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Why Am I sensitive? - A Little Help for Highly Sensitive People

Updated on May 23, 2013

"The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly." ~ William Wordsworth


Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?

Why Am I Sensitive? An Introduction

"Why am I sensitive ALL the time?" It's a question I have posed to myself on many an occasion, especially those occasions following yet more embarrassment and shame brought on by my seemingly boundless sensitivity.

Don't you get tired of hearing this?:

"Stop being so sensitive!"

"Stop overeacting!"

"Why are you so sensitive?"

"You need to learn to be less sensitive."

This list could go on and on in an endless repetition of similar urgings, however, I'm sure you have nodded enough already!

Dealing With Being Sensitive

The denial is usually the first thing to set in once one realizes he is 'different.' In my case, I spent a chunk of my teenage years denying it and attempting to fit in as best I could, but the truth was never far from view, just on the periphery, always lurking and threatening to appear. Social interaction was where I struggled and is where I am sure all sensitive people struggle, due to our innate ability to take everything personally and bear a grudge against the whole world. I blamed and denied. That was how I dealt with it. How do you deal with your heightened sensitivity?

Why Am I Sensitive? - The Answer Finally Revealed

I finally discovered the answer to that question but it wasn't until I was well into my twenties. Not too late, it's never too late! I learned that being sensitive is a good thing, in fact, it's a wonderful thing which if used wisely can bring about love, healing, understanding, warmth and happiness in quantities most can only dream of.

Here's a nice quote to whet your appetite before you move onto my answer:

"An alert and active nervous system, therefore, is the greatest gift of Nature, for it is through the nerves that we experience all the pleasures that make life worth living. To be dull-nerved means to be mentally and physically dull - insensitive to the higher phases of life, incapable of deep emotion, love, and force of character..." ~Paul Bragg

Your Sensitivity Is a Gift - Embrace it and the Door to Life Will Open to You

The gift of heightened sensibility
The gift of heightened sensibility | Source

10 Great Things about Being A highly Sensitive Person

  1. Hsp's have an incredibly powerful and attuned intuition.

  2. Are more aware of their surroundings as a result of more highly attuned senses.

  3. Are great partners due to their ability to sense emotions in others.

  4. React physically faster than non-sensitive people as a result of heightened senses.

  5. Are extremely creative and imaginative.

  6. Experience slightly more physical pleasure.

  7. Are kind and have great empathy with others.

  8. Are deep thinkers and can predict what the future will bring by piecing together the subtleties of a circumstance.

  9. Make great teachers and psychotherapists/counselors.

  10. Waterfalls, ponds, rivers, streams and even rain bring a great sense of comfort.




Am I sensitive? Perhaps so. You may be a HSP (highly sensitive person)

Why am I Sensitive? The Highly Sensitive Person Test

Before we can go any further, I suggest you take a quick detour to the highly sensitive person test by Doctor Elaine N. Aron, so you can see whether you really are a HSP or not. The test will only take a minute and the truth will be revealed to you.


You are A Highly Sensitive Person

Welcome back. There is a wealth of information across the net and in various books in the self-help section in bookstores today where you could easily find more information on this gift you have. However, I would like to share my point of view with you. That is, the point of view of a fellow HSP who has struggled to find a position in life just as you no doubt have. Here goes. I'll make it as quick and painless as possible ... I promise!

Yes, I am Sensitive and Proud of It!

Why am I sensitive? It is because I am a HSP (highly sensitive person). For a very long time, HSPs were lumped into the same bracket as introverts, shy people or those suffering from social anxiety. There are similarities, yes, but highly sensitive people are actually a breed all of their own. They are NOT shy.

A New Breed Discovered - The Highly Sensitive Person

In 1991 Dr. Elaine Aron, a HSP herself, began researching high sensitivity in animals and humans and discovered something fascinating. She found that in each species of animal including humans, 15-20% were highly sensitive. It is thought that the reason for this is that these more sensitive animals are able to warn their less sensitive brothers and sisters in times of danger, or when subtle changes have occurred in the environment. So it isn't just some weirdly random curse then. It is a bonafide set of extra-sensory powers that are there for a reason, to help others and to keep our species safe from harm! Great news.

Am I sensitive? Yes, and I am proud to be a HSP!

A gift only 15-20% of us receive.
A gift only 15-20% of us receive. | Source

A Final Word on Being Sensitive

Although it can be hard dealing with the extra-sensory-input our highly sensitive nervous system soaks up, we are here for a reason and we do have a job to do. Among animals, this trait is still useful for warning of impending danger and shifts in the earth's natural cycle etc but among humans this trait can be so much more than that. In fact, I think it surely is meant for so much more than just being more aware of danger.

