend this meeting or come to that party. It is getting better, though, since I learned that people who don’t accept me the way I am are not truly my friends. I start daring to say what I think.
Well, but this shows that for me it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to just stumble upon some other HSPs while hanging out in a pub with my buddies. This situation just doesn’t happen. So I thought I was (nearly) alone. Which I am not.
I first came in touch with the term “HSP” reading an article in an organic lifestyle magazine and in the following purchased a great book on the topic (it is in German, so probably not for most of you…). Well, in this book I learnt that many of my peculiarities are very common in HSPs and that actually about every sixth person is highly sensitive. Hey, that’s more than expected!
Anyway, as this phenomenon can show in various ways, I am now coming to what the most striking things are for me:
I get overwhelmed easily, for example if I have to work in an environment with a constant background noise (the worst: people talking!) I can’t concentrate at all. I involuntarily listen to people talking all the time, just because I can’t block them out.
I love nature a lot. Every sensation that is related to something natural usually makes me feel good, it is like connecting with the planet somehow. Okay, so sunshine on your skin is probably something nearly everyone loves, but I also love rain on my skin, I love the sound of wind blowing, and I love the croaking of the crows on mild evenings. When I am inside, I usually yearn to go out and I could spend all my day just wandering through nature. Sounds crazy? Yeah, I know. It’s true anyway. Hiking in the forest is something I love especially much. But if I lived by the sea, I would probably be equally drawn to it. Endless walks on the beach? Yes, please! 😉
I still live with my mom and I just love it. She is also an HSP and the only person so far that understands most of my feelings. She is a nature addict as well and we share most of our general attitude, although we disagree on certain topics – as it should be. However, no one ever understands that someone my age would have such a close relationship with their mother and not be annoyed by this. But tell me, why should you have to hide something which is simply true and part of you? Without her, I have no clue where I would be today and how I would have handled my life up to this point. I often think that we have kind of saved each other. 🙂
I am a total late bloomer, with just about everything. Age 15, I was still making up stories with Barbie dolls. Not that I was not a responsible person back then, but my childhood seems to have lasted much longer than an average person’s. Of course I was super embarrassed of that and never told a person what I did in my free afternoons. But it’s true, and I must admit I only stopped because life became more serious and I just didn’t have the time for childish games anymore. My creativity has stuck around, however, and I am still dreaming of becoming a writer of fantasy stories eventually.
Many situations mean pure stress to me, and people around me usually don’t even feel the tiniest bit uncomfortable. The mentioned situation in a crowd, for example. But also having lunch with people I don’t feel I know 100%, I never know how to behave and watch my every motion trying not to make a bad impression. It takes a loooong time for me to become really comfortable with new people. Even if I like them, it usually takes several months until I start feeling relaxed around them and really “thaw” completely. Naturally, I often get strange looks by people when I still act like a newcomer to a group even though I’ve been in it for weeks. Others have their first lunch and are all set. How easy this sounds…
Last but definitely not least I also find very important that I care very much about every living thing in this world, be it human, animal or plant. Naturally, one has to eat something but when I first became vegetarian it felt like a huge load of guilt was falling from my shoulders. Sure, there are many vegetarians and vegans that are not HSPs, but I think for me this is clearly linked. I never thought about not eating animals for health reasons, it’s always been the ethics. Which doesn’t mean that I’m not crazy about whole foods and a healthy nutrition. 😉
Finally having switched to veganism about 1.5 years ago, I can only say that I never felt better. Physically and psychologically. I hope that my life will keep giving me opportunities to make decisions as great as this one, and I am positive that it has a lot to do with my attitude. Have a positive attitude towards life, and not everything will be perfect, but definitely closer to it than before.
Though I could tell you a million more things about myself and why I am different, this is probably enough for now – I don’t wanna start with writing posts that are too long for anyone being interested in reading them! 🙂
Have a great day and be sure to hear from me soon.