Being HSP, The Identity I Never Knew I Wanted

Growing up, the word ‘sensitive’ had a negative connotation for me. Like many, I would occasionally get teased and called out for being ‘too sensitive’ by my family and peers.

Little did I know, I would radically change my perception of what sensitivity meant as I got older, and my younger self would be surprised to learn I use the term ‘sensitive’ to describe a part of my personality nowadays.

One key moment in every living person’s childhood is the profound realization that others experience the world and think in different ways than we do. Although I cannot remember the exact moment I came to this realization, I clearly remember the frustration I experienced noticing that many of my classmates cared just a little less about others or being polite than I did.

Empathy quickly became a weakness in my eyes, akin to a primal urge that needed to be controlled in order to make sensible decisions. As foolish as it was, I carefully shaped my personality to be more closed off from the world and others.

At the time, it felt like the right thing to do: I quickly learned that being shrouded in mystery somehow also made one appear ‘cool, reinforcing my belief that self-control and bottling things up was the path to success.

As you may expect, I did not craft a healthy personality, but a ticking time bomb.

It was around my second year of university that I started to suffer the consequences of burying my sensitivity. Willpower is a limited resource, and when it is depleted, the mind starts to falter and falls in obscure places.

I had spent so much time and energy controlling my thoughts and behaviors that, slowly but surely, a creeping sensation of emptiness began to overcome me.

With every passing day it grew, and took more and more room in my mind, spilling on my beliefs and my relationships.

This descent into a depressive state lasted three years. I moved twice, changed universities, abandoned many of my dreams and spent the majority of my energy looking for a treatment, a way to get out.

Eventually, I was lucky enough to find the support system I needed, and, surprisingly enough, it was learning about my sensitivity that taught me how to heal.

It was one of these moments when everything suddenly seemed to make sense. My mother had given me Dr. Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person , and each chapter felt like a profound and new wisdom leading me to growth.

It was through Elaine Aron’s works that I learned to embrace the quirks of my high sensitivity, and it became clear that properly tending to the garden of the mind not only healed my body, it also turned me into someone I had respect for.

I began to live true to my sensitivity, embracing the complexity of my thoughts and emotions and organizing my life around the down time needed to recharge my batteries.

Being HSP was not a diagnosis, it was a fundamental pillar of my personality left unattended for far too long.

Today, I listen carefully to my body and my intuition.

The knowledge I gathered from talking with other HSPs gave me a positive outlook, and I have learned to enjoy the little things that I am lucky to be just sensitive enough to appreciate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *