Have you been told you’re “too sensitive”? Do you tend to think about things more than most people? Worry more about what people will think or feel about something? You you regularly seek out quiet environments in order to think?
If so, you might be a highly sensitive person. This term or personality trait is relatively common, with almost 20% of the population being regarded as highly sensitive. It could be a synonym for being introverted, and brings more attention to the fact that not everyone enjoys a highly stimulating work and home environment.
Here are a few traits of the highly sensitive person that might make being introverted a good thing in the eyes of our more extroverted acquaintances.
They feel deeply, more deeply than less-sensitive people. This makes them more intuitive because they go further inside themselves to figure things out. This ability to feel more deeply makes them more empathetic to the needs of others, especially when someone else is facing a bad situation.
In our culture, being sensitive is considered a negative trait, and those who are highly sensitive have likely been told to not take things so personally. In other countries, being highly sensitive is a much valued personality trait.
Most highly sensitive people prefer more solitary activities. They like to go to the gym when it isn’t busy, they prefer to do their exercises alone. They’re more likely to watch a game of beach volleyball than to join in.
Most decisions take a long time for a highly sensitive person. My older daughter used to take forever to decide between strawberry and vanilla ice cream and would often defer to me, “Which one should I choose?” I usually gave the decision right back to her, even though her less sensitive sister had chosen five minutes ago and was almost done with her ice cream. Highly sensitive people make very carefully considered decisions, weighing every possible outcome. I’m glad I didn’t start making decisions for my daughter when she was young. She has developed into a very highly sensitive person and her experiences while young gave her the courage to be that way.
A surprising fact to note is that not all highly sensitive people are introverts. Approximately 30% of them are considered extroverts. They usually grew up in a smaller community or participated in regular activities with their parents, like church, where they learned early to interact with a lot of people.
One very interesting fact about highly sensitive people is that they don’t enjoy violent movies or horror films. Because they have so much empathy for others, they find themselves to be over stimulated at such movies. They will often cover their eyes for a good portion of the movie.
Being highly sensitive is not a bad thing, it is just different. If you find you are raising a child who is highly sensitive, try to provide a nurturing environment for them to fully explore this intriguing aspect to their personality.