You probably have someone you would describe as a highly sensitive person in your life. While being too sensitive is often used as an insult, that’s not the case. When someone around you seems too sensitive, they are probably highly sensitive people whose internal systems work differently. There’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with being a highly sensitive person, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you any differently.
Even though people who presumably overthink are seen as obsessed or annoying, they’re highly empathetic. Society needs highly sensitive people because they balance out the people who are cold and calculated. They also make for the best friends and advisors one could ever ask for. The only problem is that highly sensitive people often lead very unsatisfied lives.
They are often unhappy because they spend all their day trying to help others, to the point where they forget to take care of themselves. They’d do anything, sacrifice anything for the well-being of others, which hinders their ability to grow. They often put everyone else’s happiness above their own. Because of these reasons, highly sensitive people have special needs for finding true happiness.
Often, they won’t be able to fulfill those needs and enforce the proper boundaries without the help of the people around them. So, if you are a highly sensitive person, here are three things you can do to find happiness. And, if you know someone highly sensitive, here is what you can do to ensure they take care of themselves.
Characteristics of Highly Sensitive People
First and foremost, while being a highly sensitive person might sound like a diagnosable disorder, it’s certainly not. Being a highly sensitive person is a personality trait, not a disease or an illness. In fact, highly sensitive people can display common personality traits. But all of these traits revolve around heightened responsiveness to negative and positive influences.
Imagine a highly sensitive person. Just think of every stereotypical dramatic thing you’d think a softie does. Think of that person that cries because a dog died in a movie. Or think of that person that starts smiling because they see a pretty sunset. Please think of the person who’s always in their head, always daydreaming, and always in tune with their emotions. Indeed, this sounds cliché. It sounds like some fairy-tale prince or princess straight out of a Disney movie.
But many people, even people you know, maybe even yourself, have at least one of these characters traits. Even the smallest gesture moves many people. In fact, HSPs make up around 20% of society. But being an HSP is not all about getting emotional or smiling because you saw a puppy on the street. Heightened sensitivity goes hand in hand with overthinking and stress.
Many people confuse high sensitivity with introversion or sensory processing sensitivity. While all these things share some commonalities, they are not the same. Not all introverted people need alone time every day to recharge. Though highly sensitive people might need to isolate themselves because of how responsive they are to external stimuli. But that’s just because they need some time to manage their emotions and handle everything that’s going on around them.
The Input That Stimulates Highly Sensitive People
Highly sensitive people are also the ones who often shy away from tense and overwhelming situations. You will not see them picking fights or choosing to be around violence. They will do virtually anything to avoid conflict. But the main struggle highly sensitive people have to face is being overwhelmed in many more situations than others would. HSPs don’t just get overwhelmed when dealing with conflict or violence.
They also get overwhelmed when they have too much to do, when they start overthinking, or even when someone seems just a little bit mad at them. Not only that, but highly sensitive people feel a lot of pressure regarding other people’s needs and feelings. They feel like they have to make other people happy and feel terrible when letting others down. The sheer thought of upsetting someone else gives them insane amounts of stress. And, it’s important to remember that highly sensitive people are their own worst critics.
They are so in tune with emotions that it’s sometimes to their detriment. They beat themselves up over not being able to help someone else, over not being happy or fulfilled enough. Sometimes they get stuck in their heads, thinking of the worst. They start thinking that others don’t like them, that they are not good enough, or that they are simply doing something wrong.
Being a highly sensitive person or having an empathetic person in your life is a gift. They are the most compassionate people you could meet. But it can also be hard to make them happy and make sure they don’t get overwhelmed or stressed. So, if you are a highly sensitive person, here are three things you can do to ensure your happiness.
Three Things You Can Do to Ensure Your Happiness as an HSP
Take these actions to create a safety net for yourself.
1. Communicate and Set Boundaries
For highly sensitive people, communication is critical. Most of their stress stems from feeling too much. Most highly sensitive people are scared of communicating because they don’t want to hurt anyone else. They are also bad at setting boundaries. As a result, they don’t know when to ask for what they want and when to stop giving. If you are an HSP, you need to make a conscious effort to enforce boundaries and ask for open communication.
Highly sensitive people rely on feelings. While it’s true that they are highly empathetic, they also need to learn to rationalize things around them. Just because you think another person is mad at you because they’re acting differently doesn’t mean that’s the case. They might be acting differently because they have a personal issue they haven’t told you about.
The only way to ensure that you don’t get stressed for no reason is to ask the people around you how they’re feeling. As a highly sensitive person, you need to have your feelings validated. Otherwise, you’ll just start overthinking. Attempt to communicate how you’re feeling, even if it seems like you’re being irrational. Just telling the people around you that you’re feeling uncomfortable can go a long way.
Highly Sensitive People Must Set Clear Boundaries
Open lines of communication will also help you enforce boundaries. Boundaries are important because they are a foolproof way to ensure that your needs are also met. As a highly sensitive person, you might be prone to sacrificing everything just for the sake of someone else. When you enforce boundaries, you ensure that you don’t allow yourself to go to those lengths.
For example, your friends might call you whenever they have an issue, without considering whether you’re busy. And, you might feel obligated to answer even though you might be working or doing something else. If you enforce a boundary that says they can’t call you when you’re at work, you won’t have to answer just because you feel obligated.
That way, you won’t jeopardize your workday, and you won’t feel guilty about having to hang up on them. Taking small steps like these can go a long way in making sure you have the time to work on your happiness.
2. Practice Self-Care
Highly sensitive people are constantly overwhelmed and stressed, especially after a long day in which they had to work, go out, talk to friends and help them. They need some time to decompress. This is why they need to practice self-care and have a routine.