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Thomas: Hi and welcome to the HSP World Podcast. With each episode we invite a guest with the HSP Trait who has a burning HSP-related question to have a conversation about it. We’re not coaches or therapists. We’re HSPs holding space with you.
I’m one of your hosts, Thomas and your other hosts are…
Rayne: and Rayne.
Robyn: All right. So we’ve got another guest with us here today. I would like to introduce Dayne. Hi Dayne.
Dayne: Hello. Thank you for having me.
Robyn: Oh, our pleasure. Thanks for being here. Um, maybe you could get us going by saying a little bit about how you learned about the HSP Trait?
Dayne: Oh, I learned about the HSP trait watching videos on YouTube. I found a YouTube channel called Frank James and he was discussing about being an HSP. And then I was like, I could really relate to all that he was saying about being sensitive to other people’s feelings or being sensitive to the environment. I really felt like that resonated with me. So I also took the test and I identified as an HSP.
Robyn: Okay. And has it changed your view on anything since you found out that information?
Dayne: Yeah, because I became more accepting of other people and how they are, like, knowing that I was an HSP made me feel like there’s now actually a word for how I was as a person. Like before I would just think that people think I’m too sensitive, but I’m actually not. It’s just a Trait and it helps me learn to have better relationships with people.
Robyn: Cool. Yeah. Thanks for sharing. All right, well, let’s get on to the question of the day. Could you let us know, Dayne? What was your question?
Dayne: All right. So my question was, why are there some people that I don’t feel good with, even though I couldn’t logically point out why-it’s like, my intuition is telling me that this person isn’t real or authentic. I know other people would say that I’m just being judgmental, but for me, I’m not being judgmental. So am I onto something or am I just being judgmental?
Robyn: Okay, thank you. It’s a really good one.
Thomas: Yeah. There’s a lot there.
Rayne: So just to double check Dayne, are you talking about with someone you very first meet or are you talking about maybe somebody, you know, that you already have a relationship with.
Dayne: Um, in general, I think people that I know for quite some time. Like at first you don’t really think about them in any way. Like I just try to approach him in a non-biased way. And then as I get to know them, it’s like, my mind is telling me that there may be something that’s not right here. And sometimes they try to dismiss them, but sometimes I end up being right.
Rayne: Okay, and so you’re asking what should you do? Like, should you follow this every single time or?
Dayne: Cause I know people just think it’s not logical. Like you should approach relationships in a logical way. But for me, I feel like there is also some importance in listening to your gut feeling.
Robyn: I think this definitely is an HSP-related experience. There are a lot of people who identify as highly sensitive and say that they can pick up on… um, either you could call it, you know, someone else’s energy. Or, or they just get an intuitive sense of another person being someone maybe that they can’t trust or being somewhat inauthentic.
I think I want to add a little nuance here. So I know a little bit about a Myers Briggs psychology from one of my good friends, Francois, who’s studied it a lot, and we’ve talked about how one of the big categorical differences is people who identify as “intuiters” and people who identify more as “sensors”.
So people who kind of use this intuition to make sense of information around them. And people who identify more as sensors, they’re kind of going with the facts and what’s in front of them. Of course everybody can use both, right? Everybody can use the facts and everyone can use their intuition, but people generally have tend to have a preference one way or the other.
And I believe the majority of people who take the test, which is believed to extrapolate to the majority of the population—there’s more “sensors” than “intuitives”, so there is a tendency for using facts and information that’s right in front of you as kind of like the standard normal way of assessing a situation.
So I do think we have a little bit this expectation that, you know, when you meet someone or when you encounter a new situation, based on what’s in front of you—that’s what you should be using to come to conclusions.
But there are some people who are quite good at picking up on things from the people in front of them or situations in front of them without necessarily being able to explain why, or like where it comes from. It may take them a bit longer to articulate it.
So HSPs can be both types, right? They can be “intuitors” or “sensors”, but I think in any case, if you are the kind of HSP who’s picking up on intuition—I think it is a real thing. We tend to discredit it. We tend to say, ah, okay, I can’t really put my finger on it. And the tricky thing is you may or may not know exactly what it is you’re picking up on.
So even people who have very good intuition, they may need to hang back for a second and take in more info to figure out what exactly the intuition is telling you. Right? But I do think there’s an advantage to starting to listen when that little feeling comes up saying, alright, I’m going to pay attention to it.
I’m not going to jump to a conclusion yet, but I’m definitely going to notice it and see if I can follow it and get a bit more information.
Rayne: Excellent. So there’s a lot to this, it’s a lot more complex of a question, I think.
