Empath vs Highly Sensitive
The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
Have people always told you that you are too sensitive and that you need to “grow a thicker skin” or “toughen up”? Do you sometimes feel like you are constantly being singled out or being picked on by everyone around you? Being overly sensitive doesn’t stop with our emotions… it can also effect our other senses such as our sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and… yes… our sixth sense.
Being highly sensitive can be difficult to deal with. When you realize that you are experiencing things that only a small portion of the world’s population (around 20%) experience, you start to see things differently. Your perception changes. Learning that you sense things that most people do not can be un-nerving. It can make you question yourself and what you are sensing. “Am I crazy?” you ask, desperate to find answers but too afraid to ask for fear of being locked up. Some HSPs become angry and some become relieved. But most, when their eyes are open to this, begin to see what is happening. This is when things start to kick into high gear. You want answers and you want to learn how to control it if you can.
You, my friend, are not alone. As I said before, roughly 20% of the world’s population are highly sensitive. So let’s look at what exactly is going on with the highly sensitive person or HSP.
1. The HSP is very aware of subtleties in the environment. They can sense the energies around them. The energy field of the HSP is hyper-sensitive and their physical body, and mind, is simply more connected to their energy field than most. They can sense the energy of a room, person, group of people, buildings, objects, animals, and plants… the earth as a whole. Highly sensitive people will scan a room before they walk in to determine the energy within it. In my own experiences, when I attend a meeting, I will scan the room and then sit next to a person whose energy is more positive or one that makes me feel safe. So this “scanning” is a trait of highly sensitive people and they don’t realize they are doing it until they begin to learn that they are an HSP and have accepted it. If they sense something that doesn’t feel right, they typically will want to leave as soon as possible or will become nervous or agitated until they can leave the situation. This is a protection mechanism, “survival mode”, if you will. They know, innately, that there is danger and so they want to leave the situation. Others moods can literally cause an HSP’s mood to change as well because of the energy that they are so highly connected to.
2. The HSP usually has a deep inner life. They look within for answers instead of seeking outside help. Now, of course everyone is different and if you were raised to look outside of yourself for help then you will do so but you will feel a struggle with it. They long for a deep inner connection.
3. The HSP tends to get overwhelmed more easily than others. They take in all of their surroundings, with all of their senses on alert so they get overstimulated which causes a reaction within the body. A lot of HSPs have anxiety because of the over-stimulation. Energies can become too intense. When this happens, the HSP tends to become depressed and wants to draw inward or find a secluded area so they can get away from all the stimulants. It can become very difficult to live in an over-stimulated environment and can eventually wreak havoc on their health. Negative stress is the result of too much stimulation.
4. Many HSPs have low self-esteem. This is because we live in a society where being highly sensitive is not valued. They are constantly looked down upon as being weak.
5. Some HSPs steer away from violent or high action movies and TV shows. The intense emotions are just too much for them although I have known some that are not affected. They may have been de-sensitized from this kind of energy.
6. Music and the arts are usually something an HSP enjoys deeply. They can feel the energy used to create music and works of art. Sometimes that is very intense energy and sometimes not.
7. Nature and water usually soothes the HSP. Nature, water especially, calms down the energies and allows them to feel seclusion, protection, and feel as if they are home. Water is an emotion element and is used to wash away or cleanse so being around water, running especially, is a very calming experience for the HSP.
This is not, by any means, the only things an HSP can experience.
So that is the HSP in a nutshell. In Part 3 I want to compare the Empath’s abilities with the HSP’s and determine if they are the same or not. We can then look at how to develop these abilities and start protecting ourselves from the harmful energies we face everyday. Accepting that you have these qualities is the first step. So, what do you think? Do these traits sound familiar to you? Please share your thoughts if you’d like in the comments below.
In Love & Light Always,
Carol ~ Mama Owl