Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSSEpisode 17 of the Highly Sensitive Person Podcast is brought to you by the word sensitive.
A blog reader, Mike Voss, gave me the great suggestion that maybe the moniker Highly Sensitive Person could be changed to something without the word sensitive, because it’s such a loaded word. How about Highly Sensory Person? I like that better.
Actually, the more technical name for the trait HSPs possess is Sensory Processing Sensitivity, or SPS.
In this show, I discuss how the word sensitive might turn off male HSPs and how I denied being HSP at first because I didn’t like the word “sensitive”, either. Oh, did I mention it’s kind of a rant?
Further reading on this blog:
- I’m reminded that most people don’t understand (or respect) high sensitivity
- HSP Podcast #01: What is (and isn’t) a Highly Sensitive Person?
Sign up for the twice-monthly newsletter to be notified of the latest blog posts, podcast episodes, and HSP news.
Do you like the show?
If you enjoy my podcast and blog, if you find it helpful, uplifting, or entertaining, that’s awesome! Would you consider giving just $1 per episode? It would allow me to continue making these shows every week. Check out my Patreon page to see how it works. You can get special rewards, too!
Note: All podcast and blog content is free, as always, I’m just asking for support!
I agree that the term “sensitive” unfortunately contains negative connotations in most cultures. It’s viewed as being synonymous with weakness. I originally perceived it as your senses being easily overwhelmed, but am now much more careful about who I talk to about it. Many times it’s dismissed as some sort of new-age, hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo.
Thank you for your podcast. It brings me a weekly reminder that I’m not nuts. 🙂
I agree that “sensory” would be better-accepted socially. I LOVED hearing the word “sensitive” for the first time, because for so long, I had always thought something was wrong with me. Hearing about HSPs made it real and made it more normal for me knowing that others experienced the same things.
Kelly, this podcast really sums up how I first felt when I heard the term, yet I knew from reading about it that was me to a ‘T’. I’ve been hesitant to tell most people about it because I’ve been afraid they’d think it was a made-up thing to get attention or legitimize what they considered my “faults”, and the word sensitive in the phrase is a large part of that. I like the idea of saying “highly sensory person” instead and think I’ll start saying that, too. Thank you so much for the blog, Facebook posts and podcasts on HSP.
Hi there! I have to agree that the word “sensitive” threw me off at first. If anyone has ever been in a verbally abusive relationship, “you’re just being too sensitive” is probably drilled into your head in a very unhealthy way. This is the abuser’s way of saying that what you feel doesn’t matter, and they can continue their bad behavior since you are the one at fault.
I’m not sure if I’m explaining this very well, but The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricial Evans is a good source of information about what I’m trying to describe.
I really enjoy your podcast. It’s wonderful to hear from someone whose experience of the world is so similar to my own. Thanks for taking the time to spread the word.
Haha I love this! One of the best things about HSPs being not very well known/understood by the masses is that when I decide to explain myself/the traits to my nearest and dearest they have never heard of it and so can’t correct me when I say HSP stands for ‘highly SENSORY’ rather than ‘highly sensitive’.. I occasionally feel bad for misrepresenting something that was clearly so carefully thought-out and planned by the great Ms. Aron.. But not too much. It’s possible that this is exaggerated because I’m English and as a nation we LOATHE and deride over-sensitivity (sorry, but it’s true), and I’ve always found that this expression is a much better description of what we are like. Those who know me would laugh at the idea that my behaviour is supposedly fuelled by ‘sensitivity’ as very often the HSP behaviour (including the defence mechanisms) are often the exact opposite of what most people would consider ‘sensitive’, such as that desperate need to run off for some alone time, regardless of whose birthday/dinner party/special-organised event it may be.