Thomas: Definitely. A lot there. I have some thoughts too.
Rayne: Yeah. So in our last podcast, Robyn mentioned this and thank you Robyn for bringing this up, she mentioned, and it feels right to me, that having the HSP trait, there’s a continuum. So you can have it like to a high degree, a medium degree, a low degree, whatever, or some senses are higher than others, that type of thing.
So that’s a pretty important part of it, but also, and this is what Robyn brought up in the last podcast, it’s also the environment you were raised in, right? So if you were raised in a supportive environment or a not so supportive environment. Right? And I bring this up because projection can play a role here.
Rayne: So it’s like if you were brought up, and I was brought up in a non-supportive environment, so I got very used to, um, sort of—my survival depended on me picking up on other people’s moods. Picking up on what was going on around me to a high degree.
But as I’m learning more about how my trait works for me, I’ve realized that I really have to step back and take a really good look at it, because people project on each other all the time.
Rayne: You know? We do it and it’s something you really have to work at. I find for me, I do, I have to work at it.
I have to really step back and go, Whoa, what’s going on here? Whose feelings am I dealing with here? Am I dealing with my own feelings? Or am I dealing with their feelings or are their feelings making me feel like this?
Dayne: Okay. Yeah.
Rayne: That kind of thing, you know? Um, so I think it’s important to…the more you can be in touch with your own feelings and supporting and holding space for yourself and how you’re feeling, then I think the easier it gets to basically listen. Because for me, my intuition is really my heart speaking to me, you know, and I was taught logic and my brain. That that was the number one important thing, you know? You know, school and everything else. Right?
But I find that making space for my heart to speak, and sometimes it needs more of a voice than my logic. And I need to base decisions based on that—and it’s a really great tool. It’s an amazing tool to have that I think HSPs either, uh, you know, they may not know they have access to it, or you know—that it’s there for them, you know? That’s sort of how it feels for me. How about you, Thomas?
Thomas: Well, I really liked the description of being attuned to others. Other peoples states and feelings and emotions. And if I had to guess, Dayne, you probably are fairly well attuned to your own emotional state?
Thomas: That’s something that I had had a great deal of difficulty with growing up. In my circumstance I had to hide my emotions when I was growing up and as a result I didn’t have, um, sort of the internal, emotional vocabulary to understand emotions, you know, I didn’t understand mine.
And so I understood others less. So, I remember growing up, I was extremely gullible. I just basically took people for, you know, what they said, for things that they said, and it’s taken me many years of internal growth to become more tuned—to other people.
So that’s one reaction I had when you asked that. The other thing that I’m curious about you were asking, are you being judgmental?
Thomas: And that I think is also something that relates to the HSP Trait in terms of overthinking. Sometimes we overthink, um, especially if we have an interaction with someone. Sometimes I find myself thinking, you know—did I say the wrong thing? Did I overreact to it? You know? And I can think about it for the next two hours.
And then of course, I find that the other person has moved on and is doing their own thing. Right?
Thomas: So I do want to know a little bit more about what you’re thinking there is about being too judgmental. Is that something that you think about?
Dayne: I used to think about it. I used to have friends who told me that I’m just being too judgmental when I say my observations about people. But, for me, that’s just my observation. I’m not really trying to judge them in a bad way or anything.
Thomas: You’re observing.
Rayne: You know, it’s funny…just even that sentence. “Am I being judgmental?” Because by even asking that of yourself, to me, it feels like a judgemental thing to say to yourself.
Rayne: Right? And it’s like—aren’t I free to just hold my feelings, my observations, my thoughts, and be okay with them and know that I don’t need to judge those things?
They’re just there. That’s them, you know? And if they’re there—maybe there’s a reason they’re there? Maybe the reason they’re there may not be crystal clear to me at this moment, but the reason that they’re there is valid and do I need to kind of poop on myself for noticing them? You know what I mean?
Cause they’re there to help me. They’re there to help me no matter what. And you know, they’re not judging me—those feelings and, you know, thoughts and those different things. They’re not there to judge me. They’re there to help me, you know? How do you feel about that Robyn?
Robyn: Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m kind of going back and forth in my head here between moments that I’ve observed highly sensitive people, including myself, react in ways that I did think at the time was judgemental. And I’m trying to think, okay is that really necessarily the case?
But I guess like it can help to break down what do we mean by judgmental? So making observations about things it’s not necessarily bad. If I’m having a feeling about someone, even having a negative feeling about someone, you know, that’s just, if it happens—it happens, right? I guess where people might be using the label judgmental, it might be if something gets expressed at a time when they were not ready or willing to hear those observations.
