How does a Highly Sensitive know when to share they have the HSP Trait?
Who do we share it with?
How do we communicate the main points of the HSP Trait?
For many Highly Sensitives, these are valid concerns and something we think about a lot.
After all, getting our needs met is essential.
So let’s address them one by one.
First, it’s important to recognize that 80-85% of the population don’t have this genetic personality trait and know nothing about it.
Add to that; people typically are only interested in information that’s relevant to them.
After all, if it doesn’t directly affect them, why would they?
In this age of information overload, the majority of us are continually bombarded with useless information.
It’s essential to stand back and understand this will significantly impact who, when, and what points to share about your sensitivity.
Because the HSP Trait falls on a spectrum, what might affect your sensitivities may not affect another HSPs sensitivities.
Some sensitives are more affected by temperature, some sound, some taste, etc.
Let’s break it down into categories to make it easier; work relationships, family relationships, close friends, or significant other relationships.
For example, say you start a new 9-5 job, and you’re noticing at the end of the day you have headaches and feel more tired than you usually do.
But you also notice you don’t experience headaches on the weekend.
Highly Sensitives excel at noticing patterns and differences, and here is where you can use that skill to your benefit.
You end up narrowing it down to the lighting at your workplace.
So do you need to explain the intricacies of the HSP Trait to your supervisor?
Chances are, once you begin explaining even the main points of the HSP Trait, you’ll receive a blank stare of confusion.
After all, the HSP Trait affects only 15-20% of the population.
Instead, you can talk with your supervisor about your sensitivity to light and how the lighting gives you headaches and affects your ability to produce quality work.
A change in bulbs in the light fixtures will remedy the problem, and you can ask for full-spectrum bulbs above your workstation.
You’ve made your supervisor’s job much easier by simplifying and identifying the immediate problem and providing them with a solution that will benefit both of you.
Again, getting your needs met is the objective.
What about your relationships with family members?
The answers to this question will depend on your individual family members’ emotional intelligence, the quality of your relationships with them, and how much time you spend with them.
If you notice, and you’ll have history to draw on, if they’re an empathetic, supportive and able to reach compromises, then communicating with them what your sensitivities are and what you need will be relatively easy.
For example, say one of the family members you live with lights scented candles often, and the smell overwhelms you and leaves you feeling ill.
You can communicate to them you find the smell strong and unpleasant, and could they please close the door where the candle burns and open a window or consider using an unscented candle instead?
In situations where you live with your family members, the goal is to get your needs met while at the same time being open to making compromises.
For those who have a child with the Highly Sensitive trait there may be a need to advocate for your child when it comes to their education.
If you have close family relationships, you can refer to some ideas in the next section.
Close Friend and Significant Other Relationships
Let’s move on to your close friend and significant other relationships.
Sharing more information about your HSP Trait means practicing vulnerability.
Vulnerability goes a long way towards building trust and improving and strengthening relationships.
Again, you can draw on what you’ve observed about their capacity for emotional intelligence and how they compromise in their other relationships.
Noticing how supportive each person has been towards you is essential.
If you have a supportive relationship with all or some family members, it’ll be helpful for you to share with them that you have the HSP Trait.
A helpful first step is introducing them to the HSP Trait by watching the movie “Sensitive: The Untold Story” with them. This movie does a great job explaining aspects of the HSP Trait.
Give them time to absorb the information related in the movie.
Then you can let them know what your sensitivities are.
You could be sensitive to loud noises, and your close friend or significant other likes to play loud music.
Maybe sometimes you don’t mind this, but other times you find it overwhelming.
By helping them understand what the HSP Trait is, you’ve made it easier for them to realize that if you feel overwhelmed by their loud music, they’ll need to use earbuds to enjoy the music; it will make a big difference for you and you’ll appreciate the effort they’ve gone to.
Or you both can find another way that allows both of you to get your needs met.
Depending on how well you understand and recognize your sensitivities, this will take time.
Time for you to accept and understand what your sensitivities are.
Discovering your sensitivities is a process of acceptance, self-understanding, and self-compassion.
This process is an excellent opportunity for you to practice patience and self-observation.
It’s also a good opportunity for you to work on increasing your inner strength.
You can add your relationships with your family physician and therapist too.
It will be beneficial for you to share with your family physician and therapist (if you have one) that you have the HSP Trait.
You can explain to your family physician that having the HSP Trait means you have a highly tuned nervous system and you likely won’t require the same dosage of medication as a non-HSP.
You can direct your family physician to helpful information about the HSP Trait. After all, 15-20% of their patients also have the HSP Trait.
As you can see, depending on what unmet need you have and the type of relationship you have, whether it be work, family, or a close friend or significant other, will determine what you need to share about your HSP Trait.
Have you shared you have the HSP Trait with anyone?