How to Access Your Sensitive Strengths
What messages have you heard about the word “Sensitive” or the term “Highly Sensitive”? Throughout our lives many of us have been told that Sensitivity is a weakness or we have been labeled as fragile, anxious, shy or too emotional as a result of feeling deeply. After hearing these negative views of Sensitivity, it is not surprising that we struggle to accept ourselves and embrace the gifts of having this trait. The truth is that we actually have many Strengths. Our capacity for empathy, creativity and deep thinking makes us incredible partners, employees, innovators and leaders. Being Highly Sensitive is not a weakness, but an asset.
Discover Your Sensitive Strengths
The process of accepting ourselves and discovering our Sensitive Strengths can be difficult at first. We have to fight all those messages that tell us we are less than, which may actually feel true as we struggle to keep up in this loud, fast and overstimulating world. Often we feel behind, lonely or out of place, but as we start to value ourselves and prioritize our needs, the internal narrative starts to shift to more self-acceptance. Let us explore some of the advantages of having the trait of High Sensitivity (otherwise known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity):
- Highly Sensitive People pick up on subtleties that others miss. Noticing little details allows HSPs to be able to anticipate the needs of others, which is a huge asset in relationships and at work.
- Due to vantage sensitivity, HSPs thrive more when in supportive relationships and progress quicker in therapy.
- Even the little moments can bring Sensitive people great joy, as they feel everything deeply and are easily moved.
- HSPs tend to be spiritual and feel deeply connected to nature and animals.
- A tendency to be conscientious and honest leads HSPs to be committed to doing tasks the right way.
- Highly Sensitive People are very caring, empathetic and emotionally responsive towards the needs of others due to more active mirror neurons (the part of the brain responsible for empathy).
- A more active insula in the brain creates heightened perception, insight and intuition allowing the Highly Sensitive Person to notice nonverbal cues and pick up subtle nuances.
- Being creative and introspective with a tendency to have vivid dreams creates a rich inner world for HSPs.
These are just a few of the many Sensitive Strengths that are possible, as every HSP has their own unique collection of gifts. What would you include on your list?
Access Your Sensitive Strengths
When we are overwhelmed and exhausted, being Highly Sensitive feels more like a burden than a gift. You may have thought to yourself that it would be easier to not care as much or process every little detail at length. Perhaps this is true, but we would miss out on all the rich inner and interpersonal experiences that are possible with this trait.
To access your Sensitive Strengths it is important to live a lifestyle suitable for your temperament which may include:
- Unstructured downtime and plenty of sleep everyday.
- Time to process emotions through journaling or talking with someone.
- Ability to set boundaries and say “yes” on our own terms.
- Reduce decision making by creating a weekly routine.
- Mindfulness practices to reduce stress and overwhelm.
- Meaningful connections with loved ones.
- Fulfilling and balanced work.
I encourage you to forget the messages you have heard throughout your life that said Sensitivity is a weakness or a deficit. Being Highly Sensitive is a Strength with many advantages! When you create a lifestyle that is in alignment with your needs these strengths can truly shine through. Although HSPs may move slower, get overwhelmed easily, feel sadness deeply and need more downtime, we also are incredibly creative, skilled at anticipating the needs of others, have profound insights and ideas and are passionately conscientious. The world needs our Sensitivity now more than ever.