Like if someone says, “Oh, well I noticed your hair is a bit messy.” Right? Maybe they didn’t want to hear that. Maybe it was meant like, you know, positively like, “Oh, here I have a brush. No problem.” But you didn’t want to hear that. So it could be about the time or volume in which it’s expressed.
But that’s not necessarily negative, right? It‘s just people have different expectations or maybe it’s a question of timing or thinking about how to express what you notice.
I think for me, what I would consider judge mentality is a lack of empathy, not willing to, or a lack of openness of someone, when someone says a negative pronouncement on it without trying to take the other person’s side or think about what might be going on here. So I think it’s…I wouldn’t censor myself for noticing things, paying attention to things, wanting to express things, but, you know, even if you do have a strong intuition.
I think there’s a first step, right? Like when you’re actually noticing the thing, at least to yourself, you might as well be as transparent as possible, right? You might say, okay, I saw this person and I noticed X or Y about them. I noticed how their tone of voice changed. I noticed how they looked at me a certain way.
I think it’s okay to be honest with yourself. I noticed that. Right. But then you ask the follow up questions, right? Like, okay, “Is this something I’ve noticed many times? Am I noticing it more now? Because I’m overstimulated?”
Like sometimes I notice things when I’m overstimulated and I noticed them in a very, like, they strike me very negatively, but I know that when I’m calm and relaxed they don’t bother me at all.
So that’s something good to notice as well. Like what’s my internal state right now? I guess just putting everything together, asking follow up questions, like Rayne was saying, projection of you know, our fears can be a very important point, right? I know there’s certain things that are triggers for me that if people say them or if it sounds like someone’s suggesting something, you know, like, I don’t know, canceling plans last minute. Sometimes that will put me in a mindset of, “Oh wait, why is this happening?” Right?
But I know that’s a thing for me. I know that puts me a little bit on the alert. So if that happens and then I find myself picking up on little things here and there, I will keep it in mind and ask myself like, okay, are you just picking up details because you’re a bit upset about this? Cause it’s a thing that bothers you or is there something else going on?
So I think having all that information and I mean, it comes back to the point that the more you learn about yourself, the more you learn about your own patterns, I think just the more you discover how your intuition works and where are the parts that it may be giving you information that isn’t necessarily like it’s giving you information. That’s more about your own insecurity sometimes, but other times it’s giving you information that really is valid.
Rayne: You know, for me, I’ve and this is something I’ve noticed in myself and I have noticed in other HSPs as well, is we tend to be really hard on ourselves.
Rayne: We, you know, we really do. We tend to be way too hard on ourselves. Like if somebody said to me now, well, you know, you’re being judgmental. I’d be like, yeah, so what, you know, that’s how I feel. That’s how I see it. That’s how it’s presenting to me. And you don’t have to agree with me, you know, we all don’t have to be clones of each other, you know, but it’s totally okay for me. To feel that way and to express that if that’s how it is, and I don’t need to beat up on myself or feel bad about anything I’ve noticed.
The more I learn about my trait, the more forgiveness I’m practice with myself, the more compassion I’m practicing with myself, the more space I give myself to, to be, to feel, however I need to—you know? Within reason, right? But that, that’s how it feels for me and something I’ve noticed.
HSPs, we do tend to be pretty tough on ourselves, you know, tougher than other people would be on us.
Rayne: So, yeah. Thomas, how about you?
Thomas: This is probably tangential to the HSP Trait, but I find that having a mindfulness practice helps me in that aspect too, in terms of, of learning how to just observe what I’m thinking,
Robyn: Oh, yeah.
Thomas: You know what I mean?
Robyn: Oh yeah, I would agree with that.
Thomas: So I do meditation. I do a breathing meditation every day in the morning for ten minutes. And it’s been immensely helpful in terms of the rest of the day and in my interactions, just that, that noticing bit and that, and specifically noticing what I’m thinking, because you know, that thinking part, just spirals out of control really fast.
And just having that extra little skill that says, “Oh, look, I’m doing this right now.” That’s been very helpful.
I have something else that I’m curious about. We talked a little bit about how we pick up on other people’s energies, and so Dayne, I’m wondering how you perceive, how you pick up on energy? Not specifically how we started out talking about authentic authenticity but more about how you perceive people’s energies. You know, I know some people are, you know, they’re there, you can just read them so easily because they’re just out there, they’re just saying what they feel all the time and other people are more reserved.
Dayne: Yeah. So I guess when it comes to energies, I just feel it like when I exit the conversation, it’s usually at the end of the conversation. I don’t feel anything while I’m talking to the person. I try to look at myself after I talk to the person. Like I ask myself, do I feel good? Do I feel not good?
