Many Highly Sensitive People HSP consider their sensitivity as a weakness, often because of comments from parents and teachers. In order to fit in we push our strong emotions down and try not to overreact due to over stimulation. This works for a period of time until exactly what we wanted to prevent, namely overreaction,happens.
Highly Sensitive People like everyone else need to express their feelings. Stuffing down all the emotions doesn’t help.
Many times it makes it worse because the overreaction brings on comments like,” you are so sensitive”, “you always overreact”,” it’s not as bad as you say”. Those comments totally feel like your emotions are wrong because they are stronger, bigger. This often leads to beliefs like, “there is something wrong with me” or “I don’t fit in”.
Then there is always the other way of trying to be understood by non HSPs. Exaggerate the feeling. Somehow we think that if we exaggerate, the other person will understand us better. In reality, now they are becoming overwhelmed, by the strong emotions we express.
The question is, how can an HSPs express their feelings and feel understood?
First and foremost, we need to start feeling comfortable with our emotions.
It starts with self acceptance.
This is where I find the statement that is used during an EFT Emotional Freedom techniques session very helpful,” Even though I am so angry, I deeply and completely accept myself”. In the beginning you may not feel like that at all and you may say:” Even though I am so angry I try to accept myself”.
Having been shamed many times about expressing so called negative emotions very strongly makes it hard in the beginning to accept that you experience these feelings.
Yet, we have to start somewhere.
We forget that we have dealt with a wide array of strong feelings all of our lives. Most HSPs have been exploring and practicing different ways to deal with their feelings of overwhelm and stress consistently.
Many HSPs I work with don’t see in the beginning how well versed they are in dealing with strong feelings. Often they only focus on negative experiences and don’t see their emotional strength. By working on and releasing shame, judgement and other negative feelings, step by step they start to see more sides of themselves.
This acknowledgment of capability, experience and expertise often leads to stronger self confidence, self appreciation and love.
It becomes obvious that sensitivity and vulnerability are very gentle strengths.
Text and Photo by Karin Goldgruber
Karin Goldgruber writes about life as a Highly Sensitive Person HSP, how to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm and how to find authentic answers to your life questions.
She is a Certified Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner who specializes in working with Highly Sensitive People who experience problems in their relationship and work because of this innate trait.
As an HSP herself she has overcome many challenges and obstacles and encourages and empowers others to do the same.