What is it like to be an HSP?
As an HSP, the world can feel overwhelming. Bright lights, loud noises, and itchy fabrics can be incredibly disturbing. For me, I have found the subtleties of relationships particularly intense. I have always been hyper-aware of other people’s feelings. The tiniest nuance in the face or bodily shift would seem to reveal to me how someone was feeling, even a stranger across a crowded room. I seemed to be able to scan a room and know which people needed something. Who was feeling uncomfortable, who was a bit drunk, who was flirting with who. In one brief look across a crowded room, there was always a lot of information to process.
For non-HSPs, this probably sounds ludicrous. But this is how the world has always been for me. Mostly I have learned to balance the intensity out with time alone. I like to go out and have fun, and I LOVE to be alone. When I am alone, there is so much less sensory information to have to process.
On the upside, I think being an HSP makes me a better therapist. I am naturally attuned to the subtle shifts in my clients. I am used to receiving and processing a lot of data all at once, both verbally and non-verbally.
For me, when I am with a client, I feel like I am listening in multiple ways. I am listening to what is being said, and I am listening to the person’s being. What is their body saying to me, what is their inner child saying, what else is coming through in this moment in other ways?
I wonder how many other people are like this? Does this resonate with you?
References: Aron, E. N. (2016). The Highly Sensitive Person. NY, New York; Random House.
Boterberg S, Warreyn P. Making sense of it all: The impact of sensory processing sensitivity on daily functioning of children. Pers Individ Differ. 2016;92(2):80-86. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.022
Craig AD (2009). How do you feel–now? The anterior insula and human awareness. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 10 (1), 59-70 PMID: 19096369