And then that’s when all of the insights come in, like a post-processing of what happened.
Robyn: That’s a great idea. I think we could all benefit from doing that. And then you can refine the process too, right? Like, so if you say, okay, I feel kind of mixed. Right. And then you can think, all right, well, you know, what was it that maybe didn’t feel right or didn’t feel comfortable? And then maybe one observation is not enough to put words on it, but you can still acknowledge it was there. There’s something for me to go back and follow up.
And again, sometimes you’re not even picking up on anything wrong with another person. Sometimes you’re just picking up on, I don’t know, there may just not be a great fit between you, right? Maybe, I don’t know—maybe you remind each other of, I don’t know, past friends had who hurt each other or something like that, you know? Like sometimes it’s someone who’s going through something right now, and they’re not actually available to you.
Sometimes you pick on something that isn’t a condemnation of the other person, it’s just showing you that, yeah, okay right now there’s not really space for you to click together on certain topics.
Rayne: It’s interesting. Thank you for sharing that Dayne, that for you it’ll be after you have a conversation. For me it’s different. Sometimes I’ll have it before I speak with someone, sometimes it’s during, sometimes it’s after. And a lot of times it’s dreams. It’s like I picked up on a whole whack of information that I had no idea I was picking up on and it’ll come out in dreams or whatever, you know?
So I think, um, just being open to, um, that information and, and try, you know, trying to do the best you can with not being judgmental with the information, you know, that’s the tough part. Like not judging the information—like, is this good or bad, or allowing fear to somehow get in there because, you know, it’s a world where a lot of messages and different things we see in the media are about, you know, protect yourself and all this kind of thing.
When really, you you know, it’s just information. It’s there, you know, and that’s it. It really isn’t good or bad. It‘ll be what you make it and that’s all. Yeah? It’s just information and that’s all it is.
I also find that when I’m—I like adult coloring. Right? And I also find, I do a lot of processing of information when I don’t even realize I’m processing information. Like I’m just like, I’m just zoning out, completely listening to music and colouring.
Thomas: Your subconscious is working on it.
Rayne: Yeah, like I’m just zoning out, enjoying myself, I’m listening to nice music and just, you know, coloring and enjoying the colors and, you know, not thinking about anything. Literally nothing.
And I find that it’s really, really helpful for me for processing emotions and thoughts and you know, that type of thing. And I think I just more and more use that as a tool because for me, it’s like all that information just sort of gets like, um, I don’t know how to put it. It’s like, It’s like a tidal wave, you know? And if I, if I don’t do something creative where I’m not, I don’t have to think or understand or anything, any of that information and I just allow myself to “be” and enjoy myself doing something creative—I find that all of that, you know, that the plug to the bathtub, you know, or the title wave or whatever, it can just, it just flows and it goes. And I don’t actually have to do anything with it. You know? I just have to give myself that space and time to to process it.
And I don’t even know I’m processing it. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
Thomas: And Rayne, I think you’re also making a conscious decision to say, “I don’t need to have the answer right now.”
Thomas: I will let the answer form.
Rayne: On its own. Absolutely. Absolutely. Knowing that there’s no deadline, there’s no, you know, there’s no rush. There’s no nothing. That those are all constructions that I put on myself and I don’t have to, you know, I don’t have to do that. I can be kind and loving with myself and allow myself to be, you know?
Rayne: Really interesting conversation. Yeah. I love it. So guys, I don’t know, are we getting close to the time we should be wrapping up?
Thomas: I was just going to ask that it’s 35 after, and I think we started around five after so we’ve been chatting for about 30 minutes.
Thomas: So thank you, Dayne—for today’s conversation. I’m curious to know how you feel about it. Did we provide some answers?
Dayne: Yeah, I feel very enlightened by the things that we talked about. And how we can use intuition, but couple it with logic so that it’s more useful in the real world. Thank you.
Rayne: Absolutely. Thank you, Dayne, for your courage to ask the question, I really enjoyed chatting about it—and I know your question’s going to be helpful for other HSPs too.
Robyn: Yes. Thank you. And thank you to our listeners. Please join us for our next episode where we’ll be having another interesting conversaation. For any highly sensitive listeners who have a burning HSP-related question, be it big or small—we invite you to ask it on the HSP World Podcast. Just email [email protected]
To listen to the next Episode: Do Changes To Your Routine Make You Feel Anxious?
Music credit: Intro and Outro music from the YouTube Music Library. Song is Clover 3.