Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person

The chaos of the world can be overwhelming for those who are deemed to be highly sensitive. A highly sensitive person (HSP) reacts differently to the environment around them. Most of the time an HSP will be someone who is highly particular about details.

They want to know the cause and effect of any given situation. The emotional intelligence of someone who is an HSP is much higher than most of the people around them.

It is possible for highly sensitive people to learn how to excel in life with their sensitivity. By understanding themselves and their reactions, a highly sensitive person can thrive just as they were designed to.

HSP is a personality trait that is connected to the way the brain engages in sensory processing. This means that a highly sensitive person can thrive and grow in a lifestyle that accents the gift of sensitivity.

Most people who find they are highly sensitive have done this by becoming more aware of how they live life in comparison to others. Self-identifying as an HSP means that you have an inner awareness of your increased response to people, places, and things around you whether they are positive or negative.

What it looks like to be a highly sensitive person.

Because you are highly sensitive, you experience the world differently than others. You can notice things others don’t. You are sensitive not only to words, sounds, or sights that you hear from others, but you are also awestruck when it comes to the beauty of God’s creation. You have a deep level of emotions and thoughts, which causes you to appreciate the value of being alone to rejuvenate your soul.

The characteristics of being a highly sensitive person affect you positively and negatively. They cause you to react differently because of exposure that can overwhelm your senses. Here are just a few of those behavioral characteristics.

  • Big crowds tend to overwhelm you. Not because you are shy, but because there is so much going on at once. A highly sensitive person will take on the emotions around them and this causes them to become exhausted.
  • Changes and transitions cause you to experience anxiety. You are not comfortable when you feel like you are out of control. Because of change and not being able to get everything done in your normal way, you feel a loss of confidence.
  • Criticism affects you deeply. Because you do not like to experience the negative, you will use any means to avoid criticism. People pleasing becomes your way of avoiding being criticized.
  • Changes and conditions in your body is more noticeable as an HSP. You tend to be aware of the taste of food as well as the pain of headaches in a more heightened way that others.
  • Because of all the energy it takes when you are in a chaotic place, you find that you need more downtime.
  • Many may think you are shy or an introvert because you have a hard time performing any type of task in front of others. Public speaking puts you on alert for criticizing yourself. As an HSP you do not want to be criticized, so you feel like you will fail when you perform in public.
  • Medication, caffeine, and pain are a few things to which you are highly reactive You may have to take less medication than others because your body reacts differently to the dosage that most people can take. Caffeine is much the same.
  • Because you notice so much more around you than others, you tend to overthink and worry about things others have not even considered.

This is not a complete list, but it is the bulk of what types of behavioral characteristics a highly sensitive person will exhibit.

The goodness of being a Highly Sensitive Person.

When you accept that you are a highly sensitive person, you can find inner peace and completeness, knowing God can use your gift of enhanced sensitivity to bring Him glory. You can use this to thrive as you relate to the escalated senses that you have. Productively using this trait means that you have come to understand how it relates to your environment.

How can I use being an HSP to help others?

Emotional Intelligence. When it comes to being highly sensitive, your emotional intuition is higher than normal. You find that you can get an internal feeling about the room you are in and the people around you.

You have a deep thought life and you hold the emotions that go with those thoughts. It is in this inner peace that you truly know the Spirit of God. As you are in tune with this you are also able to understand the spiritual need of others.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:2, NIV

Heightened Intuition. High sensitivity comes with heightened sense of intuition. This means that you will have a heightened awareness of the things around you. Because of this you find yourself aware of those around you and how they are feeling.

You step in with the support they need encouraging them to seek the hope that we don’t always see. You bring the love of God to those around you in a way that builds their faith.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7, NIV

Emotions run deep. As a highly sensitive person, you will find that your sense of compassion and empathy runs deeper than you would like to experience sometimes. You can become engulfed with heartache for those around you.

On the other end of the spectrum, you will also find that you can be overcome with joy. This aspect of being an HSP is how you can positively impact those around you in a way that they know the truth of God’s word.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32, NIV

Appreciation for creation. Most of the time a highly sensitive person will have a deep appreciation for the beautiful things around them. Whether it is music, art or the simple creation of the wind and leaves, you can get lost in the tranquility of seeing the beauty of God’s creation and gifts. Because of this you are able to find goodness and joy in the small things. This trait allows you to help others see the goodness of God even when they are hurting.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV

Details are never hidden. A highly sensitive person will always see the things that most people miss. Because you are paying attention to everything around you, there is very little that you don’t notice.

This characteristic helps you see what is going on in your environment. You tend to make any space a safe and loving place. God designed you to see the things that others do not so you can help in ways they are not able to see.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.Proverbs 2:6-8, NIV

How do I cope with being highly sensitive?

There are many things that you can do to help you cope with your sensitivity. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience. By understanding the traits of being a highly sensitive person, you can apply those to every aspect of life in a way that will help you thrive.

Understand it as a gift. We know that God has created each of us as unique individuals. Being highly sensitive is no different than being mechanically inclined. It is a gift that can be used to help others truly see who God is and how much he loves them.

“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills –  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.Exodus 31:2-5, NIV

Honor what it is and be mindful. Take into consideration how you can see the creation of God. Because you notice the in depth beauty of the world you live in, you can share it in ways that others cannot. Give thanks that you are able to notice the beauty that many take for granted.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. – Psalm 105:1-2, NIV

Rest and appreciate the time to reflect. Being highly sensitive can sometimes lead to exhaustion so it is important that you learn to rest. During these times of rest, reflect on the goodness of the gift and connect with God. Take time to hear what God is saying to you. Listen for His still, small voice of instructions for your life.

for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. – Hebrews 4:10-11, NIV

Being highly sensitive does not have to be a negative part of your life. You can thrive and live a very fulfilled life by understanding the trait and how to apply God’s Word to your life. If you feel overwhelmed and need someone to talk to you as you navigate using your sensitivity in a positive way, reach out to a Christian counselor. There are many who are willing to help you create a faith-based plan to become a thriving highly sensitive person.

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