How to Master Your Strengths as a Highly Sensitive Person

A happy woman looks at a flower.

When you think of your HSP traits as strengths instead of challenges, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for them.

When it comes to navigating the world as a highly sensitive person, you know there are great things (and not-so-great things) about having the sensitivity trait. If you’re like me, then you:

  • Feel things deeply.
  • See subtle changes around you.
  • Have a big heart.
  • Are likely an overachiever.
  • Cry often.
  • Experience other people’s emotions.
  • Are easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by your surroundings.

While some HSPs may see these as challenges, I see them as strengths. They’re some of the things that make me who I am. When I discovered that I’m a highly sensitive person, I found what’s been missing in my life… my spirit! And as a self-empowerment coach, it’s my intention to give you tools — and teach you strategies — so you can master your strengths as a highly sensitive person.

Rediscovering My Spirit Through Identifying as an HSP

As a child, my spirit took a back seat to coping mechanisms that protected me during traumatic events. In order to survive, I became a perfectionist, a people-pleaser, and put everyone’s needs before my own. I also dissociated from everything around me.

These skills served me well in adulthood, until they didn’t. At the lowest point in my life, when I could hardly get out of bed, I stumbled on the term “HSP” — and I believe it was meant to be. I immediately took a “Are You Highly Sensitive?” test and then everything started to make sense.

An HSP Journey of Self-Discovery

I ordered the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Dr. Elaine Aron. If you’re an HSP, too, and have read it, then you know it’s like reading your life’s story through someone else’s words. For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel misunderstood or alone. 

This book started a journey of self-discovery that taught me how to master my strengths as a highly sensitive person. Now I’m going to share what I learned.

4 Ways to Master Your Strengths as a Highly Sensitive Person

1. Make yourself a priority in your life.

As HSPs, we tend to do so much for others that we forget about taking care of ourselves. Because our hearts are so big, we love giving to (and helping) others.  

However, this becomes a problem when you give to everyone else… but yourself. You’ve heard the saying: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Well, you also can’t give others (or projects or what have you) your best when you’ve depleted your energy. There is such a thing as the “HSP hangover” — and we have to try our best to not get one (or at least not very often).

Therefore, it’s important that HSPs take time every day to reenergize. I start and end my day with a specific routine that includes a mix of these activities:

  • Making a commitment to myself to have a good day by telling myself: “It’s going to be an amazing day because every day is amazing.”
  • Finding inspiration and motivation from my role models by subscribing to their email list or following them on social media. 
  • Practicing meditation to calm my nervous system.
  • Journaling to get my feelings out on paper.
  • Engaging with a group of like-minded people. Highly Sensitive Refuge on Facebook is one of my favorite ways to interact with people who understand the ups and downs of being a HSP.  
  • Expressing gratitude for everything I have. Each morning, I speak out loud everything I can think of that I’m grateful for. From every breath I take to the birds singing outside, I let what comes to my mind determine what I’m grateful for that day. 
  • Asking for help when I need it.

When I established these habits, I found that my life became more calm and less overwhelming. I was able to quickly conquer everyday challenges that used to take control of my life.

2. Discover who you really are.

If you don’t know who you are yet, who you really are, what are you waiting for? As a highly sensitive person, you’re unique and have gifts that up to 30 percent of the world has. According to Dr. Aron, we’re “the writers, historians, philosophers, judges, artists, researchers, theologians, therapists, teachers, parents, and plain conscientious citizens.” I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled to be a part of this group of people! I also know that the world needs our gifts of sensitivity now more than ever.

She goes on to say that in order “to perform our role well, we have to feel very good about ourselves.” This means taking time to get to know who you are from the inside out. And stop letting what other people think, say, or do define who you are. 

Here are some ways you can start getting to know yourself better:

  • Acknowledge that you’re a diamond in the rough.
  • Express gratitude for who you are and the gifts you’ve been given, no matter how big or small they are.
  • Welcome change in your life and commit to doing things differently.
  • Get to know your inner spirit. It’s a voice inside you that’s there to encourage and support you, not the one that criticizes you. Meditation and journaling are great ways to listen more to your inner spirit.  
  • Have faith in something bigger than you. I believe we’re highly sensitive for a reason and I have faith that I’m being guided by something beyond what I can fully understand. This faith has given me the strength to peel back the layers of crap that have been blinding me to who I really am for most of my life. 
  • Calm your senses to quiet your mind. Highly sensitive people have heightened senses, so it’s important to use some of them to quiet your mind. Give yourself a hug (touch), use meditation to “see” from the inside out (sight), listen to calming music without words (hear), and breathe in organic-only essential oils (smell). 
  • Discover what brings you joy. Do something every day that makes you happy! Writing, reading books, helping others, and spending time with family are a few things that bring me a lot of joy.  

When you begin to learn who you really are, you’re better prepared to own your strengths as a highly sensitive person.

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3. Identify your heart’s desire.

What is it that you most want in your life? What are the dreams you have for yourself? When you think about these questions, do the answers come to you quickly? Knowing what you want, and the dreams you have, gives you the drive you need to master your strengths as a highly sensitive person. Even when it’s hard.

You’ve got everything you need to achieve what you want when you take care of yourself and know who you are. These tasks can help you focus on:

  • Identifying the life you want and journaling about what you need to get there.
  • Believing in your dreams so you’ll achieve them (even if they seem larger-than-life).
  • Giving up control  of the outcome and having faith that something bigger than you is guiding you and giving you the strength you need to get you what you want.
  • Listening to, and acting on, your intuition (which we HSPs have in excess).
  • Facing obstacles with courage and strength.
  • Staying committed to the end result.

Remember, there’s power and strength inside you that’s been waiting for you to realize how strong you really are. Don’t let anyone discourage you from achieving your heart’s desire. It takes love, commitment, determination, and a lot of hard work to go after what you want. 

4. Explore what’s holding you back.

Everyone has things that hold them back from getting what they want in life. That’s especially true for us deep feelers because we’ve been taught that being sensitive is a weakness. I don’t know about you, but I believe it’s time to change that misperception.

In order to do that, it’s important to know — and overcome — the things that block us from getting what we want. It’s not easy; in fact, it’s really hard to look so closely at ourselves. But believe me when I tell you it’s definitely worth the effort. These journal prompts are a great way to dig deeper into what’s keeping you stuck:

  • What are you telling yourself when things don’t go the way you want them to?
  • What are the triggers that keep coming up for you and how can you heal them?
  • What would you change about yourself that’ll allow you to move forward?
  • How do you judge yourself and others?
  • What childhood wounds do you have that cause you to judge (or attack) yourself and others?
  • How does forgiving yourself (and others) help you move toward the life you want?

Knowing what holds you back from getting everything you want is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. It requires you to look at things you’ve been ignoring and feeling things you don’t want to feel. 

Seek Help When You Need It 

You were given the gifts of sensitivity for a reason and these steps can get you started on discovering what they are. When you master your strengths as a highly sensitive person, it’ll become easier to conquer the challenges you face. I also know firsthand that working through things that are holding you back, like trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may require more expertise. If that’s the case, I strongly encourage you to seek help from a therapist or other mental health professional. 

Start mastering your strengths as a highly sensitive person by grabbing your FREE copy of my Self-Love guide with 7 simple ways to get started on your own journey!

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