Highly Sensitive Refuge
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12 Amazing Things About Being a Highly Sensitive Person

Being highly empathic, which makes them great friends and people to be around, is just one amazing thing about being a highly sensitive person.

Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) can — at times — feel frustrating, exhausting, and even debilitating. Do I have to absorb my coworker’s sad mood, not to mention everyone else’s emotions? Why does everything have to be felt so strongly? Can I not express my anger without crying, or not feeling overwhelmed in a loud environment, just once?

But there are so many amazing things about being a highly sensitive person — it’s as though highly sensitive people are full of superpowers! Sometimes, you just need to step back and take a deeper look into things (which, fortunately, we HSPs are good at doing!) in order to access your strengths. Here are some of my favorite things about being a highly sensitive soul.

12 Amazing Things About Being a Highly Sensitive Person

1. They are able to look at situations deeply and notice subtleties more so than non-HSPs.        

Although it can be exhausting to process everything more deeply than non-HSPs, this does give highly sensitive people a leg up by allowing us to have more information when making decisions. From noticing how our friend’s voice changes when they’re upset to picking up on someone’s body language to remembering information from a past meeting at work, our brains allow us to access much more information than we may realize or appreciate.

2. They are better able to learn from past situations and respond quickly in the future.

At first glance, this deep processing we HSPs do can seem detrimental because of the time and energy it takes away from us. But according to Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, the time and energy we expend to initially process the information is, in fact, an investment in understanding. And, as such, it will allow us to make more accurate predictions about the future — and, as a result, we’ll respond more quickly when we encounter the situation again. This can apply whether it’s regarding jumping at a new opportunity or swiftly avoiding danger.  

3. They’re highly empathic, which makes them great friends or people to be around.

If there’s one thing this world could use more of, it’s empathy! We need more of it in our workplaces, our friendships, our social media interactions, within our families and personal relationships — you name it, the world needs more of it. And because highly sensitive people have a great deal of empathy, this makes us excellent friends — we’ll “just know” how you’re feeling, be a great sounding board, and help you as best we can. However, all this empathy also means we sometimes get sucked into others’ anxieties and dramas, which makes it imperative that we mindfully set boundaries and take care of ourselves in the process.

4. They’re highly intuitive and have a knack for sensing things.

Highly sensitive people tend to have very good intuition. Somehow, we are often able to “just know” the right choice from the wrong choice or “just know” how someone is doing before they utter a word. Maybe it’s because we process things so deeply, maybe it’s because we notice subtleties that others miss — but most likely it’s due to a combination of many different things. Whatever the reason(s), we are often able to intuitively know the right answer in a variety of situations, saving us time and energy when making decisions and helping others (and ourselves) out.

5. They are able to experience and appreciate deep beauty.

Studies have shown that HSPs react more to photos with a “positive valence” and that there is a strong relationship between the high sensitivity trait and feelings of awe. I like to use this research to encourage myself to be intentional with my time and to try to focus on, and enjoy, the moment that I’m in — as well as the beauty that is surrounding me. There is such a simple bliss in truly experiencing the joy of savoring a hot cup of coffee or wholeheartedly taking in a beautiful sunset. 

6. They feel emotions strongly, from little to big ones.

Science has found that HSPs feel emotions strongly — they can tear up watching a TV commercial or listening to beautiful music. Although some may see this as a “negative,” I appreciate the authors’ stance in Do Emotions Help or Hurt Decision Making? Researcher Roy Baumeister states that emotions are at the center of wisdom. This view is based on the assumption that the majority of emotions are felt after an event to help us remember the event and learn from it. 

For example, an HSP may feel frustrated with themselves after not speaking their mind in a meeting — so, in the future, they will be less afraid to speak up. Baumeister also points out that without emotional motivation to learn something, people will not learn as well (or at all). It’s also important to remember that there are both positive and negative emotions — and HSPs feel both more strongly than other people. 

7. They are extremely creative, whether it’s thinking outside-the-box on a work project or pursuing a creative hobby, like writing or art.

There’s no doubt about it: HSPs are extremely creative. From the way they notice subtleties and differences that others miss to the way they process information more deeply than others, these help make highly sensitive people into the imaginative beings that they are. Whether they express this creativity overtly (through something like music or art) or more passively (in the unique way they do a work project), they can’t help but be creative in nearly everything they do.

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8. They make incredible leaders.

Highly sensitive people make incredible leaders. At first glance, many might expect HSPs to be overlooked for promotions and leadership opportunities, yet there are a multitude of reasons that they are, in fact, the perfect people for these roles. John Hughes wrote a book, Haunting for CEOs, on best practices for them and lists several reasons why HSPs make incredible leaders. Some of these reasons include: they are able to notice things that other people miss; they prefer to process situations more rather than take immediate action; and they are able to intuitively exhibit “resonant leadership,” which allows HSP leaders to lead their team with understanding and empathy. 

9. They crave connection and deep conversations with others. 

Ask any highly sensitive person and they’ll tell you they crave connection and deep conversation. Not one for small talk, an HSP would prefer to get to know the real you: What are your passions? What keeps you up at night? Do you have any regrets? In a world full of filters and airbrushing, cropping and editing, fake smiles and hidden emotions, there is a desperate need for some realness. Even if non-HSPs don’t require the same levels of deepness that we are seeking, our honesty and willingness to speak the truth can be inspiring and a breath of fresh air to everyone — HSP or not.

10. They can find joy and happiness in the simplest of things.

Sensitive people can find happiness in the simplest of things. Forget grand gestures and expensive gifts: HSPs tend to be happy with a simpler life full of quiet moments and meaningful memories. This can mean a walk in nature, a quiet evening at home, a thoughtful gift… these are the things that fill an HSP’s heart with joy. It can be easy to become run down as an HSP in this busy, nonstop world, but fortunately, it is also easy for us to find happiness and recharge.

11. They have rich inner lives and don’t need external stimuli for entertainment.

Sensitive souls tend to have rich inner lives and don’t need to rely on external stimulation for entertainment. Plane delayed? Work meeting going on too long? Friend running late for a coffee date? Frustrating, for sure, but at least HSPs can immerse themselves in their inner life, thoughts, and imagination. I could people-watch for hours and make up stories about everyone based on their clothes and actions, or simply use the time to sort through the thoughts running through my head (as we HSPs tend to overthink things, too!).

12. They have a strong connection to animals.

HSPs have a special bond with animals — they tend to be able to relate to them in a unique and accurate way. Perhaps it’s because we are so good at picking up on the nuances of body language or perhaps it’s because we are incredible at picking up on how others feel, but highly sensitive people tend to connect with animals in a way that others might not. If an animal’s not feeling well, we’ll pick up on it in a flash. Similarly, perhaps we can tell that the dog we are approaching is uncomfortable with strangers, that the horse we are riding is in pain, or that the rabbit we are holding is scared of being held. Not only is this helpful in a practical way — wherein we might not approach animals when it isn’t safe — but it also helps improve their quality of life when someone truly understands and accepts what they are feeling.

My fellow highly sensitive souls, can you think of any other amazing things to add to this list? If so, leave them in the comments below!

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