The Most Important Thing I Learned as a Highly Sensitive Person
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?
But first, let’s address one thing in case you weren’t aware…
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.
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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