Most Highly Sensitive People HSP become aware of being different then their non HSP siblings, friends, or parents quite early in their childhood. Their sensitivity to subtle differences, may lead them to the conclusion that there is something wrong with them, mostly because there are less HSPs than non HSPs. I have noticed that HSP’s that are younger than their siblings tend to compare themselves more often than others.
Comparing and measuring oneself isn’t something bad in itself. It can actually be helpful to improve one. However comparison is harmful, if it is done in a way that puts you down, especially, when a Highly Sensitive Child, who might also be an introvert, compares themselves with their extroverted non HSP siblings. Older siblings often have the mere advantage of being born first. They have years of experience that the younger sibling doesn’t have. The HSP child may be the only HSP in the family, lacking the support, understanding and role model of an adult HSP. This can become a no win situation for the HSP child.
By nature many HSPs take their time to think and analyze decisions, which makes them slower to react and decide, often missing out. Thus, convincing them again that they are not as good, as smart, or as productive as their siblings. They don’t acknowledge their strengths, which seem normal to them. It’s a tendency in people to overestimate others skills and knowledge and to underestimate their own.
Is it even possible for an HSP to change a lifelong habit of comparing them self to non HSPs? Becoming aware of the self defeating behaviour is often a painful first step. It may come with feelings of shame, anger and self criticism. EFT Emotional Freedom Techniques/ tapping is a gentle yet very effective tool for HSPs to deal with all these strong feelings.
Acknowledging the behaviour and the awareness of the habit, of constant comparison with others, naturally leads to suddenly noticing it everywhere, at work, in your relationship and friendships. It’s quite tempting at this point to throw your hands in the air and to proclaim:”I can’t do it, it’s too overwhelming, that’s just me, I can’t change it”. You can resign or take the next step. This is actually an opportunity for the HSP to be empathetic with them self and at their own pace begin to create changes in behaviours, thoughts and feelings.
Talking with another HSP about your experiences and processing thoughts and feelings can be very beneficial. Working with an EFT Practitioner, who can support you when dealing with strong feelings, can be very helpful. What are the benefits of doing all this emotional work? Is it worth the time, the effort, the money and the potential upheaval during the process?
Comparison often leads to feelings of resignation and procrastination. “Why bother?” is often used not to finish or even start projects. Comparison is often used to avoid fear of change and veiled under logical explanations like: ‘It would be too cost and time consuming”. Again avoiding doing what you really want to do. Fear of criticism from others or oneself stems from comparison. This silences many Highly Sensitive People in situations where their sensitive insights would be needed and appreciated. Incorporating the knowledge that you are indeed different, and that everyone is different, can help HSPs to be anchored within their core. This conscious awareness helps them to operate from a sense of strength and confidence.
Suddenly, being different, being you is desirable and enjoyable. This leads to self appreciation as well as appreciation of others and their differences. A whole new world of exciting differences opens up.
Text by Karin Goldgruber, Picture, pexels-daniel-reche-1556707