Highly sensitive @andreargilb

By Andrea Gilbert

So I’m guessing some people are familiar with the term HSP. It means highly sensitive person. Now, for those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, let me explain what it is (although there is an amazing TED talk about it here: that will do a way better job at explaining it than me). Basically, it’s just a personality trait which 15 to 20% of the population has; it means that your emotions are heightened, good or bad. It means you see the world in a bit of a different way and your senses are quite… Well sensitive.

I found out that I am an HSP about a year ago, although I’d known all my life that I feel things more intensely than some people around me but I didn’t know that it was “a thing” I just thought that was the way I am, and actually, I was right, it is the way I am. That’s why it didn’t surprise me when I took the test (yep there’s a test). It’s actually very common for people who follow a creative path to be HSP; most innovators (such as Einstein if I am not mistaken) were also highly sensitive. I feel like it’s a taboo though and I get it, who wants to admit that they are “highly sensitive”? Unfortunately, we live in quite a “stiff upper lip society” in which displaying your feelings, or expressing their intensity, is a sign of weakness. That’s what pisses me off; being sensitive is understood as being vulnerable and weak. But if you read the Book “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown you’ll actually see that the best things can come from being vulnerable. And sensitivity isn’t a bad thing. I actually really enjoy it, and I’m not ashamed of it anymore, however, I did hide it for a long time. And I still don’t really talk about it because the truth is – it’s not that important. It’s just who I am, who I’ve always been. Knowing that I am HSP just explained a lot of things for me but it didn’t change who I am.

In the TED talk I shared in the beginning, Elena Herdieckerhoff shares that when saying about yourself that you’re an HSP makes people think that you are part of the “special snowflake society” and she puts it totally right when she says it’s NOT the case (again, watch the talk it explains it much better than me). I don’t feel more special than anyone, I’m just me. And we’re all special in our own kind of way right?

The only thing I would say is, indeed, I have to be more careful sometimes, I have to be mindful about how my mind works and take steps back every now and then to remind myself “it’s not that big of a deal” and I think I’m getting better and better at it (yoga and meditation helps a lot). Being attentive can be quite hard as well sometimes; I’ll often drift off, kind of like JD in scrubs (if you think about it, it’s quite hilarious and a lot of fun actually).

So the point of this scab is to talk to my fellow HSPs. Basically to tell them to embrace this character trait. Because that’s all it is, it’s not a mental condition or whatever, it’s just your personality, and if you ask me, it’s a pretty cool one at that. And once again, it’s NOT a big deal, you do you.

Andrea Gilbert

Here are the things I enjoy the most about being HSP. Firstly, my friends, I love them so hard and when I’m feeling down the smallest things they say will make me instantly cheer up. Secondly (although I’m still learning to listen to it) I have a badass intuition… I’m mean, I have been completely wrong at times but hey, and I’m only human. Also, I know myself, my thoughts are quite loud so there is no way to shove them aside and ignore them, basically, denial ain’t for me, and I think that’s a great thing because the more you listen to yourself the better right? Finally, the little things life, they energize you and uplift you and it really doesn’t take much to get me super happy and excited.

That being said, I’m not saying that all of these traits only apply to HSPs, of course not, and I’m not saying that all HSPs have these traits either. There is a wide spectrum of human personalities and in that spectrum, there’s also a very wide spectrum of HSPs. What’s wonderful about being human is we all have a unique variety of things that make us who we are whether you’re highly sensitive or not.

Andrea Gilbert

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