Being an HSP (part 2)

HidingDuring my last post about being highly sensitive, I touched on some of the physical things I notice on a daily basis. As an HSP, I’m also very affected by emotion. Emotion is sometimes a difficult thing to explain, as everyone has different experiences. Here are some of mine.

I’ve always been an emotional person. When I was younger, any kind of harsh or insensitive comments would make me cry. And they didn’t even have to be directed towards me. Critiques and evaluations done by teachers would also make me cry. I think it was partly because I already knew what I had done wrong. I knew the areas that I needed to work on, and in a way, I felt as if I failed my teacher when I didn’t do well. But even though I would cry in class, I wasn’t what you would consider a crybaby. I was very much a tomboy, playing soccer with the guys at recess, falling off my bike countless times, climbing and falling out of trees, etc. Any injuries I suffered were not accompanied by tears. I would just pick myself up off the ground and keep going. So crying in class, but not crying when I hurt myself was very confusing. It makes a lot of sense now because I know how emotion affects me, but at the time, I didn’t understand what was “wrong” with me.

As I entered junior high, I learned to suppress most of the emotions I felt. Not healthy at all, I know. But to me, it seemed a better alternative to crying in my English class after a presentation. I didn’t want the pitying looks and whispers of the other kids. Or the concerned teacher asking me what was wrong, because I didn’t know. This struggle continued throughout high school and college as well. I gained better control over my emotions and learned to distract myself if I felt like crying. After learning that I was highly sensitive and that there isn’t anything wrong with me, I’ve been trying to change how I view things. I’m working to accept my nature as a positive thing, allowing myself to feel each emotion rather than suppressing it. It’s also helped me to take better care of myself emotionally as well.

I’ve always been very aware of other people’s emotions. I can usually tell how someone is feeling just by being in the same room as them. Walking through a room of people can be exhausting, because I have a good idea of how each and every person is feeling. I think it goes beyond reading body language because I know a lot of people don’t notice the same things I do. For example, a month or so ago, one of my co-workers came in and I could tell they were sad/upset about something, but no one else seemed to notice. My co-worker didn’t have a sad expression on their face, but there was something about them that felt sad. Sadness feels very differently from happiness or contentedness. Its as if each person walks around with a cloud of emotion around them. And for some reason, I notice it.

It can be overwhelming to be an HSP, but I think it definitely has its advantages. HSPs appreciate things that others don’t even notice. And they can see so much beauty in the world.

What are some of your experiences?

Image credit: “I want to run, I want to hide…” by Silvia Sala is licensed under CC by 2.0


7 thoughts on “Being an HSP (part 2)

  1. Warrior Freya says:

    My experiences are very similar to yours. There was one time where I was at the after school program during middle school and we were allowed to run around outside. I ended up slipping and scrapped my knees and palms super bad. Instead of crying I pushed myself up and walked into the building and said that I needed help, all the while blood was running down my shins.

    Everyone was so ‘proud’ that I wasn’t crying. I was a real trooper, and how if they were me they would be crying like a girl…

    First of, what’s wrong with crying “like a girl”? (That could be a whole tangent in itself…)

    Secondly, it hurt like no one’s business, but I knew that crying wasn’t going to fix anything. I was hurt, I needed to get help, I did that. Mission accomplished. I balled my eyes out once I got home.

    For me tears seem to be an indicator of the ‘strength’ of an emotion rather than a signaling that I am feelings a specific ‘type’ of emotion.

    Super happy? Tears. Super worried? Tears. Super angry, about to claw your face off? Tears.

    It can make arguments really confusing for my significant others.

    “Why are you crying? I thought you were mad at me?”

    It’s something that I’m still working on myself, but seeing that connection has helped me a lot. Tears don’t automatically mean sad for me. They mean I’m feeling, A LOT, most likely to the point of being over whelmed and this is my body’s way of coping with the overload.

    Hugs from a ‘safe’ person can help me calm down (as long as I’m not in the “RAWR I’M GOING TO KILL YOU” spectrum). Hugs give me a few seconds to hide, or draw strength from another person. There’s always the “Sneaking off to a bathroom stall” trick, where I can be alone for a few minutes, too.

    Normally space is what I need. I’ve found it’s better to let the emotions have their time and run their course than to try to stifle them. They always win in the end. /sigh

    And I totally know what you mean about picking up on things beyond body language. I get ‘feelings’ from other people, and it can be very exhausting. It’s also makes me sound crazy when I try to explain it to other people.

    “How do you know that?”

    “I don’t know. It’s just a feeling…”

    “Oh… a ‘feeling’… Interesting…” *slowly side steps away*

    No logic or back-able reasoning behind it. Just my own intuition which I’ve learned to put a lot of faith in. To the point where sometimes I’ll reject logic and facts because they contradict what I ‘feel’ is intuitively right. What’s interesting though is normally those ‘feelings’ end up being right.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ally says:

      So true, “crying like a girl” probably deserves its own post haha. There are so many things wrong with that statement.

      I like that you mentioned tears indicating the strength of the emotion rather than a specific type of emotion. This is so true as I get emotional when happy, angry, overwhelmed, etc. It can be frustrating when you’re upset at someone but all you can do is cry. I read somewhere that your hypothalamus can’t tell the difference between happy, sad, overwhelmed, or stressed feelings. It just registers that you’re overwhelmed and activates the tears.

      Hugs do help a lot, but only if they’re from someone I trust. I will refuse to hug someone that I don’t feel a connection with as it only makes me feel worse. I’m definitely the one sneaking off to the bathroom for a quick break.

      I totally agree, its difficult to explain how you know something without any “proof”. It does make you sound crazy to people who have never experienced it before. But as you mentioned, the feelings are usually right.

      Thank you for the lovely comment, its so reassuring to know that I’m not alone 🙂


  2. Brett de Villiers says:

    I can relate to this post. Yesterday, my well-being went South for the afternoon after picking up on a chronic complainer’s angst and frustration and subsequent critiques… I spent the rest of the day out-of-sorts, anticipating (and feeling as though it were real) the next dreadful interaction for nothing, as it turned out.

    They were in a much better mood at the end of the afternoon the next time I saw them, as though nothing had ever been “off” in the first place. I realized that I had wasted the afternoon mentally dealing with someone else’s “stuff” for absolutely no reason!

    Sometimes I wish I could not be so deeply affected by other people’s feelings so deeply, and for so long.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ally says:

      I know what you mean. Too often I waste my time thinking about other people’s problems. Or anticipating things that never end up happening. One of my co-workers will cycle through various emotions throughout the day. They’ll be upset for a while, then 10 minutes later, they’re bubbly and happy. Its exhausting.


  3. Shellbell says:

    I relate so much to this blog. Ever since I’ve known myself my family and friends have always told me that I was too sensitive. I guess growing up in ballet and constantly being criticized sort of help take it better but to be honest there are days when I just can’t take it and I break down and retreat to complete solitude to clear my head and make sense of things.

    The second thing is that I have always been able to read people’s emotions and sometimes opinion by just looking at them. It creeps my friends out when after sitting and talking with them I can tell them exactly who they are and what growing up was probably like.

    I just want to tell you that having these capabilities and being able to handle them so well is a sign of strength, because it is not easy to walk around instantly feeling and knowing how people feel. That’s a lot of energy to carry with you.

    High five to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ally says:

      Thank you for such a thoughtful response. Its always reassuring to know that I’m not the only one experiencing these things. I use solitude all the time as a way to clear my thoughts. I love that you called it a sign of strength, I’m still working to see my sensitivity that way. It really can be a gift and helps me to relate better to others. Its hard, but I’m starting to see the positive in it too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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