Have you ever said to yourself:
I’m tired of being hurt and let down by other people. How can I be less sensitive?
Maybe you feel like you give a lot to other people but they don’t return your thoughtfulness. You care so much, but others don’t notice. You can’t trust many people because they will inevitably hurt you or let you down. Your empathy weighs heavily on you. It’s all so tiring. How can you deal?
Here are some strategies that may help you cope.
- Remember, you are the only one who can make you happy. Think about the way you talk to yourself in your head. Are you nice? Or are you critical and unforgiving? Would you talk to other people the way you talk to yourself? Be gentle. Give yourself a break. Being compassionate and empathetic to the world comes naturally; we have to train ourselves to use that same compassion to ourselves.
- Identify the things that drain you and avoid them (within reason.) Maybe you are drained by watching violent or emotional TV shows or movies, being around certain people, hot/cold weather, incessant noise, bright lights, whatever. Figure out what reduces your energy and find a way to lessen the amount of time you spend doing it.
- Identify the things that energize you and DO THEM regularly. Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, running, volunteering, reading, writing, or spending time with pets or human friends. Acknowledge the healing power of these activities and don’t neglect spending time doing things you enjoy.
- Set boundaries. Sensitive people often have a hard time saying “no”. Don’t let people suck your energy dry. Realize it’s ok to say “no” or let things go.
- Don’t impose your expectations on others. We’re human; sometimes we let each other down and hurt each other. Realize that while you may be highly perceptive and considerate, you can’t expect everyone to be that way. And that’s ok. Learn to enjoy your own journey and don’t expect others to understand or even be able to share in the way you experience the world.
- Talk to another sensitive friend or family member. It helps a lot to have someone who understands.
- When you are down, consciously choose to focus on things that lift you up. Remember moments when your happiness is amplified: finding a perfect flower in a garden, listening to the rain, playing with a dog, or making others happy. When you are feeling hurt and down, don’t retreat to a dark room to ruminate alone. Consciously make the choice to do something that will raise your mood. Step outside into the sun and take a walk. Watch a movie that always makes you laugh. Play with your dog.
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photo credit: ecstaticist via photopin cc
Being a HSP can be so painful and isolating at times.
It is hard, and sometimes I wish I did not have this trait. But what we have is an opportunity for personal growth.
Thank you for this article! Being an HSP can be so incredibly challenging, especially when I only recently have realized I had this trait. Before then, I had just gone through my 21 years of life feeling like there was something utterly wrong with me, and being judged for appearing a little different to other people.
I would love to connect with other HSP’s like myself… anyone have ideas on how someone could go about this? Maybe there are blog spots or something where they can chat?
Hi Jess! There is a great online HSP community at The Haven. It is currently closed right now, but make sure you’re subscribe to my email list because I will let everyone know when it’s open again in April! My friend Andy runs it, and it is wonderful!
Hey , I’m a hsp too and I have too realized that ,recently after my 21st bday . It would be really helpful and fun to connect with other hsp’s.✌
Being a HSP for me is draining all the time…
I sometimes wish I wasn’t an HSP too, but I can’t do anything to change my basic makeup, so I try my best to focus on what I love about it. For me, it’s being artistic. I sing, write songs, record and perform. Expressing myself through music brings me a lot of joy, and I know that if I weren’t an HSP, I wouldn’t sing the way I do, nor write the songs I write. I also feel that we’re truly needed on this planet, because of how deeply we feel and care. Being able to read articles and comments from other HSPs helps a lot too 🙂
What an uplifting comment!! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for the appreciative comment Kelly 🙂 HSPs are such good, kind people! I’ve thought about starting up an HSP “Meetup” group in my small city – a weekly gathering to get together, talk, share our experiences, etc… We could change it up week to week, with different topics or activities that HSPs might enjoy. I think it would be a really positive experience, being around a group of fellow HSPs every week 🙂
You should! I just attended my first HSP meetup two weeks ago at an existing group in my city. I have to say, it was incredibly INTENSE and I had a hard time holding my emotions together when sitting in such close proximity with strangers sharing their deep feelings. It was very good, but challenging for me. (If you DO start a meetup, there are often coupon codes to get the membership half off 🙂 )
Dear Brady, I’ve only come accross this information on HSP this week and listening to Elaine Aron on You Tube has been so soothing and reassuring- reading your post here was surreal as its exactly the words I would have written- I write & sing too & realise that’s one of the plus points- but I’m only just understanding how I need to shield myself and there’s a lot to process with this new information. Interestingly it was another musician friend who posted the link on Facebook that brought this to my attention. Did you set up a group? How’s it going? Do you think most musicians are HSP? Hope all’ swell with you 🙂
I meant all’s well! Spell corrector keeps changing it!
I would love to attend a meetup for HSP. I wish their was one already set up in New York city. The opportunity to circle around with other HSP and share ideas, thoughts and feelings must be so powerful. It would make me feel like Im really not the only person in the world and how to embrace the unique qualities that I have that often get misinterpreted and hidden by others. Please tell me if anyone is in the NYC area and would like to start a meetup group with me! 🙂
Thank you for your amazing insights into being a highly sensitive person! Love, love, love it. I have put together an online class in Empowered Sensitivity and would love to hear what you think about it.
I find forums like these an IDEAL way to be in touch with other HSPs without the “overload” of face-to-face meetings. In my situation, both my husband and I are HSPs. He is particularly noise-sensitive, while I am very emotional and cannot watch read/listen to anything too stimulating. I love sharing our experiences together in this site, glad to hear about others’ experiences.
Hi, I am new to this HSP,
All my life I have been wrestling with trying to understand myself and my feelings,
I am highly creative and compassionate women who just falls aperture all the time, and not knowing why.
Thank you, for helping me to understand me.
I am so glad it was helpful to you, Lizzy! 🙂
I ment to say, apart all the time, and now I hope I don’t go away feeling stupid. Lol !
Hello HSP’s~ I am always looking for others like myself, and it would, especially now when I’m feeling a bit lost, be so lovely to find others where I am. Does anyone know if there is a map of sorts, listing HSP groups/gatherings across the U.S (and beyond)? If not, wouldn’t it be so nice to have one? Not unlike a Google Map site, which shows any specific business or entity, and allows one to zoom in to a given area to learn more about them. Prithee, Web Geeks?
Try this! http://highlysensitiveperson.net/meeting-highly-sensitive-people-introverts/
So happy to find this blog…This is truly amazing to find an HSP who knows how this feels. The added bonus is this community. I am floored! Thanks so much Kelly!
What works for me:
1. tea (twice a day! caf in the morning and decaf in the eve)
2. hot baths or showers (instant comfort)
3. stretching or yoga postures
4. surrounding myself with positive, low-key people because energy is contagious! (this is most important to me)
5. eating healthy and drinking water. (dehydration and hunger is the worse feeling)
6. taking time to do that calming activity whatever it may be…the more mindless, the better! (drawing, reading, calming music, hiking, being in the sun…..)
Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s always iffy to take on a “diagnosis” because it can start to grow on you and confine you, but in this case, it can help steer and encourage.
I think it’s not for nothing so many more people are identifying as HS— the world needs more Heart! And with Heart, there must be Strength to carry it forth!
This just makes me feel better about myself. I had always felt different from others ,like way different and after finding out that I “do” belong somewhere feels like I’m acknowledged. Sometimes it sucks but it also makes me feel special for my abilities.
Wow I for the first time understand some of my behavior. Look forward to learning skills to function from others who understand.