A Blessing and a Curse

Some of you may have heard of a trait that some people have, it’s known as HSP (Highly Sensitive Person.) I have this trait and have had it for most of my life and I can tell you one thing, it is for sure both a blessing and a curse. In some ways being an HSP helps in life and in other ways it makes life a lot more challenging.

I remember being a very sensitive person pretty much my entire life. I am not really sure how I got this way and I never really understood it until I was in college many years ago in a Psychology class and we took a fun quiz on empaths. I remember this day so clearly because I had scored the max possible points, which put me in the category of an HSP. I was the only one in the class that had an empath score so high. The quiz was almost like a personality test. I remember my professor encouraging me to research this topic further…and I did just that. It was then that I understood this trait that had been with me my entire life.

HSP’s have several distinct qualities that can help one recognize being an HSP in themselves, or others. People with the HSP trait are highly in tune with their surroundings. They pick up energy from their environment and from other people. HSP tend to be very deep thinkers and they feel emotions and thoughts very strongly, even sensing them from other people. These individuals require a lot of alone time and down time as they feel like they are always “on.”

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The positives of being an HSP is that it really helps you relate to others. Often HSP’s can know how someone is feeling before they even say anything. Another positive is that it really helps you take in each experience and experience life as a whole, life seems to take on a deeper purpose and meaning. Being an HSP can also facilitate communication as they tend to pick up on what is and what is not being said, they absorb many non-verbal ques from others.

There are definitely downsides to being a Highly Sensitive Person. We often require down time and a quiet environment because being an HSP drains a lot of energy. HSP’s become overwhelmed easily and do not typically do well with a lot going on at one time. Having this trait makes you worry about other’s feelings and analyze more, it also means you feel emotions deeper, both good and bad.

For me, though there are positives, being an HSP is quite exhausting. I often feel overstimulated and exhausted. I wish that I was not so sensitive, it is a battlefield of the mind and heart, but it is part of who I am and I will embrace it. We all have traits about ourselves that we like and don’t particularly like, but we are who we are for a reason and the best solution is to work with what you have and just live the best life that you possibly can!

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Center Stage

Do you ever feel like the whole world has its eyes on you, watching your every move, decisions, and mistakes?  Well, to put it simply, most of the time they don’t.  We are the center of our lives and we are so in tune with ourselves and what is happening to us that we feel like the whole world is just as in tuned to us as we are.  The truth is, everyone is involved in their own lives and is not focusing, or watching us as closely as we perceive them to be.

There is no one that knows us better than ourselves, we know ourselves very deeply.  We know all of our needs, fears, desires, we have lived through all of our past experiences and that has molded us to create beliefs about ourselves, beliefs that we feel other people have about us also. In reality, other people do not see us how we see ourselves, they do not know us on the same deep level.

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How many times were you surprised by the response of others, where you thought they were thinking one way, but it turns out that it was the opposite?  For example, you have just finished giving a presentation at work, you feel like you blew it, like it was a failure, you think of all of the things that you forgot to say, yet when it’s over, you get amazing feedback from your coworkers.  Think of when you got a haircut that you didn’t like, or a minor imperfection that you have that you feel like the whole world notices, think of how many times you have brought those minor imperfections up to people and they respond by saying “Oh, I didn’t even notice until you said something!”  All of these examples show that we are entirely more focused on ourselves than other people are.  

In the world of psychology, there is a concept known as The Spotlight Effect, it basically states that we feel like we are being watched and observed far more than is actually happening.  I know that as a teenager I felt like I was always in the spotlight, always being observed and judged, but so did others of my age.  I still feel this way sometimes now as an adult, but I am so much more relaxed and I try to live life for me and not worry what others are thinking or saying about me.

I hope that this post has helped you in some way and that it reminds you to live your own life freely, be 100% you, and do what you love.  You are at the center stage of your own life and your audience couldn’t see you in a more brighter light!

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Distortions

We see everything in life clearly, or do we?  There is so much to see in this world and some of it cannot be seen with the naked eye, but even what we do see is not always how it appears.  How many times in your life have you been so certain that a particular person was a certain way and they ended up being the exact opposite, or a situation that you thought took place one way, actually unfolded in a completely different way?  Looks are very deceiving, things are definitely not always how they appear.

If you really stop and think about it, this topic could drive you crazy.  We see someone, or see things one way, but they are actually another.  Much of what causes us to see life distorted are our past experiences.  We know that x,y, and z turned out a certain way in the past, therefore we think it will turn out the same way again.  We can sometimes get caught up in assumptions, I know I do this, I assume things are a certain way just based off of how they appear, definitely something that I continue to work on because this mindset is not very helpful!

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Another aspect that creates distortions in our lives are our own fears and anxieties.  We all have things in life that make us uncomfortable at some point or another.  I’m sure that we have all felt like someone didn’t like us, or that the world was against us.  Picture this, you met someone new, they are quiet and don’t really want to engage in conversation with you.  Different people will have a different response to this, some will figure that the individual is just shy or reserved and needs time to become comfortable, others might think that the individual doesn’t like them, or doesn’t enjoy their company, they may wonder what they have done wrong.  What about when your boss e-mails you and wants to set up a meeting, some may just take this gesture as a normal part of business, where other people may worry that they are in trouble, or about to be given bad news.  We can see how our mind can cause us to see people and situations in a distorted way.

We can easily create a lot of unneeded stress in our lives by not seeing a person for who they are, or a situation for what it is.  It’s hard not to do, I struggle with this myself, but it is helpful for us to remember that things are not always as they seem.  

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