Highly Sensitive People and Our Job on This Planet

After spending most of my life wishing I was like everyone else, I have finally accepted what I am and what I am here to do. As highly sensitive people we have the gift of foresight, empathy, intuition, swifter reaction-time and creativity. We are designed this way by mother nature.

Use your gift to help those who aren't as sensitive as you. Don't hide away anymore.Your ability to sense others emotions and needs is a chance for you to connect with and help the other 80% who aren't highly sensitive. Become a teacher, a counselor or even just a more open person and embrace your gift of sensitivity. In the meantime, enjoy the heightened pleasure you gain from this trait, the touch of the sun, the feel of a lover's embrace, your favorite song and how it sends shivers across your skin. A wonderful gift.

I didn't mention anything negative because the negative aspects of this trait really are negligible when compared to the positive. You ARE sensitive. It is a good thing. Learn to see it that way. At first it won't come easy. It didn't for me. In time though, you'll see that it is a magical gift you are in possession of. Learn all you can about it and embrace it.

Enjoy it. I am.

Why am I sensitive? Because I am HSP and proud to be!

Embrace your gift of heightened sensibility and use it to make this world a better place, one filled with love, light and laughter. Never be ashamed or feel unworthy because you 'feel' more deeply and 'hurt' more easily. You have a special place on Earth. You are a guide, a healer, a teacher and a prophet all rolled into one.

Soothe Your Senses With the Right Music

Are you sensitive? How do you deal with it?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      How being a HSP can be good? You are made to believe it's good? For a very long time I'd to hear from my friends and acquaintances. She overreacts so much and more often feels too much. Let it go. Most of the time I'm not able to do my work or focus just cause I'm so overwhelmed by the person or people who hurted me to deepest .. cries too often..It's more like I'm being a fool for not letting silly stuffs and people go.. I hang around with a broody face all day everyday.. so how is it helpful being HSP?

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      4 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      You are most welcome Eliza, Mathilda and Londiwe.

      It is indeed a wonderful thing to be a HSP. :)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thank you for standing up for HSP.It has taken me a long time to accept that I am indeed an HSP because of the negative connotations it was associated with for me I.e you're so sensitive, lighten up, what's wrong NOW, get over it, etc etc .I always believed that I must be really bad and depressed.Ha, but then those same people wanted to be like me! I am sensitive, bright, creative, funny and by the way I am also an introvert.I am not shy .I am quite gregarious with my kind of people .Well, thank you for your post

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thank you, your article seriously helped me soo much!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for helping me to see things in a dienrefft light.

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hey there!

      After reading your comment, you certainly do sound like a HSP. You are not alone in all that. I too, even as a 34 year old man, 20 years your senior, still suffer from those problems.

      Sensitivity never goes away but it does get easier to handle as you get older.

      You'll be fine. Oh and by the way, apparently, the HSP gene is passed on by females though you might have to check that.

      Thanks and take care.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm not site if I'm really a HSP or not. I did the test thing and it sai I was but I don't believe it. Yes I do get scared/startled easily, other people's moods can affect me, i have a very low tolerance for pain, if someone is watching me while I'm doing something I will do a lot worse, I take things too seriously, I take things to heart, people have said when that happened to not take it to heart/it's only a joke. I can't stand loud noises. I hate an don't like scary movies/gore. There is some more things. I'm 14. I don't know who I could have inherited it from, or where I could have gotten it.

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand


      That's a great idea and I think you're going about it the right way. Proactive and actively seeking ways to deal with your sensitivity without letting it bring you down.

      Here here! Good on you.

      Take care and keep rating your feelings.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you! As a teen, I find it very had to be in a busy environment (think Bat mitzvahs, parties, and horror movies) I repededly tell myself to be less sensitive, but I just can't control it. I keep a journal and on random times a day, I write down a number from one to ten to rate my feelings. It has been helping me figure out what I need to do to fix my emotions a little bit. I may need to exersise more, or just be creative.

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      7 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hello, Annachia,

      Yesr doctor is right, looking on the bright side of our 'gift' is the answer to living comfotably as a HSP.

      You know, there are many of us. Have you seen the groups on facebook for highly sensitive people? I am a member of some of them myself in fact I even have page for sensitive people.

      No, we are not shy, we are simply sensitive.

      Thanks for stopping over and I will see you soon.


    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      7 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hey again rdsparrowriter,

      I agree, water is a wonderful thing for HSPs. It's sad that people feel the need to take advantage of our kindness.

      It's question I have always pondered: Why is it that kindness is viewed as weakness? Doesn't it make sense that a world where people are kind and loving would be far more progressive than a world in which it is a requirement to be selfish?

