Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Highly Sensitive Person

What I’m writing about today affects a certain percentage of us—perhaps a high percentage of those who read this blog. The title of this post comes from a series of books by Elaine Aron. About how roughly 15 to 20 % of any species is highly aware of stimulus and information in the environment.

One reason I think the percentage of those who read this blog may be higher when it comes to being highly sensitive is:

1) People who are highly sensitive may be more likely to be targets for abuse because we are “different.”
2) If we’re highly sensitive, we may be more likely to realize things an abusive person doesn’t want recognized and that may make us a target.
3) If we’re highly sensitive we may be more likely to develop skills and defense mechanisms that allow us to survive and work toward healing and thriving.

I’m not sure I agree with everything Aron says. I did find reading the book useful, however. It reminded me that we are all individuals. Bashing ourselves because we don’t respond like “normal” or “other” people is counter productive. The key question to ask will always be: What strategy could work for ME? What do I need to be happy and successful—whether or not that looks like what anyone else would need?

Now that’s useful whether or not one is HSP!

As I said, I’m not sure I agree with everything Aron says. But I am grateful to have found something that helped me see myself in a new way that does seem to explain a great deal—and in a generally positive way.

So, if you find yourself noticing things other people don’t and reacting to noise and temperature and stimuli more than most, you may want to take a look at this book.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


Karma said...

Hmmm, this is interesting. I think that I am a highly sensitive person. I'm glad that there's hope for us! I'll have to put that author on my book list.

April_optimist said...


It's fascinating reading. Especially to realize that one isn't flawed but rather that it is a genetic advantage to the species to have 20% of the population have this characteristic.

Anonymous said...

I am an HSP and I cherish my trait. At work I know what is going on before eveyone even opens their mouths.

Dr. Elain's book was like reading bible for me. Actually, I strongly beleive that HSP trait is like seeing evolution at work. Eveyone says that people get smarter from generation to generation, so here you have we HSP and sensetive people in general are smarter and process things deply and thourogly. Even Autism can be looked as evolution at work, because autistic kids are smart geneiouses.


April_optimist said...


I think there are a lot of advantages to being HSP--IF we recognize that what others may see as flaws are simply part of who we are.

I also love that Elaine Aron makes the point that are society NEEDS both HSP and non-HSP people to thrive.