Highly Sensitive Refuge
A woman smiling because she’s thankful to be a highly sensitive person.

14 Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Being a Highly Sensitive Person

They may seem quirky to other people, but I’d never give up these 14 things about being a highly sensitive person.

Even though growing up as a highly sensitive person (HSP) wasn’t simple — being made fun of for crying too easily or being more emotional when compared to my “tough” brother — over the years, I’ve truly embraced my sensitivity. And while it’s Thanksgiving that got me thinking about all the reasons I’m grateful for being a sensitive person, the truth is, I’m grateful year-round. 

Yes, I may be the only person crying at a Super Bowl party when the underdog loses, but I’ll also be the only one who will truly empathize with you when your heart gets broken or when you lose that job you so loved — and you didn’t even have to say a word, I just knew. (It’s an HSP superpower, after all — our instincts are always on point.)

So, without further ado, here are 14 reasons why I’m thankful for being an HSP.

14 Reasons Why I’m Thankful to Be a Highly Sensitive Person

1. I get to feel things completely — there’s no such thing as being half-in or half-out as an HSP. 

HSPs wear their hearts on their sleeves — there’s no such thing as a “poker face” with us. While some people can “poker face” their way through various life situations, HSPs aren’t that way. If we’re feeling a certain emotion — overwhelming joy for a friend who just got a promotion or extreme sadness for a friend whose pet is ill — you’ll see it in our faces immediately. Even “smaller” emotions will be self-evident on our faces, and via our body language, too. We feel things completely — there is no dimmer switch. And as much as I feel things deeply, I also like how I can sense others’ feelings, too…

2. I can to easily read other people’s emotions and body language — it’s an HSP superpower.

Although any HSP will tell you that absorbing others’ emotions is both a blessing and a curse — after all, we’re talking about all their emotions, not just the happy ones (and the not-so-happy ones can take a toll on our mental health and overstimulated senses) — I think it’s more of a blessing. Sometimes, someone may say “Everything’s fine,” yet you know something’s not. So, as a sensitive soul, you delve deeper and ask if everything really is fine. Oftentimes, the person will open up and share what’s on their mind. 

This just happened to me the other week. I called a friend to say hi and knew something was off by the sound of her voice. It turned out she was having outpatient surgery the next day and hadn’t told anyone (until I’d picked up on her semi-sad tone). Once she started talking about it, she said she felt a lot better, and we’ve been checking in with each other more regularly ever since.

Similarly, I pick up on every little thing when it comes to someone’s aura and body language in person, too. In this way, we can tell if they’re lying about something or if they give us cues as to how they’re feeling. Someone can be telling you, verbally, that they’re doing great, but you know by their body language (their slumped shoulders or sad expression) that they’re really not. So then we HSPs enter the picture like superheroes to save the day (or at least try and make them feel better). 

3. Being an HSP comes with a sixth sense (and ‘Spidey senses.’)

You know how you’ll have a sixth sense or bad feeling about something? When you’re a highly sensitive person, that happens a lot. And it’s truly a gift when it does. You’ll feel someone walking behind you and turn around — sure enough, there’s someone walking a bit too close to you (in the dark), so you duck into a store or restaurant as a safe haven. Or you go on a date and just get a bad feeling about the person — and then a friend of yours confirms your suspicions. So having a sixth sense as an HSP — and listening to your intuition — is definitely something to be grateful for every day.

4. The creativityyyyyyyyy

Highly sensitive people are naturally creative, whether it means we take up painting, music, writing, or a myriad of other artistic pursuits. I started writing as a small child, as soon as I was introduced to crayons, and was typing up my first newspaper, Nat’s Neat News Notes, shortly thereafter. This translated well to my current career as a freelance writer and editor. And if you’re a sensitive person yourself — or know someone who is — they’re likely creative in some capacity, too.

5. How I notice — and appreciate — the little things in life.

Sensitive people are known for noticing the little things and nuances in life, whether it’s the beauty of the petals of a rose, all the hues of a sunset, or all the subtleties in a piece of music. While others may see the overall picture — like the rose itself — we see every little detail. For this, I’m grateful. And when I point these little things out to others, they seem to be appreciative for being able to see them in a new way, too.

