My Highly Sensitive World
Being a highly sensitive soul can be a wonderful thing and it has provided me with some really profoundly beautiful experiences in my life. Sure, there are drawbacks in this world that has been designed for a different type of person, but I have high hopes that the highly sensitive souls of this world have the ability to guide us to a different kind of world. A world with more empathy, more self-awareness, deep feeling, deep connection to intuition and more recognition of nuances within all of us.
I mean, let’s face it, the way the world is going right now, this busy, noisy, constant hustling type of world, which does not allow much room for things like feelings and sensitivity, isn’t really working that well and is no longer sustainable. We are going to have to find new ways of co-existing. Less ego, more decisions rooted in mutual care and intuition.
Highly Sensitive/Highly Sensory
Being highly sensitive means we are highly sensory, our senses are heightened. There are many of us out there. Different sources estimate from between 15-30% of our population. That is just a statistic, I don’t know if it actually true and it may well change over time, as more and more people start to recognise it within themselves.
Highly sensitive people take in and process a lot more sensory information than others at any given time. Physically (sights, smells, noises, etc.) and emotionally (tone, feelings, body language). There are estimates that other people only take in 20% of the information a highly sensitive person does. But again, this is a statistic and I don’t know if this is true and it may change over time due to more awareness and studies.
I take in and process a lot of sensory information at any given time. I have strong feelings and a very complex inner world. The processing can take up a lot of time and energy and I need a lot of down time, rest and sleep to do that (I have mentioned this before in previous blogs).
I notice many details in things I look at. I notice nuances that others don’t necessarily see and I can feel immense joy in these details. Flowers, sunlight, particular colours or colour combinations can induce such visceral delight in me!
We Have Our Uses
Highly sensitive people tend to make great listeners and empathic carers. People we interact with feel seen, heard and understood. We have great self-awareness and detective skills as we are great observers.
Huge Feelings - The Joy and The Despair
I enjoy my vivid emotional life. I have highs and lows which feel immense. While during my burnout phase I was expending a LOT of energy trying to keep my feelings small, keep them contained within my little body, I now allow these HUGE feelings the amount of space they deserve. I enjoy allowing them this space now and it always helps me feel expansive AND I have extra energy available! I recommend it!
I don’t always enjoy the intense sensory information though. A lot of noise can disturb me physically. If I am listening to someone talking and there are voices to be heard around me, I cannot filter out those other voices. There are some noises I cannot filter out either, whereas others wouldn’t even notice them. A lot of voices and a lot of noise over a long period of time makes me feel physically drained and in need of a sleep/some rest/some alone time.
What's That Smell?
I also have a very sensitive sense of smell. Smells distract me intensely and can break my concentration. I can smell things others don’t notice and unpleasant smells can take over my system altogether. My face screws up and it makes me very fidgety. I cannot stand to wear perfume because I cannot stand to be smelling the same smell all the time, (which would happen, my nose would not get used to it).
I do love the smell of lime trees in the summer though, they make me feel heavenly.
Some things can completely hijack my system: like hunger, being cold or feeling tired. A lot of people talk about being “hangry:” getting angry and aggressive when they are hungry, so maybe more people understand that phenomenon. I don’t get angry, but I can literally not think about anything else when I am hungry. It takes over my system. Hunger is a full-body experience for me, it can make me feel quite ill: headache, queasy and wobbly. It doesn’t take much to satisfy that hunger though - highly sensitives tend to be grazers, little and often, please!
I used to get labelled as “too sensitive,” which did bother me for a while as I thought I should be less sensitive. But through my experience I realised I did not have to become less sensitive but others should be encouraged (or taught) to be more considerate, kind and gentle. Insensitivity or indifference are not things I want to aspire to!
What The World Needs Now....
The world needs people like us. We feel deeply, we connect deeply with others, we see things other people miss, we hear tones that other people cannot hear, we pick up on other people’s feelings and needs (although too much of this can also be problematic, without the right education! See People Pleasing and Boundaries). We have a strong sense of justice and fairness, a strong sense of connection with each other, with nature and with the world.
For another good read on highly sensitive people, check out this article from the guardian:
I have more to say about it here: