Has anyone ever said things like this to you?

Why do you always have to be so sensitive about everything, it’s not that big of a deal.

If you weren’t so shy and sensitive, life would be much easier for you.

If so, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Many writers and creative types have this trait.  Elaine Aron is a psychologist who has extensively researched the highly sensitive trait.  Take the quiz written by Elaine Aron to identify if you are a Highly Sensitive Person. I answered “yes” to almost every questions (actually, I think all of them).  Notice in this quiz how many different aspects of your life can be affected.  Highly sensitive people are not just “picky” or “shy,” they are hard-wired with a sensitive nervous system that detects more stimuli, both internally (inner world & feelings) and externally (environment & other people).

It is important to know if you are highly sensitive.

If you are highly sensitive, chances are you know you are different.  You notice more in your surroundings, feel very deeply about art, creativity, music, causes and have a very active inner life. The things you pay attention to are not always noticed by others.  And, you may be easily rattled by sights (violence & cruelty), noise, uncomfortable environments, strong scents, tastes and to changes.

You may have been told, or feel that if you could “calm down” and not be so concerned about these things, that life would be more “normal” and you could cope better with the demands in your life – Right?

It’s easy to believe those voices if you haven’t figured out why you are so sensitive. It is common practice to pathologize what we don’t understand about ourselves. And other people reinforce those beliefs when they don’t understand or accept our sensitive feelings and behavior.

Higly Sensitive Person The information on Elaine Aron’s website, and in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person, were invaluable to me. If you discover from taking the quiz that you are highly sensitive, I strongly recommend reading her books and those recommended in the HSP Store on the website. (I have no gain from this, I have just greatly benefited from reading them – for myself and parenting my children.)

You will learn to see that being highly sensitive isn’t a defect. You have a sensitively designed nervous system that enhances your ability to write, create and attend to the needs of others.  Elaine states,

Highly Sensitive People have an uncommonly sensitive nervous system – a normal occurrence, according to Aron. “About 15 to 20 percent of the population have this trait. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted.” An HSP herself, Aron reassures other Highly Sensitives that they are quite normal. Their trait is not a flaw or a syndrome, nor is it a reason to brag. It is an asset they can learn to use and protect.

Many HSPs are often unusually creative and productive workers, attentive and thoughtful partners, and intellectually gifted individuals. According to Dr. Aron, HSPs could contribute much more to society if they received the right kind of attention – and her national bestseller proves that this 15 to 20 percent of the population is eager to get off on the right foot in asserting their unique personality trait.

In her books, she teaches ideas about how to manage sensitivities and protect yourself from overstimulating situations that drain energy.

Claim Your Vibrant Creativity

I encourage looking deeply into the attitudes we each hold about our “flaws.” We may be looking at our most treasured asset for creativity and writing.

Our minds easily absorb thoughts and opinions from our culture, media, family and friends that are detrimental to our creativity.

With understanding, we can increase our mindful awareness of the habits of thought (harsh judgments) that hold us back from embracing our radiant, vibrant, life-embracing creative energy. With this awareness, we can better manage stress in our life and honor sensitives as a vital part of our creativity.

Here is an opportunity for us to accept ourselves even more, just as we are. It is in this state that our creativity thrives!

Want to read more about Highly Sensitive People, including comments by celebrities and creative types? Check out the High Sensitivity section of Talent Development Resources.

Friday Check-In

Hello #writerlbsOff folks and everyone stopping by for a visit. I hope you are doing well and working with your resolutions for increased health and creativity. Please take the time to let us know how you are doing.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? How has being highly sensitive affected your life, both positive and negative?

How have you used your sensitivities in your writing life? What are some ways you can guard your sensitivities from the type of stress that pulls you out of balance?