6. I get recharged by nature itself.

Since we HSPs get overstimulated by many different environments we experience each day — from the overhead fluorescent lights at work to the overbearing lights at the grocery store (coupled with the super loud music) to all the traffic lights and sounds on our commute home — it’s a refuge for an HSP to get out in nature. There, we can just appreciate the quiet and recharge from the endless amount of stimuli we experienced all day. We don’t have to worry about experiencing chemical sensitivity from the freshly painted walls at work (or our coworker’s new perfume) or light sensitivity — we can just be with little stimuli around us.

7. My wonderful, complicated, life-changing empathy.

Sensitive people are empaths. Just like we absorb others’ emotions, we also relate to them on a deep level — we’re not just sympathetic (feeling bad for someone) but empathic (we really feel bad for someone and can relate to how they’re feeling as though we’re experiencing it ourselves — and probably have at some point). 

Sometimes it can be surprising and sweet all at once. I used to have a boyfriend who didn’t have the ability to cry, for example. I, on the other hand, would tear up watching basketball playoffs or the Super Bowl when the underdog would lose (and I wasn’t even a basketball or football fan, but I’d still relate to what they’re going through). In a way, his tears became my tears, but over something we could enjoy together. 

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8. That close, close connection HSPs have to animals.

Just like we HSPs can pick up on how fellow humans are feeling, we can also pick up on how animals are feeling. Even though they can’t directly tell us, once again, we primarily use nonverbal clues to assess how our pets are doing. Do they seem calm? Anxious? Could they use more of our time, love, and attention? And our connections to animals almost mirror those that we have with humans — a pet is not just a pet, but a distinct part of us and a part of our family. 

9. That deep HSP focus when working on meaningful tasks and projects.

One thing we HSPs excel at is the way we’re deep thinkers — when we put our minds to something, we give it our complete time, attention, and focus. We’re detail-oriented, we’ll do the research that has to be done, and we’ll do our absolute best. Single-tasking tends to work better for us than multi-tasking — that way, we get into a “flow state” when we work on things and we don’t let any outside distractions get in our way.

10. My innate ‘people-pleaser’ tendencies — even if they’re sometimes my Achilles’ heel.

We highly sensitive people are people-pleasers — we love helping others and hate disappointing them (due to our high levels of empathy) — and this is a great trait to have. However, we must also be careful to not let it get out of hand. After all, even though we have a natural affinity to help others, at the end of the day, we must keep in mind that we’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. Boundaries are something we HSPs struggle with enforcing, but the more we practice it, the more we can still be there for others while also being there for ourselves.

11. Those powerful HSP emotions.

Even though I used to hate how emotional I’d get at seemingly nothing — it would make me feel embarrassed, especially if I was the only person in the room tearing up at something — now, I embrace it. Plus, my true friends could care less — they know I’ll be the most emotional one in the room (even while we’re watching a Disney movie; they’ll hand me more Kleenex instead of making fun of me like my brother and his friends did when I was growing up). I’ve also realized that displaying our emotions is a sign we’re living, breathing beings who have the ability to care for — and empathize — with others, which is a beautiful gift when it comes to being a sensitive person.

12. The deep, intimate friendships with people who understand me.

We HSPs value deep friendships, not just ones based on small talk. While we may attract energy vampires and narcissists due to our empathic, super nice natures, we value friendships that are two-way streets and ones where there’s an equal amount of listening give-and-take. They say “no man is an island,” and I find this to be especially true for us HSPs — when we find the friends who “get” us, we don’t want to let them go. 

13. Getting time alone to recharge (whew!).

Being a highly sensitive person is no small feat — after all the overstimulation we experience all day, we need plenty of time alone to recharge in our HSP sanctuary (whether it’s in our bedrooms or sneaking outside between work meetings). Otherwise, we’ll get an “emotional hangover” (or an HSP one), and feel even more drained. After pockets — or hours — of alone time, we sensitive types feel refreshed and recharged for all the stimuli waiting for us.

14. I am thankful for knowing, and understanding, what it means to be a highly sensitive person through and through.

I think the better we HSPs understand what it’s like to be a highly sensitive person, the more we can embrace it and recognize the trait in others. I think my younger self shunned it simply because I did not understand it (plus, there was no clear label for it then as there is today). But now that I know what it means, there’s comfort in it and I love being a highly sensitive person.

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