Being a Highly Sensitive Person Doesn’t Make You Weak

A highly sensitive person lying in a field of flowers

When you feel down about your sensitivity, choose to see the awesome strengths that come with this trait.

A lot of people throughout my life have called highly sensitive people (HSPs) “weak” or “too emotional.” They assume that being sensitive means getting offended easily, crying a lot, and having emotional outbursts. They see it as a negative burden rather than a positive gift. 

According to psychologist Elaine Aron, who coined the term highly sensitive person in the 1990s, sensitive people display “increased emotional sensitivity, stronger reactivity to both external and internal stimuli — pain, hunger, light, and noise — and a complex inner life.” Sometimes these sensitivities create challenges in an HSP’s life, but there are many positive aspects, as well, that may go unnoticed. Focusing on the positives will allow you to appreciate your gift as a sensitive person.

So instead of thinking you are weak, let’s look at some of the strengths that sensitive people possess.

4 Empowering Strengths of Highly Sensitive People 

1. You are naturally intuitive and introspective.

As sensitive people, we tend to be highly aware of our own emotions and exceptionally intuitive. We have a rich inner life, full of probing thoughts and vibrant daydreams, that less sensitive people may not even be able to imagine. It’s easy for us to connect to our thoughts and feelings, and therefore, we are more in touch with our own values and desires. We are usually more aware of who we are and what we want to do with our lives because we set aside time for mindful introspection. 

Some questions to ask yourself when practicing introspection could be, “Who am I?”, “What do I want in life?”, and “What are my beliefs?” Pay attention to the instinctual responses that come to mind after asking yourself these questions. Taking this time for introspection will help you understand yourself better and become more confident in yourself overall. And, chances are, the more you listen, the more your HSP intuition will guide you in the right direction.

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2. You are resilient — you bounce back from challenges and become even stronger.

I’ve experienced a lot of traumatic events in my life, yet I have always made it through them and have come out stronger. For example, I struggled with anxiety and depression between the ages of 12 to 14 due to bullying when I was in school. 

Now that I’ve used my powers as a sensitive person to reflect on the situation, I’ve learned that bullying is almost always caused by the bully’s low self-esteem. I realized that the target that was put on me didn’t actually have to do with me at all. Rather, I was a distraction to someone else’s seemingly miserable life. 

Also, when I was 15, I had a miscarriage. I am not ashamed to say that I was a pregnant teenager. Becoming pregnant at such a young age taught me about the fragility of life and what motherly love could feel like. I loved my baby from the moment I found out that I was pregnant; when I lost my baby, I considered it my first heartbreak. 

After my miscarriage, I had a taste of what motherhood could bring to my life, and I began to dream about being a mother again. I knew after that difficult part of my life that I wanted to be a mom more than anything. I knew that I had to push myself to keep going so I could eventually reach my goals. 

For us sensitive people, resilience is a gift that keeps us going when life is hard. When we go through difficult times and are overwhelmed by our strong emotions, that is when we truly gain the wisdom that molds us to be who we are. Deep thinking is the key to this resilience and allows us to learn from our mistakes and process what happened after a traumatic event. 

3. Your strong empathy lets you spread kindness to others.

In high school, I was often required to do presentations in front of the class, and as an introvert, public speaking was not my strong suit. When a classmate was extremely nervous and stuttering because of anxiety, I could physically feel their nervousness in my own body, because I am a sensitive person. I would smile at them and try to reassure them in any way that it was okay and I wasn’t judging them like some of the other students were.

Other people’s emotions easily rub off on HSPs, and it can seem impossible for us not to feel their intense emotions when we are near them. This is where our empathy comes into play. We feel and absorb others’ emotions; and since we know how deeply emotions affect us, it may make us want to do anything in our power to help others overcome whatever they’re going through. This increased empathy tends to make us kind, compassionate, and understanding.

Now, when I see new mothers, it really activates my empathy. When I had my daughter, I had no idea what my life would be like after having a baby (until I went through it). As an introverted new mother, it was isolating and exhausting the first few months of my baby’s life. I didn’t feel like the same person who I used to be, as I was trying to figure out what my new life should look like. 

Knowing what I know now, whenever I see a birth announcement on social media or a new mother with a crying baby in public, all I want to do is give that mother love. I want them to know that I understand what they are going through and that they are doing a great job. 

Sometimes the gift of empathy can be a hardship for sensitive people, because we quite literally feel others’ pain. But it can also be quite rewarding because we can choose to show others kindness. And it goes without saying that our world could use more kindness.

Is the chaos of life overwhelming you as a highly sensitive person?

Sensitive people have certain brain differences that make them more susceptible to stress and anxiety. Thankfully, there is a way to train your brain so you can navigate the challenges of sensitivity, access your gifts, and thrive in life. Psychotherapist and sensitivity expert Julie Bjelland will show you how in her popular online course, HSP Brain Training. As an Introvert, Dear reader, you can take 50% off the registration fee using the code INTROVERTDEARClick here to learn more.

4. You feel deeply and love deeply. 

For a sensitive person, romantic love can feel intoxicating. All of the warm and fuzzy feelings are at a peak for us, since we feel all emotions intensely. Once we fall in love, we may fall hard. One of our strengths in our relationships is that sensitive people care deeply for their partner and often try to anticipate their needs.

Like me, many sensitive people are romantics at heart, which is a wonderful quality to have in a partner. For example, I enjoy planning vacations and date nights for my husband because it allows me to be creative and takes stress off his plate. And, no matter if he is sick or healthy, it is satisfying to cook him food and make sure he is taken care of in other small ways. 

As a result, he is appreciative and has said many times that he has never experienced a greater love than with me. We sensitive people should be proud of our ability to love deeply because we are rare — we make up only 30 percent of the population — and few people can love greater than we can!

Your Sensitivity Is a Superpower

Every highly sensitive person is different, but we all hold these four qualities in varying degrees — and we make the world a better place by practicing them. We are a strong, caring, self-aware, and romantic breed of human! 

When you feel down about your sensitivity, or are criticized and called weak, remember to look at the bigger picture. Choose to see the strengths that come with being sensitive. I know I will.

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