II. High Sensitivity
In all Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs), there are four basic characteristics present (acronym D.O.E.S.) – if a person doesn’t have all four, they are probably not Highly Sensitive individuals according to Dr. Elaine N. Aron’s definition of High Sensitivity.
The basic characteristics vary in form and intensity and are displayed as follows:
D – Deep and thorough processing of the information that was taken in
A tendency to reflect, to ponder – the wiring of the brain enables it to compare the information that was taken in to past experiences and information that’s already there, to analyze it, sort it, and form a conclusion.
It’s the brain’s standard procedure; it does it regardless of the situation. And that is one of the reasons why in more complex situations, let’s say when a decision has to be made, HSPs need more time to make it.
The other reason is HSPs’ “need” to have more information at their disposal, which then has to be thoroughly thought through thoroughly (a mouthful) and reflected upon to lead to a “good” decision. Have you ever been criticized for not being able to make a decision, even though you knew that wasn’t the case – and that it was just a case of not having enough time to calmly gather and/or study all the information needed to make a decision?
O – Feeling Overstimulated, overwhelmed more easily
Do you find yourself being overstimulated, over-aroused, or overwhelmed more easily? Do you feel that for you, there is too much stimulation and too much of everything?
Let’s say you commute to work on a crowded bus, train, or subway, maybe there’s a packed elevator, maybe you share an office or open space with other people, or you might have a lot of telephone communication or people around you, maybe they talk loudly, or radio is turned on – and if you don’t retreat and take a moment somewhere private and quiet (one or more times), you might become overwhelmed early in the day.
How does this feeling of being overwhelmed manifest itself? Maybe somewhat like a battle for survival? You want everybody to leave you alone; you want to escape from the situation, from the feeling of being overwhelmed – anything as long as it ends what you are experiencing and feeling?
E – Stronger Emotional reactions to positive and negative experiences
It could be a criticism, merely some feedback information about your work or services that induces anger in you or a feisty spirit, great sadness, despair, shame – in short: a lot of emotions, while someone else (a non-HSP) might experience short-term anger, feel offended, but then think it through, act, and then move on.
Or it could be a simple act of watching a sunset with a loved one during which you are overwhelmed with happiness.
Would you say your emotions are amplified?
E – Empathy
Are you able to literally feel what other people are feeling (to a certain extent), in addition to your ability to sense how they are feeling and being able to put yourself into their shoes? Have you ever wondered why, while in the company of others, your mood suddenly changes, and you cannot really say what caused the change?
S – Sensing the Subtleties (hardly noticeable things, things other people mostly miss)
Are you someone who always notices a new haircut, even if the hair has been cut by only a centimeter or two, or if someone has just changed their hairstyle, e.g., by changing their parting?
Or are you the (only) one that starts to get upset and asks, “Where’s the fire?” in the middle of a calm afternoon while others are having carefree chats on the terrace?
High Sensitivity really has an impact. Together with your other innate and acquired traits, it influences your perception of the world and everything in it, and your whole life, regardless of you being aware of that fact or not.
You need to know this: there’s nothing wrong with you for being Highly Sensitive. High Sensitivity is a normal, although sometimes somewhat impractical, trait. And a permanent one. It can’t be eliminated, it does not need a diagnosis, and it can’t be cured.
Regardless of whether you have or don’t have the High Sensitivity trait, the chances are you have a person that is Highly Sensitive somewhere near.
In Europe alone, there are around 148 million HSPs (20% out of approximately 742 million people; estimated for 2018 by Worldometers), in the U.S.A. there are around 65 million (out of nearly 327 million people), and in the whole world, it is estimated that there are 1.5 billion HSPs (out of 7.6 billion people).
Impressive numbers, would you agree?
I invite you to a couple of short overviews and posts available on my personal website and Facebook profile: