The Most Important Thing I Learned as a Highly Sensitive Person

30 September 2019 | by Gina Lucia

Let’s rewind the clock a little. 

It was only 6 months ago that I realised I’m a highly sensitive person (or HSP for those in the know). It took an article online to introduce the concept, but years of experience to realise it had always been there.

What I once thought was a burden, had now become something to embrace and use to my advantage. So, if you’re a highly sensitive person (or you think you might be one), here’s one really important thing I learned to survive in a world of not so highly sensitive people.

what is a highly sensitive person

What is a highly sensitive person?

But first, let’s address one thing in case you weren’t aware…

What is a highly sensitive person?

A highly sensitive person, or empath, is someone who simply feels more deeply than others. 

This isn’t limited to emotions, it can cover anything from bright lights and strong smells to loud noises. Highly sensitive people are usually told growing up that they’re sensitive or shy, but will usually have a high threshold for empathy and understanding of other people’s emotions.

highly sensitive person skill

As a highly sensitive person, we cannot control other people’s feelings

This empathic ability can be truly useful, we can see things others don’t, we can help and comfort our loved ones. But this ability can also backfire. As HSPs, we tend to avoid conflict to save the feelings of ourselves and others. It’s this one fact that can truly hold a highly sensitive person back. 

The one thing I’ve come to realise and work on as an HSP is that I cannot control the feelings and reactions of other people. By embracing this fact, I’ve been able to monitor my behaviour and not only have I benefitted, but the people around me also have too.

Let’s break this down into sections:

Don’t diminish yourself

Have you ever filtered yourself, or dumbed yourself down to spare the feelings of others, or to avoid confrontation? This is a form of people-pleasing.

I’m not talking here about being inconsiderate of other people’s feelings or what they’re going through. I’m talking about those everyday situations that you find yourself in, where you monitor your true self to make other people feel more comfortable. Stop doing that! 

You’re not only doing yourself a massive disservice, but you’re doing the people around you one too. They are not getting the chance to get to know the real wonderful you. If you’re scared they won’t like the real you, then they don’t deserve to be your friend anyway.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re being your authentic self and that offends somebody, then that has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. How they react is entirely their choice and it may be that their reaction to you, has brought out something in their life that they need to heal. 

“Judgement is but a mirror reflecting the insecurities if the person who’s doing the judging”

The Minimalists

Don’t let others dictate your choices

As a highly sensitive person, you can feel other people’s feelings which results in you thinking about how what you say will affect other people before you take action. 

It’s great to be considerate and thoughtful when it comes to other people, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of your own enjoyment of life or your progress. Don’t let other people’s feelings dictate your choices. You’re holding back from being authentically you.

Because you’re worried you will offend or hurt someone else, you hold back from saying how you truly feel or having your opinion heard. This is a paradox for a highly sensitive person. You’re able to see and understand how others are feeling and what’s going on, but you’re worried about sharing your observations because you don’t want to offend. Sound familiar?

You’re not responsible for other people’s feelings

Here’s the thing, you’re not responsible for other people’s feelings or how they react to things. Only they are. You’re only responsible for yourself, how you react to things and behave in the world. 

When you’re holding back, you’re simply assuming that other people can’t handle their feelings or emotions. Which is actually doing them a disservice. 

Featured image by Ellieelien

Are you a highly sensitive person? How do you manage dealing with other people’s feelings? Leave us a comment and share your observations.

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The Most Important Thing I Learned as a Highly Sensitive Person
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The Most Important Thing I Learned as a Highly Sensitive Person
Here’s one important thing I learned as a highly sensitive person or empath to survive in a world of not so highly sensitive people.
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  1. MJ | Barbed Wire & Lace

    30th September 2019 at 9:04 PM

    Gina, I really needed this today. It calmed the anxious, upset HSP inside of me.

    I am the worst about staying quiet, avoiding confrontations and people pleasing. I’m actually working on a post about people pleasing and it’s making my head spin as I think of all the situations I was being a total people pleaser.

    Thank you for reminding me to take my power back. <3

    • Gina Lucia

      1st October 2019 at 10:43 AM

      Frustrating isn’t it! I feel like it’s a constant battle trying to make sure I’m being authentic and not diminishing myself.

  2. Steph Social

    1st October 2019 at 2:36 AM

    It’s so hard to know how other’s truly feel without them having to even say a word! Makes family functions very overwhelming for me because there are some toxic people there.
    I’m learning how to deal with all the added emotions though!
    I can’t believe you just discovered you’re an empath or highly sensitive! I guess you sort of always knew but didn’t have a label for it!

    • Gina Lucia

      1st October 2019 at 10:43 AM

      Yes you’re totally right. Family situations are always harder too because there are so many connections there. I’m glad I know now!

  3. Roxana

    1st October 2019 at 2:19 PM

    How interesting that I also found out I’m an HSP this year and now that’s all my husband hears from hehe Except he’s the total opposite of an HSP so he doesn’t get it….boo. Anyway, lovely article once again, and a great reminder to not let the sensitivity get in the way of being your best self around people <3

    • Gina Lucia

      1st October 2019 at 4:06 PM

      My husband is the same. He tries to understand but I guess it’s difficult if you’re not living it!

  4. Lori @ CircleSquareOval

    1st October 2019 at 11:37 PM

    I’ve known for a long time that I was an HSP. I can remember substitute teaching in a kindergarten class and starting to cry because one of the students was really upset! I’m getting better at controlling those emotions, but I too, still have trouble speaking up when I know it may hurt someone’s feelings. My son is also an HSP, and let me tell you, it is tough for a little boy to handle! Gina, I am going to use your statement “When you’re holding back, you’re simply assuming that other people can’t handle their feelings or emotions. Which is actually doing them a disservice.” as a reminder to speak my mind when I should!

    • Gina Lucia

      3rd October 2019 at 3:33 PM

      It’s the best way I’ve found to re-frame how you’re feeling. Hope it works out well for you!

  5. Stan

    15th October 2019 at 6:54 PM

    “Don’t let others dictate your choices”
    The problem is much deeper. Other people just think faster. So they have solution, opinion, or ideas far ahead you ever found out some. The time other people (friends or colleagues) spends waiting you to understand, realize, analyze and come with decision for every small personal or professional situation is very annoying. You are not competitive at work, neither in life. As everybody knows life is a struggle.

    • Gina Lucia

      16th October 2019 at 8:03 AM

      Hey Stan, thanks for your comment. Our opinions may differ but I still appreciate it.


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