Sensitivity Doesn’t Make You Weak: 5 HSP Strengths

by | Jan 2, 2023 | Anxiety, Counseling, Highly Sensitive People (HSP), Self-Esteem, Stress

Sensitivity Doesn’t Make You Weak: 5 HSP Strengths

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Do you ever feel you have to hide your emotions and sensitivity to fit in and avoid judgment? Perhaps you have been told that your sensitivity is a weakness, or that strong people put their emotional responses aside in order to thrive in life.

It’s time to challenge the myth that sensitivity is a flaw, and start to see the many positives of being a highly sensitive person (HSP). Let’s learn about the many strengths of being a HSP so we can stop viewing sensitivity as a liability, and instead perceive it as the valuable asset it truly is! 

What Does it Mean to be a HSP?

A “highly sensitive person,” often referred to by the acronym, “HSP,” can be described as someone who has an easily triggered nervous system [1]. This means that they are more easily affected by their environment, both positively and negatively. Although HSPs tend to be more aware of the details of their surroundings, they may also be more easily overwhelmed or overstimulated by loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells. Additionally, they may be more prone to anxiety or stress in certain situations, especially if there is conflict present. 

It is important to recognize that sensitivity is a trait that is found in basically all individuals. HSPs simply have higher levels of sensitivity to more stimuli than is typical. However, not all HSPs will feel sensitive regarding the same stimuli. It differs from person to person, just like other emotions do. 

There are several ways to determine if you are a HSP. The most common way of determining if you are a HSP is by assessing if your personality and behaviors fit into the common characteristics of a HSP (list adapted from Dr. Elaine Aron): 

  1. You are easily overwhelmed by “strong” stimuli, such as loud noises, pungent smells, or bright lights (i.e: music concerts, dance-floors, perfume stores, crowds, etc.)
  2. You are deeply moved by art, music, and/or nature. 
  3. You find yourself to be highly empathetic and easily affected by the emotions and moods of others. 
  4. You have a complex inner life, meaning you spend a lot of time analyzing your thoughts and being self-aware. 
  5. You have a keen awareness of details in your environment, such as changes in mood or atmosphere. 
  6. You have tendencies to be perfectionistic and may be extra sensitive to criticism. 
  7. You have a low tolerance for conflict or disorder. 

If any of these characteristics sound like you, you may be a highly sensitive person. However, it is vital to note that everyone is different, and just because you exhibit some of these traits does not automatically mean you are a HSP. If you are concerned with your level of sensitivity, it may be beneficial to speak to a mental health professional for more guidance

5 Strengths of Being a HSP: 

Although many HSPs run into hardships regarding their sensitivity to their surroundings or judgment from others who don’t understand their traits, many positive traits come naturally to HSPs: 

1. Attention to Detail: HSPs often have an extra detail-oriented awareness of their environment. This means that they may be able to pick up on subtle nuances that others will likely miss. Not only does this make them valuable team members in fields that require close attention to detail, but it also likely makes them caring and attentive friends. Paying attention to small details in relationships shows others that you are invested in and care about the relationship. 

2. Creativity: There is a correlation between being a HSP and having a creative and open-minded personality. This is because of their rich inner life—their minds are almost always analyzing their surroundings, which makes them likely to have the ability to think of new ideas easily and think outside the box. 

3. Empathy: HSPs tend to have a strong ability to understand and connect with the emotions of others. They often exhibit high levels of compassion and selflessness. This can make them excellent at building strong relationships rooted in love and emotional support. It’s no wonder why the careers HSPs thrive in include social work, guidance counseling, and occupational therapy!

4. Deep-Thinking Abilities: Because HSPs tend to be highly introspective, they have a natural tendency to think deeply about issues and theories. This can make them effective problem-solvers and strategic thinkers, likely thriving in situations where assessing multiple viewpoints and possibilities is valued. 

5. Appreciation for Aesthetics: HSPs often naturally have a love for beauty and the arts. This can help bring joy and meaning into their lives from sources other than the given (family, friends, career, etc). For example, a walk in nature or a flip-through of a photography book may bring a HSP more joy and inspiration than it would the average individual. 

As a HSP, you possess a unique set of skills that differentiate you from the rest. Your sensitivity allows you to connect with yourself and others on a deep level, making you a natural caregiver and confidant. Your attention to detail is unmatched, allowing you to spot mistakes before they even occur and ensure that everything you touch is carefully crafted. Your creativity knows no bounds, allowing you to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. And, your appreciation for beauty and art enriches your life, as well as the lives of those around you. 

Remember your strengths whenever you feel down about your sensitivity, or when experiencing judgment from your less-sensitive peers. And, if you are facing difficulties understanding your highly sensitive personality, check out this workbook. Embrace being an HSP—it’s one of your greatest strengths! 

To discuss how therapy could help you during this season of your life, please contact me or schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

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