Growing into the HSP Trait by Shannon Garza

Growing Into the HSP Trait

When I was younger things were much harder for me.

Like many others I didn’t have any guidance on being an HSP even though at least half of my family are HSPs. I guess that was a time when sensitivity was looked upon as something bad and therefore not discussed or addressed.

I was bullied for my sensitivity, constantly told I was too sensitive by peers and adults and this went on into high school but also in a few relationships as an adult.

I didn’t know what HSPs were until my mid-thirties.

This was a whole new world for me.

Before, I didn’t know what an HSP was, but I knew I was different. I always felt like I didn’t belong here. I still don’t but I accept it in order to have a good life. I don’t dwell on that fact.

Yes, I’m very different but I’m still capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I try to focus on the good about being a sensitive. The way I can help others. The way I notice things others don’t. The way I feel love so intensely.

Yes It has brought me many hard times, a lot of heartache, and a bit of confusion but in its entirety it is a beautiful thing. To be able to connect on that level. To feel so intensely. Regardless of what others may say, being “too sensitive” is a wonderful thing.

It helps you to see others in a deeper light. It can be painful but it can also be magnificent.

As I got older, my sensitivity began to shift or switch you could say. The emotional sensitivity wasn’t as bad but the physical sensitivities were amplified.

Don’t get me wrong, the emotional sensitivities were present and clear but they weren’t as bad as the physical sensitivities at that point.

My sensitivity to temperature changes, to certain sounds, to bright lights, to awful textures and strong scents had become ever present in my life. Something I could no longer ignore.

It has disrupted my life a little. Gets in the way of just enjoying myself without worry. My sensitivity to textures include food and I have now begun losing my taste for meat. This is one of the ways it disrupts my life.

My best friend/roommate and I love to grill but now I can’t eat meat. Yes, I could grill some vegetables but it’s just not the same. It’s slightly depressing.

Another way it’s disruptive is with my hearing sensitivity which makes it hard to hear anyone if there are multiple sounds in the environment. My hearing is very sensitive but I can’t hear you if there are too many sounds at once. Disruptive.

I’ve learned to get used to it but that doesn’t change how exhausting it is. How frustrating it might be.

But I’m better at accepting it for what it is and trying to move forward. Working through the sensitivity rather than fighting it like I usually do. Learning to walk side by side. To accomplish my goals no matter my sensitivity. It will be present in my life. It’s a part of me and it always will be. I just wish I wasn’t so sensitive. Too sensitive.

I don’t use “too sensitive” as an insult—just as a description. I don’t always like having such sensitive senses but I wouldn’t insult myself, or anyone else, over it. I only wish that my sensitivities were a bit more muted. Less intense.

I know this won’t happen so I just learn to live with them. Letting my emotions flow. Acknowledging that the light hurts me or certain sounds cause me significant discomfort. Acknowledge and accept it as such. Trying not to let it take control of my life.

My sensitivities dictate a lot of how I will feel and what I will do but now I work with it rather than against it. I adapt my life to ease any discomfort from my sensitivities. It can be a bit exhausting but well worth the effort. Sometimes I miss out on things due to my sensitivity, but being an introvert I don’t mind that much—haha.

Even though I’m not using the term “too sensitive” in a negative way a lot of other people do. I think it’s becoming more acceptable but still not as widespread as I would like.

Being too sensitive is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the sign of a good soul. A tender soul.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too sensitive as an insult. As they say, that’s your superpower. Use it to help guide you through the tough times. To help others through tough times. Let it show who you are as a person.

I am a sensitive, and no matter how painful that can be, I am proud to be. I don’t think I would trade it for anything.

If you’re having trouble accepting yourself as a Sensitive know that you are not alone, and you are a rare soul and deserve to be accepted. Not only by others but, and most importantly, by yourself.

Try focusing on the beauty your sensitivity brings. The way you can feel others and know what they’re going through. The way you can help them in hard times. The way you can help guide others to the strength they need to get through the day, or to battle something unpleasant in their lives.

Acknowledge your sensitivity as something to be honored and respected; to be a tool for you to use to better yourself and to help others.

What does being a sensitive mean to you? Does it bring you heartache or joy or maybe both?
Both is very common.

We are sensitive which means we feel great pain as intensely as we do great joy. We can relate to others on a deeper level. Being a sensitive is a battle and a blessing.

How do you feel about it? Is it a blessing or a curse or again, both?


Pic credit via ejaugsburg

Shannon is a Highly Sensitive Person and an Introvert. She is a coach for Highly Sensitive People. She is an advocate for breaking the stigma on mental health. She loves laughter, kittens and helping people live their best lives.


  • Tina Hoff

    As you say, a blessing AND a curse, and sometimes one over the other, depending on the day. I was also bullied for being too sensitive in middle school (by the very same girls I was friends with in the years before, of course), mostly because the bullying got a reaction (mostly tears). My parents often told me I was “too shy,” and (unfortunately) also mocked me for crying at times, calling me a “little baby.” I probably saw this as a curse then. But I also remember feeling like the people who didn’t understand me also couldn’t see and didn’t understand the deeper things I knew with my gut, my intuition, my deep sight. Even then, I knew this was something powerful. I just thought there was no place for it in the “real” world. But there was another level to the “real” world, and it made perfect sense there. Probably why I wanted to write, create. That deeper world seemed accessible all the time to creative folks. I wanted to be one of them. But as I got older…that “real” world was more demanding. So I conformed, learned to be like other folks. I learned to hide my sensitivities sometimes, to hibernate in my apartment to recover from things. I started to think maybe it WAS something to “get over,” or “grow out of,” or “fix.” That was the curse part. But like you, I started to appreciate this gift (and its underbelly) in my later years. It helps when someone calls it a gift (Elain Aron’s book) and explains that there are others like you out there. I notice, too, that I am more physically sensitive now. I have thought that maybe that came from many years of stuffing it down, muscling through things — something so stifled now seems louder, maybe?

    So glad there are more folks like you (like US) telling their stories, sharing their experiences. Definitely removes a lot of the “curse” from this gift.

  • Shannon

    You put it perfectly Tina 🙂 Those are the very reasons I feel it to be a curse at times to. It can get very overwhelming. I’m sorry you had to go through that, it’s hard. Especially when it’s our “loved ones”. You are very right the depth that we see and feel things is beautiful and makes this gift a little easier to cope with. I agree with you. It’s so great that so many of us are speaking up now. Hopefully some good changes will happen. ?

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