Never heard about Highly sensitive people?
High Sensitivity, or Sensory-Processing Sensitivity, is considered a trait found in 15 to 20% of the population. A percentage large enough to not be considered a disorder, but definitely smaller than the majority of people, hence it’s in the spectrum of neurodiversity.
Elaine Aron is the pioneer on the academic research about the topic, and she designed a quick self-test that you can find here to know if you’re highly sensitive.
The wonderful thing about HSP’s is that they usually feel a strong sense of mission, searching for a meaningful thing to do in the world to help others. This is all fuelled by the strong empathy and sensitivity towards others’ needs, and the depth of thinking as well. We tend to overanalyse things because our way of perceiving and processing information is deeper. We see the details of everything around us, which can also make us very careful workers, but with the tendency to ruminate – to overthink everything. That can drain our energy if we don’t find a way to harness it.
Another major characteristic is the need for downtime when overstimulated. Imagine that if you can perceive every single detail, feel the energy of every single person around you, in addition to flashing lights, loud music, or anything that’s happening in the environment, it isn’t hard to see why the overstimulation can happen.
That can also be masked as anxiety, I used to feel very anxious before knowing that I’m an HSP. Crowds and big gigs used to (still do) make me really uncomfortable, and I didn’t know why. Most of my friends seemed to be having the time of their lives, why was I feeling so anxious? Why would I get so scattered, like I lost connection with my inner self?
Overstimulation is the answer.
The way to counteract is by having plenty of downtime and taking a break from stimulation whenever possible. I also recall having the need to be on my own from a very early age. This is how usually HSP’s decompress. Aloneness, time in nature, and soothing practices are really helpful.
We have a myriad of unique and valuable talents to offer the world, but our usually different sense of timing (we tend to do things slower, need more peace and quiet, etc) has made us feel like we don’t belong or that there is something intrinsically wrong with us. Working on our self-esteem and self-acceptance is of paramount importance so we can practice self-care without feeling guilty, and be in our best shape to accomplish the unique meaningful mission we all sense we have.
Our sensitivity can then indeed be a superpower!