Home Personal development Who is a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP? 15 powerful traits of an HSP

Who is a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP? 15 powerful traits of an HSP

by Vidya Sury April 18, 2023 0 comment
Highly Sensitive Person or HSP – what does it mean? 15 superpowers of an HSP

HSP: Three letters, infinite meanings. If you’ve heard someone refer to themselves as an HSP, they consider themselves a Highly Sensitive Person.

In all walks of life, you’ll come in contact with HSPs. We’re all sensitive in some way or another–some people are simply more sensitive than others.

Who is a Highly Sensitive Person?

“Someone who experiences acute physical, mental, or emotional responses to stimuli.”

“A person who has a sensitive nervous system is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.”

“Someone who reacts more intensely to experiences than the average person.”

HSPs can be overwhelmed by strong smells, loud blaring noises, crowded stores with loud music, certain fabrics that feel uncomfortable on the skin, loud and colorful clothing, violent or sad situations in movies, negative media, etc.

HSPs notice absolutely everything. The odd smell, the way the sunlight hits the water, the emotions of the person they’re with, and a million other thoughts vie for their attention.

With all that, how can you cope as an HSP?

  • As a parent, take breaks when you need them. Recharge with your kids. Establish rules. Talk about feelings.
  • In social situations, accept who and how you are. Choose things that make you comfortable. Perhaps come up with a mantra.
  • At work, stay away from gossip. Embrace your differences, and check in with human resources if you need to.
  • In romantic relationships, focus on the good. Learn when to separate your needs from your partner’s. Practice honesty and communicate openly.

With that being said, let me hasten to add that . . .

HSPs are amazing!

If you are an HSP, you might not feel that way. If you’re one of the 15 – 20% of the population to experience this kind of awareness, you’ve probably been called a few names. The world can be harsh with people who seem ‘oversensitive’ and react accordingly. You might have been told to ‘toughen up’ or ‘not let things get to you.’ Chances are, your intuition has even been called into question, with no one understanding how you see all the connections so quickly.

What the world doesn’t realize is the Highly Sensitive Person actually is the one with the edge. Noticing the details, being in tune with what’s going on, and even having a deeper understanding of emotions and how things fit together, all make for the perfect person to succeed where others fail.

How do HSPs have the advantage?  Let’s look at the sensitive superpowers of an HSP!

Highly Sensitive Person or HSP – what does it mean? 15 superpowers of an HSP

15 Superpowers of an HSP

If you are an HSP, rejoice! Because you likely have the following superpowers!

1. HSPs Understand the Emotions of Others

Someone who can seemingly sense how others are feeling is seen to have the edge in every walk of life. These people make excellent counselors or social workers because they have so much compassion. Coupled with action, someone with this kind of empathy makes for a social justice warrior or even the best kind of politician.

Empathy means they’re that awesome friend who knows just how to comfort someone when they’re feeling down or cheer them on when they’re flagging. This also makes them more considerate of others, a trait that makes people want to work with them or spend time in their company.

2. They’re Great Listeners

Empathy is what helps them to open up to others, and more importantly, to be open to them. Highly Sensitive People understand what’s it like to feel like no one is listening to them because they listen to the pain of others and feel it deeply when it’s expressed to them. That’s why they listen and listen so well. No surprise that people love this and know just who to go to when they need a sympathetic ear.

3. HSPs Take Time to Think

Highly Sensitive People have a lot of information to process, all the time. This gives them a lot to consider when they’re making decisions. This can lead to some frustration on the part of those who work with the HSP, as they generally aren’t quite as fast as others might be when it comes to deciding a new direction or strategy.

On the other hand, your HSP will have considered all the angles, so you know when they do give their opinion, it’s well worth the wait.

4. HSPs Know Who to Trust…and Who NOT to

HSPs are highly intuitive and notice when something is ‘off’ about someone, far quicker than anyone else would figure out the same thing (if ever). They are tuned into the fine details of the world around them. All those ‘tells’ that give away a liar, for example, might as well be advertised on a billboard when an HSP is around.

More often than not, though, the HSP doesn’t always consciously know why they do or don’t trust someone. They process so much information! When they listen to their gut, they are usually right.

5. They Get Things Done

One thing HSPs know is that multi-tasking doesn’t work. They know that when they focus, they can get a lot done. And thus, single-tasking is their superpower. And because of this, they are frequently surprised how everyone else seems to struggle with this so much. We know why, don’t we?

6. They Know What’s Going On

The highly sensitive person pays attention, listens, and gets what someone is saying the first time. They probably understand the subtext better than anyone else and are frequently the ones called upon to explain what that guy meant when he said your friend was ‘interesting.’

7. They’re More Open-minded

They are good at seeing where others are coming from, and are non-judgmental—until they’ve had a chance to hear things from the other person’s point of view. They’re willing to see both sides of the story before they make up their minds. This makes them more open-minded, a definite superpower in this day and age.

8. They’re Really Creative

They think outside the box, notice details and facts, and can put things together, usually in ways the rest of the world wouldn’t think to. Also, the connection to emotions and the desire to express them tends to draw the HSP into highly creative career choices.

When encouraged, they’ll come up with all kinds of ideas, and have the ability to be great problem-solvers.

9. They Bounce Back Quickly

They are resilient and used to overcome stuff. With so many stimuli, they’re frequently overwhelmed. At the same time, just in order to live halfway normally, they have to learn how to cope when overwhelmed and get past the discomfort. They face new challenges better than others and are back on their feet faster when knocked down by a challenge.

10. They Hang in There

Once they bounce back, HSPs are more likely to try again. Rather than quit, they know how to keep their eyes on the prize. All that thinking means they’ve already considered why the end goal is beneficial and what it’s going to take to get there. With this kind of clarity, it’s no wonder they’re so great at keeping going, even when the going gets tough.

11. They’re Good at Being Alone

While this doesn’t seem like a superpower at first glance, it is. Alone time helps them recharge, so they seek it out naturally. They know the value of quiet and do not clutter their life with people or distractions that only cost time and money they can’t afford to spend.

12. They Are Calm

Where do people go when they need refuge from the chaos of the world? They seek out the Highly Sensitive Person, who is the expert at creating a peaceful oasis. Why? HSPs hate the wild emotions of conflict and with their empathetic nature, will work hard to soothe the drama and restore peace.

13. They’re Good at Self-care

All that listening to what goes on around them makes HSPs very good at self-care. They know when they need a break, or even just how good it feels to work out.

14. They Notice EVERYTHING

Perception is a superpower when all those details the HSP notices can be put together into solutions. This makes them incredibly valuable in the workplace and even socially. More than that, they are more apt to truly value things like art and music, as they discover the nuanced details everyone else missed. All of this combines to make their life incredibly rich and fulfilling.

15. They Know How to Live…and Love…Well

The Highly Sensitive Person experiences everything so completely—every range of emotion so deeply it becomes part of every experience. So while a regular person might have a good time hiking in nature, the HSP’s experience is richer, with vivid memories of every detail from sights and sounds, to the way the pine trees smelled, and how the water in the stream felt when they stopped to go wading.

What’s more, they share these experiences just as fully. When they hit on something particularly strong like love, they reflect that love so fully and completely, the relationships of others seem mediocre by comparison.

While this full-on experience of everything can seem overwhelming, it can lead to a more exciting life. Sure, things are more challenging sometimes, but the benefits are so worth it!

Psychologist Elaine Aron developed the concept of highly sensitive persons.

Take the self-test to find out if you are an HSP.

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