Please don’t ever allow another person to push you beyond your energy capacity. As a Highly Sensitive Person, you have an acutely attuned nervous system that is literally designed to alert you to your limits. If you’re consistently forcing yourself to push through stress because you feel you should be able to handle more, then your body, soul, and psyche will suffer.
Maybe you’re not hearing the obvious cliches: “You’re too sensitive! Get thicker skin!”
But there are infinite variations on “You’re too sensitive” which you may be hearing more often than you realize. Statements of judgment like:
- “You can’t already be tired?” (You can, and you are.)
- “You go to bed how early?” (9pm and proud of it!)
- “Why are you being unsocial?” (You need to excuse yourself to re-set.)
- “You’re not going to the party? Why are you so boring?” (When your battery is empty, parties are impossible.)
All of these statements are usually made in jest, to goad you into keeping up with them–your friends, family, or co-workers.
They are often casually tossed at you, not meant to overtly harm you, but to convince you to be different. To be more like them, the 80% of the population who weren’t born with your super Spidey-senses.
They don’t understand what it feels like to have sensory experiences hurling at you at the speed of light, a million times a day, each one being uniquely processed and sorted by your over-achieving nervous system.
What you hear, after having your energy differences pointed out to you over the course of a lifetime is:
There is clearly something wrong with you.
But there isn’t.
And the 80% honestly aren’t trying to harm you. (Not most of the time, anyway.) They just don’t want to be without you while you separate yourself to regenerate.
This is why it is so important for you to learn to hold your ground. To say No. It’s imperative that you don’t allow another person to convince you that you aren’t normal ~ which is a word that means truly nothing.
Believe me, with the infinite varieties of human traits and personalities, there is no such thing as normal. We can’t allow a near-fictional concept to drive our choices.
There is nothing wrong with you.
Yes, a sensitive nervous system also means that inevitably you are more easily overwhelmed by intense levels of stimulation. It means your “intense” may have a different meaning from somebody else’s. That’s part of your beautiful innate package. But being an HSP is not a problem, or a syndrome, or a pathology. There is no flaw in your nervous system. It just works at a higher level than 80% of the population’s.
You can learn to increase your resilience–to make life easier–but they will never learn how to achieve your level of sensory processing sensitivity.
That sounds like a super power to me.
Have you heard any interesting (okay, aggravating) variations on “You’re too sensitive” recently? Let me know in the comments!
I feel like I have heard variations of “you’re too sensitive” my whole life. Trying to keep up with other’s expectations of me was exhausting and damaging. Then it moved on to my kids. It used to feel like negative, unsolicited opinion/advice. Now I just own it and am grateful to be an HSP and feel fortunate to have a whole family of HSP’s 🙂
Thanks for this, Kristy!
Kristy Sweetland says
This makes me so happy to read, Sue! Every time an HSP owns their sensitivity it gives another HSP the confidence to do the same. And the trait is genetic. I can think of nothing more wonderful than a whole family of HSPs! (And you definitely are.)