Have you heard of the phrase Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)? You know, it’s typically used by those who aren’t an HSP in a derogatory fashion to describe someone who is easily overwhelmed by the world around them, by lights, noise, people, feelings, emotions etc. People who are often told they need to “toughen up”, or who others think they need to “walk on eggshells” to avoid upsetting. Did you know that roughly 20% of the world’s population falls under that label? (Though labelling people is something we shouldn’t be doing, because that implies judgement, and who are we to judge others?) Or that 50% of them are men? Or that you can be an extrovert and Highly Sensitive?
Check out this really interesting TED talk from Elena Herdieckerhoff: she’s a successful businesswoman, who also happens to be an HSP. Elena sheds some light on how someone who is an HSP experiences the world, and offers some insights including things like how being an HSP can affect someone in their career.
Does it make you think about people you may know, who may have some or all of these traits and you’ve just thought they need to “man up”, or “stop letting things get on top of them”? Does it now also make you think that you perhaps need to be more considerate in how you treat them? Does it make you see the world a little bit through their eyes? Does it make you want to know more? Perhaps you are an HSP but didn’t know it till you watched the talk, or maybe you know someone who is overwhelmed with their environment and you want to help.
If you want to know more, to understand more, an excellent starting point is the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron. Delve into a world which only 1 out of every 5 people experiences, and see if it can help you be more considerate and compassionate. What do you have to lose?