Wow I might start using high sensory person as well. It’s awsome to know I’m not alone. I’ve been told ” you’re to o sensitive and not to connect to another person pain. Is wrong” this podcast series offers me great peace in adjusting thanks so much Kelly and those who’ve posted comments
My wife and I took our kids on a trip to Chicago a few summers back. We visited the Shedd Aquarium, which is quite a busy place. My oldest son (he was 7 at the time) became very hyperactive and irate in an area where there was a lot of noise and activity, and I noticed my irritation level rising as well. Finally, I took him outside and we sat on a quiet bench in front of a beautiful fountain. He started calming down immediately, as did I. Didn’t take long to realize that we were both over-stimulated by all the activity. Most people with “normal” sensory levels wouldn’t be the least bit bothered in such a situation, but we just needed to get away from all the commotion and “slow the train down”, so to speak.
thank you very much for sharing your personal experiences! I am tuning in from Germany. It helps me a lot to hear you talk about HSP and all its different aspects in everyday life. Only two weeks ago I realized that I am HSP. I am still trying to understand it fully and at the same time I am struggling to accept being HSP. Your podcast is a great help!
I was embarrassed to like the page on Facebook. But being on a path of self acceptance (and learning about hsp) this matters to me less and less. I do however prefer sensory because while I am highly sensitive and empathetic I find the essence or root of it all is that how I experience the world is different – sensory wise. As a result I am highly sensitive etc. Thank you so much for your wonderful work and helping us contextualize this often overwhelming and confusing inner world experience.
When my very first boyfriend broke up with me, he said “You’re sensitive all right- in All the Wrong Ways!”… That was the umpteenth time I’d heard someone say I was “too sensitive” but it was one of the most painful. So yeah, I don’t care for the word.
I think it helped that I was already trying to investigate myself with a career coach cause I’ve been noticing that I didn’t quite get myself. So when I saw a book about Highly Sensitive People, I didn’t think it was strange at all or at least it was really the line under the title of the book that said, “How to thrive when the world overwhelms you” that really caught my attention. That word overwhelm is the exact word I use to describe how I feel about things in my life even when I feel like what I’m doing shouldn’t feeling overwhelming based off what other people are doing. If that hadn’t been on the front cover, I doubt I would have even looked at the book or looked into it quite honestly cause as you say the name doesn’t really correctly describe what it is (I also immediately think of people crying extensively over everything and that wouldn’t have been me). I was even a little hesitant about buying the book at first, I was with my brother and some of our friends, so I almost didn’t buy it in fear of being embarrassed. I ended up going back to the store alone to purchase it along with another self-help type book I didn’t want to buy in front of people. But now that I know what it is and see the research behind it, I do feel strongly inclined to tell everyone I know about it.
Though I do think that your podcast is a much easier way for other people to learn about it since not many people are fascinated about the idea of reading an entire book to learn something new the way I am…
Wow I cannot believe there is a concept for this. What’s is this? Too long I’ve wondered what was wrong with me. One thing I’ve noticed about information processing and hsp is how it is impossible to sit tight while learning something. I absolutely cannot commit myself to just listening to a 2 hour lecture. I need to make sure I get EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. It takes me 30 mins to study one slide. I have to make sure I completely get what they’re trying to tell me. Then I have to make connections with other concepts to see a bigger picture of this. So I’ll read a slide and listen to the lecturer talking about that slide, then reading about it on the internet to see how it works in real life (I study accounting/econ) to make sure I get it from each angle, so there are no surprises and everything is making sense. So studying for 30 mins is overload, just overkill – I then freaking procrastinate for like 2h where I need to just listen to music, have some tea – while things are processing in the background. They sometimes surface to the subconsions, if there is an info missing and the puzzles are not connecting, a question just pops up from nowhere, and then you’re even curious, you’ve quickly somehow understood why you are asking yourself that, where you’ve identified the gap, however you were just listening to music and maybe even singing and not conciously being involved in thinking about what you’ve just learnt. Then I find the answer on the web (probs for philosophers it’s hard, at least my question can often be answered by Google). Then I continue with my leisure time, then like all of a sudden I am refreshed and ready, but just for another slide. Oh the joy when there is a slide with pictures (bless), the accomplishment feeling like honey on your soul. Don’t know, maybe I’m crazy