Being a highly sensitive person means that I receive all input in high definition. I take in more sensory input than others around me, and I process that input more deeply.
In childhood and young adulthood, this caused a good bit of overwhelm and a little bit of trauma for me; but now that I am familiar with the trait, I am much more capable of using it to my advantage!
Here are a few truths about my sensitivity that I’ve come to own up to:
I can get in touch with creativity very easily! It’s like a garden hose that won’t turn off, though, so it can be really hard to focus in on a single idea sometimes. (ok, most of the time)
I get overwhelmed before I realize I’m even irritated. This is often when I’ve taken on stress or an onslaught of sensory input that I am not owning up to (like I haven’t admitted to myself that I’m maxed out; usually because I get maxed out before everyone else does, so I ignore myself).
When I get overwhelmed, the first thing I need to eliminate is noise. Sitting in a silent car alone is my most favorite place for solitude.
I listen deeply to people and I am always performing what I call Emotional Triage in a room (that is, my body is always tuned in to any potential danger or shift of emotional stability in any group situation). I CANNOT turn this part of myself off because my body and mind work together to cautiously scan the room on an unconscious level. I’m not some detective sneaking around a room trying to figure people out. I just become immediately aware (like a sixth sense) when there is a sudden shift in emotion in a room.
Because I listen deeply, all the time, I usually miss the more trivial things. I am easily distracted from light conversation and am very forgetful. I have learned that it is because I am taking all of your body language, emotional messages, energy, etc in and analyzing it (again, on an unconscious level); plus I’m alert to other people and sounds moving around in the background. That makes it kind of hard to hear your words if they don’t carry the same weight as the other messages you’re sending.
Because of all of these quirks of my trait, stepping into the vocation of spiritual director has been a saving grace all its own. I get a sanctuary of solitude and can use my deep listening to help people realize their own connection to God. HOW LUCKY AM I?!
Are you a highly sensitive person? Tell me about the parts of yourself that you have come to own in the comments below.
Learn more about Highly Sensitive People on Dr. Elaine Aron’s website.