Highly Sensitive Refuge
A highly sensitive person reflects on how her sensitivity is a good thing.

8 Reasons Being Highly Sensitive Is Actually a Good Thing

Don’t be so sensitive — it’s not that big of a deal. As someone who’s come to appreciate my sensitive side, I find it unfortunate that being sensitive is often equated with being weak or dramatic.

Sensitivity is wrongly depicted as an undesirable trait, while nonchalance is mistaken for a sign of strength. While I do agree it’s important to recognize your high sensitivity and find ways to make it work for you — rather than against you — it’s not inherently bad to be sensitive.

In fact, there are many overlooked benefits to being a highly sensitive person. Here are eight of them.

Overlooked Benefits of Being Highly Sensitive

1. Depth of experience and feeling

Finding meaning in everything — and I do mean everything — is both a blessing and a curse. Even so, I wouldn’t forgo this trait for a more even-keeled disposition, because experiencing the world with heightened emotion is an integral part of who I am.

Something as simple as observing a few droplets of rain on a leaf can usher in an overwhelming sense of joy and peace throughout my being, while a totally harmless comment from my boyfriend can plunge me into a sudden spiral of all-over-the-place emotion for no logical reason. The latter is frustrating for both of us, but with understanding and acceptance, even intense outbursts of feeling become manageable, and simply one more way to experience the totality of life.

2. Strong self-awareness

Typically, those of us with highly sensitive natures are keenly self-aware as well. Whether this awareness develops over time, or is with us right from the start, we often find ourselves hyper tuned in, not only with our wide range of emotions, but also with the reactions that follow. We learn about our triggers, and we start to understand that while our intense feelings are valid and should not be dismissed, others might not react the same way as we do most of the time. Sometimes we just feel sensitive about things that might not even register as blips on their radar.

By recognizing this sensitivity as part of who we are, and not as a shameful flaw of some kind, we can attempt to share this aspect of ourselves with those we care about. It’s not always easy to open up — in fact it can be incredibly difficult — but communicating ahead of time about things that overwhelm us can give our loved ones an idea about what’s going on when we appear deeply affected by something we can’t explain in the moment.

3. Increased empathy

The same qualities that make us more sensitive than others can also make us more empathetic. Because we instinctively mirror the emotions of others, putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes happens automatically.

Basically, we don’t have a say in the matter.

We intuitively connect with and attempt to understand the world using our emotions. This means we can be just as overwhelmed by a tragic real-life news story as a heavy dose of fictional violence in a movie. It just happens.

On the plus side, this often makes us good listeners because we tend to take someone in pain seriously and don’t easily dismiss their feelings as frivolous or unimportant. While many offer practical advice on ways to just get over it as quickly as possible, we see the benefit of being there to just listen without an agenda or judgement.

4. Intuitive nurturing skills

In addition to heightened empathy, our sensitivity also leads us to place value on nurturing others. We know not everyone experiences life as intensely as we do, but because we’re used to feeling deeply, we strongly desire to bring happiness to the ones we love and help them avoid pain. We have an instinct to care for others by recognizing their feelings, understanding their needs, and trying to support them in whatever way we think will help them feel most loved.

5. Masters of self-care

For better or worse, we sensitive souls quickly learn the level to which we are affected by our environment. Whether it be noisy crowds, confrontation, tension in the office, or perceived judgment from others, even everyday occurrences can overwhelm us.

Often, we’re idealists who seek harmony and peace above all else and don’t see why everyone can’t just get along and be good to each other. After some trial and error, we learn what drains us the most and what lights us up from the inside out. We learn the importance of self-care and how to take care of, and be gentle, with ourselves.

6. Appreciative of the small things

One of my favorite aspects of high sensitivity is finding wonder in the smallest of things. I can find immense pleasure simply in noting the contrast of a green tree against a backdrop of blue sky and powdery white clouds. An unexpected kiss on the forehead or squeeze of the hand from my boyfriend can warm up my whole body with wellbeing. Hearing a song I haven’t heard in a while can spur a visceral nostalgia within me, transporting me vividly back in time instantaneously.

While in some ways I’ve always felt like an old soul, I love that my inner child is never too far away to pop out and leave me wide-eyed and awestruck by the world.

7. Finding beauty in both sadness and joy

It’s true that sensitivity sometimes leads to rather strong feelings of melancholy. But one of the great things about being highly sensitive is the ability to find sadness oddly nourishing. The spectrum of human emotion is fascinating, and I find oscillating between emotions a satisfying way to feel connected and present within myself.

I find just as much beauty in the resilience of overcoming sadness as I do in the joy of being deliriously happy. Both experiences exist for a reason, both have meaning, and both are beautiful.

8. Knack for forming close relationships

Highly sensitive people know how to bond, but we don’t do it with just anyone. It might take us a while to open ourselves up to the possibility of really letting someone have a meaningful impact on our lives. But once we’ve decided someone fits, we go all in.

Because we’re typically sensitive to the energy we sense in people, we can be choosy about who we spend time with. Our energies have to mesh.

We’re careful about who we get close to and intensely appreciate those who make us comfortable enough to show the true version of ourselves. Though we can appreciate passing conversation with acquaintances — sometimes — we put much more effort into cultivating meaningful relationships with people we feel an honest connection with.

Once someone has broken the barrier of our comfort zone, we get warm and fuzzy quite quickly, becoming incredibly loyal friends and partners.

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