What’s it like to be highly sensitive?
Being highly sensitive is a great gift, allowing you to deeply appreciate life and feelings on deep levels.
It can also feel overwhelming, if you’re sensitive, just to go about daily life, because so many “simple” things affect you so profoundly. The feeling you have about a remark made to you may reverberate within for hours or days, or you may find yourself getting irritable at things that others barely notice. Being highly sensitive is a great gift, but it can also be hard work!
Three Types of Highly Sensitive People
I’ve worked with lots of highly sensitive people. And I’ve noticed that there are two or three types of people I meet with who are highly sensitive. You might see yourself in one of these profiles. Or maybe you swing between different styles at different times.
- The “emotional, wear your heart on your sleeve sensitive”: Pretty much, everyone knows is emotional. If you’re like this, people may call you sentimental, emotional — maybe romantic and kind. You may be seen as very empathic, a shoulder to lean on. You might laugh and cry easily, and you wear your emotions on your sleeve.
- The Wall/Recluse: These people handle sensitivity by building great big walls around themselves. If you’ve done this, people around you probably have no idea how deeply you feel things. In fact, YOU may have lost touch with this as well. People wall of their sensitivity when it gets too painful to hold, when no one around them seems to understand their reactions, or when there’s just no way to deal with all the pain besides to wall it off for awhile.If you’re like this, you’re among my most rewarding people to work with, because, once we start getting to know who you really are beneath that “blank” or “shy” front, we get to discover great vibrance in you, great feeling. People like this describe therapy as going from living in black and white to living in color.
- The “ice queen”: Appearing cold, hard, and factual. Let’s say you’ve got all these emotions going on, but people have taken advantage of you and your tenderness. So what do you do? Some people decide, on some level, that they’re going to be in control from now on. These clients frankly seem a bit like bullies when we first meet! They can be vindictive toward people in their lives, can turn people away at a moment’s notice, and come across cold. But when someone sees me and acts this way, it’s usually the case that they’re not really so cold or heartless, not deep down. They’ve just learned to act like this so everything would quit hurting them so darn much.
The good news is, again, that high sensitivity can become a great gift. You can learn to live and thrive with it. It takes some time, and it takes respect for those pieces of yourself that you’ve learned to wall off. But it does get better.
You know what else? Once you learn how to honor your sensitivity and use it to energize you and guide your actions, some of those “symptoms” you’ve had are likely to fade. Like that sadness, or that feeling of emptiness, or that anger that just comes up and takes over.
You’ve guarded your sensitivity as best you could. Now, it might be time to get help to learn how to honor it and use it like the gift it really is.
Want help with that? If you’re sensitive, you’ll probably find me one of the easiest people for you to talk with yet. Because I get sensitivity, and I know how to help you to honor both the feelings within you and the ways you’ve learned to mask them. I’ll respect both the feelings and the mask or wall you’ve put up.
And I’ll help you to learn to have a sense of control over your own emotions and relationships.
Contact me here.