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HSP 101: BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON

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HSP 101: BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON

  1. 1. HSP 101 BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND THE HIGHLY SENSATIVE PERSON
  2. 2. Whether you are exploring if you might be an HSP or you suspect you might love an HSP – be the parent, sibling, or boss of an HSP – the first thing is to accept that HSP is a ‘thing’ that exists. And, that you may have the power to make your life or the life of an HSP a little easier and more peaceful. And, you want to.
  3. 3. Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is a birth trait that exists. If you think of Asperger’s Syndrome being on one end of an emotional spectrum, an HSP may be on the opposite end and may range from being someone mildly sensitive to someone having strong, painful, and uncontrollable reactions to noises, smells, emotions in other people. No one can wish away or “cure” HSP. That’s good news.
  4. 4. Being a Highly Sensitive Person does not mean we are “weak.” It means we might feel feelings with more “feel” than most people feel. For most HSP’s – like most people – we know how to behave in public, are not brittle, don’t need to be coddled – but, sometimes need help managing things beyond our control. Just like anyone with a condition that effects their behavior.
  5. 5. HSP’s can feel things more deeply than most people and hold those feelings for longer periods of time. This can mean there are times emotional reactions are amplified to an extent those emotions can be very difficult to manage. Very difficult. Sometimes, impossible.
  6. 6. HSP’s can feel intense love, contentment, or euphoria over some things that might make other people simply happy.
  7. 7. Sad things can hit an HSP hard and those feelings can feel like falling – literally – like we are falling off a cliff. Being sad can often be terrifying to an HSP.
  8. 8. And, although we can cry easily, for many HSP’s crying is a last resort. Crying is a pressure valve being released. Crying can deeply embarrass an HSP so kindness matters. Don’t tell an HSP to stop crying. They would if they could.
  9. 9. Both men and women can possess this trait. But, it can be much harder for men to deal with or to hide.
  10. 10. We take things personally, because that is how we process most everything we deal with. Don’t tell us to not take things personally. We wouldn’t have a single clue as to how to take things if we didn’t.
  11. 11. Because HSP’s process one thousand emotions a day, there are times we need to feel the safety of reassurance. We need to check in often with people we love about feelings – good or bad. Just to make sure.
  12. 12. And, when someone we love reaches out, first – or does something cool or kind with the HSP in mind? Does something special just for them? It means everything and we will never forget it.
  13. 13. HSP’s – especially in times of high stress or fear, may need some extra reassurance from those most important to them. A teacher may need to add an extra star, a parent may need to cuddle a bit more, a friend may need to check in just to say, “Hi.” Times of excessive emotion can make HSP’s feel invisible – to remind an HSP (often) that they are not invisible and are loved is really important.
  14. 14. Not all HSP’s are introverts or shy, but we can be very comfortable being alone and daydreaming. HSP’s often crave the company of others while also needing isolation and calm. This inner conflict can bring intense feelings of loneliness.
  15. 15. HSP’s can be deeply affected by the arts - music, poetry, stories, paintings, movies – and the deeper the emotional connection, the harder it is to shake those deep feelings.
  16. 16. HSP’s may come from a place of feelings when we react to something that disturbs or scares us simply because it is not possible to turn those feelings off. Please, let us process. It might be hard to understand, but it’s hardly ever about you. Managing HSP is hard. It’s not a choice anyone would make.
  17. 17. Some HSP’s register the world mostly through feeling – which means your feelings might become our feelings - your mood might become our mood. HSP’s can absorb energies like emotional chameleons. The more diverse the emotions in a room, the harder it is for an HSP to control their sensitivities. They may need to go to a quiet place for a moment to regroup. Just let them.
  18. 18. HSP’s tend to look forward to things with intensity. When plans change an HSP might have to go through a process of extreme disappointment. Just like other emotions that are intense, disappointment is something that HSP have to manage. It very rarely means we are upset with the person involved – just upset that we have sorted out plans and when they change it can be cause for anxiety. Just let us sort through it and we will be fine. Acknowledging that the change may be difficult for them helps tremendously – as will rescheduling the plans as soon as possible.
  19. 19. An HSP who knows someone well can often identify even the slightest change in mood or emotion. If something bad happens to someone an HSP loves, it can feel like the same bad thing happened to us, too.
  20. 20. Watching violence on television or in a movie can feel physically painful to some HSP’s. Many don’t feel it as if it’s “just a movie” – we feel the violence as if it is actually happening to us. It’s not funny. It can be terrifying.
  21. 21. HSP’s can be hyper-observant. Because it is essential to understand as much as possible in an environment for us to feel comfortable, an HSP notices everything. We “catalog” things others might forget. We remember promises made. We remember and do what we say we will do. This can often be unnerving to some people. It’s hard to get something by an HSP.
  22. 22. Many HSP’s will go into hyper-sensitivity overdrive when we believe we may have disappointed someone we love. So, when we try to hear criticism, it can be devastating. Many times, it’s not about feeling bad that we did something “bad” – it’s about disappointing someone we love. For many HSP’s this is one of the worst things we could ever do.
  23. 23. Many HSP’s need time to plan. We need to often visualize ourselves doing things before we actually do them to help calm any anticipated anxiety. Allow an HSP who needs to plan the time they need because it’s how they have learned to manage.
  24. 24. Telling an HSP to “let it go” can feel dismissive. It’s not about letting go of anything – it’s about processing emotions in a necessary way that is difficult to change. We can’t process emotions any faster than we do. Don’t be angry about that.
  25. 25. Because HSP’s can be very sensitive to their own feelings we can also be sensitive to the feelings of others. We can be empathetic from the first meet. Loving an HSP can bring you closer to understanding love in an authentic way. It can be scary, but will be more than worth any confusion.
  26. 26. Many HSP’s crave deep connections. In order for some HSP’s to trust you they may need to know who you are on the “inside.” Some HSP’s feel so much they can’t ‘see’ a person – instead, they ‘feel’ who that person is. That can be very disturbing to people who prefer to be more private. To love an HSP is to tell an HSP more than you might other people. But, that’s OK. HSP’s keep secrets very well.
  27. 27. Most HSP’s are strong people and are (mostly) not inappropriately overly- emotional. We also don’t need (or want) to be rescued by anyone – we just need to be allowed to process emotions in a way that is empowering and not embarrassing or defeating. We need to feel that our way of processing the world is not wrong or crazy – just different. And, in a perfect world? Many of us would like to be seen as Empathetic Badass Warriors – because someone needs to remind people of the softer sides of being human. HSP’s are just people who need to be as sensitive as they need to be. So let them be.
  28. 28. And, remember: telling an HSP to stop being so “emotional” or “sensitive” is asking them to do the impossible. It’s negating who they are at their very core: emotional people. Just because you might feel uncomfortable with emotion is not reason enough to ask another person to try and change who they are – when they can’t.
  29. 29. It takes a special kind of person to love an HSP. It takes a person who is patient and kind and willing to allow for things that they might not have considered, before. It takes a loving and generous person. A person who wants to nurture the HSP in their lives and help them to feel safe in their world.
  30. 30. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BEING A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON (HSP) VISIT THIS WEBSITE: http://hsperson.com/

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