Nothing is wrong with you.
Yes, some things might be challenging for you, including things that other people don’t seem to struggle with.
Still, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
There are some pitfalls to being highly sensitive, but they only become pitfalls when you’re unaware of them, living on auto-pilot, or when you force yourself to work against your sensitivity.
Step 1: Become aware. Here are 5 things you probably struggle with:
1. You get easily overwhelmed
Many things can overwhelm you because your nervous system is naturally more sensitive than average people. A lot of stimuli all at once is an example: Lots of noise, lights, people, and smells. Imagine this, you’re in a nightclub in downtown New Dehli… This is how your nervous system will feel, even if in reality, you’re at your New Year’s Party with your immediate family. It just feels like a LOT.
A hectic schedule or a big to-do list in a short amount of time is another example. You’re more sensitive to being rushed. Your nervous system get’s frazzled as if it was a matter of life or death.
This is all normal when you’re highly sensitive.
2. It’s difficult to regulate your emotions and you react instead of respond
For most HSP, it’s difficult to regulate their emotions. You feel everything deeply and intensely, and it can be uncomfortable for other people. So, you quickly learned to repress your emotions to fit in or to be loved. You adapted to the “too sensitive/too emotional” reproach you were receiving. Does this sound familiar?
The repressing eventually leads to an overflow and explosion of emotions which feels uncontrollable.
It’s a vicious cycle, but when you think about it, it makes sense.
3. You overthink and have high levels of anxiety
You’re very aware of yourself and your environment. You notice all the little things others don’t. That’s great, but left on auto-pilot, it will lead you to overthink and ruminate which will rise your anxiety levels.
Since you feel things more deeply than others, you’ll have anxiety about being observed, tested, embarrassed, and humiliated. It will affect your performance and make you more anxious the next time.
Again vicious but obvious cycle.
4. You feel crushed or drained by the demands of others
You’re a very good friend, good at listening and holding space, but you’re also a people-pleaser and have trouble setting boundaries.
It’s hard for HSP to say no because you feel the disappointment that you create in other people very strongly.
If you see your sensitivity as a limitation, you’ll tend to give more to others to compensate because it will give you a sense of worth from your accomplishment and how you help and support others, instead of feeling worthy just for who you are.
5. You doubt your self-worth
The message “you are too sensitive” subtlely says there’s something wrong with you. It’s very common for HSP to become highly self-critical. Negative self-talk turns into doubt and a lack of self-trust. Over time, shame takes over and your self-worth crumbles.
Every time you overload your schedule to help someone and feel validated, but then feel overwhelmed and stressed and end up collapsing, you reinforce the idea that you’re not good enough.
Step 2: Get off the auto-pilot and support your sensitivity.
|You get easily overwhelmed||Learn to regulate your nervous system and manage your task|
|It’s difficult to regulate your emotions and you react instead of respond||Slow down, practice mindfulness, and learn to allow yourself to feel your feelings|
|You overthink and have high levels of anxiety||Get out of your mind and into your body and practice thought work|
|You feel crushed or drained by the demands of others||Learn how to protect your energy and set gentle boundaries|
|You doubt your self-worth||Learn how your sensitivity makes you uniquely skilled and talented and build your self-love|
Hopefully, your life makes a little more sense now and you feel a little less crazy. Are you ready for the next steps? Here are some ideas:
What’s next? Here are some more resources for you:
1.Blog Post: What Does it Mean to be Highly Sensitive?
2.Podcast Episode: Are You Really Too Sensitive?
3. Practices for your nervous system: Join the Yoga Membership.