      A challenging conundrum indeed!!

      Thanks for your kind words my friend.

      See you soon.


    • AnnaCia profile image


      8 years ago

      Another person who is like me….what a relieve! Interesting, and even more when I put it together with a PTSD diagnosis and the anxieties when dealing with other people, the environment, events, etc. Few months ago my psychiatrist says to me, "look at the positive side of your conditions; you are artistic and loves nature; you care for others and even suffer others' pain. You are just one of the few very sensitive people. Embrace it". I learned that the only thing to worry about has to do with acceptance (we are part of a unique group of human beings), and knowledge on how to control the flow of extra sensory input and how we react to it. Oh! No , I am not shy, never was and never will. Thanks for the great hub. Voted up.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      8 years ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      I really enjoy reading your hubs and the insight you are sharing with everyone. It's great! I do love to spend time at the beach and where water is.. I find it so comforting and relaxed. Sometimes because of your sensitiveness, some people try to take advantage of you through empathy. Maybe even control you emotionally.. then of course it's a weakness.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you so much, I have often been told I'm "Too emotional", or "Too sensitive" etc. I'm glad I've found out why. I'm just 17 though, so I have no idea as to what exactly lies in store, and whether or not now that I know this it will help me.

      Tell me this:

      Forget about the teenage 'symptoms', Is it normal to dislike your appearance at times, you're attitude, you're works (I write) etc? Basically hate the world randomly?

      Once again, I can't tell you how much this has helped me :)



    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      8 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hey Lolaooo!

      What I mean by that sentiment is that in my experience as a HSP what is as you say a 'neurological sensitivity' in the end, becomes a personality trait. Or at least it has an effect on the personality and the habits therein.

      Most HSPs, as a result of being misunderstood for so long and having been confused, in the dark for their entire lives tend to take things personally. It's because we 'feel' so deeply and subsequently dwell on everything from supposedly harmless comments to unpleasant experiences and we blame those things for our predicament. Really, the answer is to explore our Sensitivity and accept it as a part of us, thereby allowing us to enjoy it and find happiness as a HSP.

      Thanks for commenting. :)


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      " due to our innate ability to take everything personally and bear a grudge against the whole world"

      I thought HSP was about neurological sensitivity ?

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      8 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hello, Annieshealthtalk!

      Sorry I took so long replying. Took a break to let my system recharge.

      Yes, you and me both. I also believed something was mentally wrong with me until I discovered the HSP trait obviously inherent in me and gifted to me by my mother who shares this intriguing trait.

      Misunderstood, it can be a lonely and confusing journey as a HSP, understood, light suddenly floods through the darkness and illuminates our past, present and future!

      Thanks for dropping by Annie.


    • AnniesHealthTalk profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Hello from a fellow HSP!

      I've almost begun to accept the fact that I'm a very sensitive person. I used to think that something was wrong with me, and I often let other people make me feel that way too. But I think sensitive people notice, appreciate, and enjoy smaller things in life much more than other people.

      This is a great hub. Voted up!

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      8 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hello Denmark guy and thanks for such a meaningful comment.

      Yes, we are looked down on in western culture, and ridiculed for our supposed weakness.

      It's not all bad though because it makes us stronger and increases our adaptability.

      I agree, pretending to be something other than we really are is not the way. Acceptance of our trait is the answer.

      Peace. :)

    • Denmarkguy profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 

      8 years ago from Port Townsend

      Nice article!

      You're exactly right, sensitivity IS an asset to others, and there are many ways in which we are stronger than others in the world. The sad thing is that much of western culture treats sensitivity as a "weakness," so we have to work a little bit harder to bring our gifts to the world.

      The journey of discovery-- as an HSP-- is often long... and can include periods (it did for me) where we are thinking "NO! I do NOT want this to be true about me, so I am just going to ignore it." But pretending to be something (or not be, as the case might be) we're not is not good for our mental health.

      Good for you for finding your voice!

    • Richawriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard J ONeill 

      8 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Thank you for your kind words monica.

      As HSP's we have a job to do here and as you say, our sensitivity is a great asset to others.

      I'm so glad to have reached this point of appreciating this trait after having wished it away for so long.

      It's great to be a HSP!


    • monicaortegamon profile image

      Monica Ortega 

      8 years ago from Uncasville, Connecticut

      Hi, Richawriter, thank you for your article and can relate to it. HSP is huge. Part of who I am but am learning more and more. This part of self is becoming morely strong suited. In not only helping myself but also being so sensitive is also a great asset in helping other's. This article is fantastic! It is very insightful. I think I have taken much in. Keep writing. I would love to read more of your work, Monica


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