Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

Tamara Low

- Certified EFT
- Pranic Healer

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This article is an exploration of the trait of High Sensitivity; including some of the difficulties or struggles that people might face in navigating and understanding this trait. Fifteen to twenty percent of the population are Highly Sensitive, which causes them to process information more deeply, to notice subtle things in their environment, to have heightened emotional reactivity, and to be very sensitive to overstimulation.

According to Elaine Aron Ph.D., the author of “The Highly Sensitive Person”, “many species—we now know it’s over 100, so far, including fruit flies and some fish species—have a minority of individuals that are Highly Sensitive.” They have inherited a survival strategy of “pausing to check, observe, and reflect on or process what has been noticed before choosing an action.” 

More Depth on the Characteristics of Being an HSP :

The mind (and nervous system) of Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s) work differently than most. Aron calls the most basic quality of the Highly Sensitive Person the tendency to process information more deeply (semantic memory). They “think about their own thinking” and “have a rich complex inner life.”

They have greater awareness and sensitive processing of subtle stimuli. They notice things more deeply, such as the “awareness of others nonverbal clues or about their mood or trustworthiness. In paying more attention to details than others do, this knowledge can be used to make better predictions in the future”, says Aron. This has an evolutionary purpose which serves the majority. It can be frustrating and disheartening when the majority is not listening, caring or understanding!

The greater awareness of the subtle tends to make people more intuitive, “which simply means picking up and working through information in a semiconscious or unconscious way (Aron).” They are able to learn without being aware they have learned. Heightened emotional reactivity has also been observed in brain scans, marked by increased activation in the insula part of the brain and in the mirror neuron system. 

Other characteristics of Highly Sensitive People include, a low threshold for stimulation– they become overstimulated and stressed by overstimulation very easily. They have an aversion to large groups, too much going on, loud music, noise, bright lights, and strong smells can also be difficult. HSP’s are deeply affected by other people’s moods and emotions. They do best without distractions, don’t like chaos, being rushed, and being under pressure. 

There is an essential need for quiet, calm, and alone time. Being in nature soothes, calms and assists in maintaining balance. Judith Orloff notes that it takes Highly Sensitive People longer to wind down after a busy day because their system’s ability to transition from high stimulation to quiet and calm is slower. They will likely avoid violent shows and movies. 

There is a wide range in sensitivity. Aron says, in the average social situation, there are about 20 percent who are HSPs, and another 30 percent who feel moderately sensitive. It is estimated that about 70% of HSP’s are introverts and 30% extroverts. 

The Challenges that Some HSP’s Might Face:

Elaine Aron calls this largely inherited trait very real and very normal. It certainly does not always feel that way for those who possess this trait. Further, “our inner dialogue will mimic what our early caregivers thought of this trait” and what society thinks of it. In our culture possessing this trait is not considered ideal, for many. It may be viewed or seen as a weakness. In places like China, it is considered to be positive and acceptable. 

As we know, the world moves at a very rapid, intense, pace. Many HSP’s are trying so desperately to keep up with this pace that was/is set by the majority. This can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, burn out, lack of interest, etc. As incredibly difficult as it is, we NEED to find, listen to, and honour our own pace!

Due to the fact that many HSP’s felt misunderstood because their temperament was often not understood by those around them, this might cause them to feel (deep down) that there is something wrong with them and that they are different, weird, flawed, unacceptable, inconvenient, etc. This can result in feeling shameful, embarrassment, guilt, and as a result, we might choose/or have “chosen to hide it, and adapted, acting like the non-sensitive majority.” The fear of being judged, criticized, shamed, and ridiculed by other people is very real.

Depressed and anxious HSPs, according to Aron almost all had troubled childhoods. “In order to survive, an infant will do whatever he or she must to adapt to the caretakers, with temperament going underground to resurface in some other way later. If someone caring for you became angry or dangerous, the conscious mind buried that information as too awful to acknowledge, even while your unconscious developed a deeply mis-trustful attitude.”

On a happier note, Aron mentions rhesus monkeys with this trait that “if they were raised by skilled mothers, were more likely to show “developmental precocity” resilience to stress and be leaders of their social groups.” She continues, “parents of a highly sensitive child often develop an especially intimate bond with their child. The communication is more subtle, and the triumphs in the world are more significant.” They tend to have a deep love and appreciation of music and the arts and to feel things like joy, love, and appreciation more deeply. These are some of the gifts of being highly sensitive. 

Do you Struggle with your High Sensitivity?

I am very interested in the feelings and attitudes that Highly Sensitive People hold about their trait. If it was not viewed in a positive light for a multitude of reasons; here are some of the belief systems that someone might hold:

How others made/make me feel about being Highly Sensitive:

  • This trait is a burden to others.
  • I feel like an inconvenience to others. 
  • It is unacceptable to others. 
  • I feel disapproved of by others. 
  • I feel rejected by others.
  • I feel misunderstood by others. 
  • I feel annoying to others 
  • I feel high maintenance in the eyes of others.
  • I feel unaccepted for who I am
  • I feel that there is something wrong with me. 
  • I feel broken.
  • I feel flawed.
  • I feel weak.
  • I feel needy. 
  • I was told by others that I am “too sensitive” and “to stop being so sensitive!”

How I feel deep within myself:

  • I feel that there is something deeply wrong with me. 
  • I feel deeply flawed.
  • I am not ok just as I am.

As a result of how I feel deep inside myself:

  • I feel like I can’t be myself.
  • I reject myself.
  • I do not accept myself. 
  • I am unacceptable to others. 
  • I try to hide who I am. 
  • I beat myself up.
  • I feel broken.
  • I feel very different. 
  • I do not belong or fit in. 
  • I feel shameful and embarrassed (about being different) and possessing this trait. 
  • I feel alone.
  • I feel isolated.
  • I feel sad. 
  • I feel misunderstood.
  • I feel that this trait is a disability. 
  • I hate my sensitivity.
  • I try to hide my sensitivity from others, try to be “normal” and “adapt” to fit in. 

How I might feel about the world around me as a Highly Sensitive Person?:

  • Being around others drains me.
  • Being around others overwhelms me.
  • I feel overstimulated being around others.  
  • I do not like being in crowds. 
  • I cannot handle loud noises and too much going on. 
  • I cannot handle being rushed and under pressure. 
  • Life is often overwhelming and difficult.
  • I need to isolate myself and to be alone, which helps me to soothe feeling overstimulated and maintain balance.
  • I feel ashamed (and frustrated) about being different and not being able to tolerate and do what most people can. 
  • Sometimes it would be nice to be like everyone else. 

This certainly is not an exhaustive list. Each person could likely write a different list of their experiences and how they feel inside. I feel that it is SO important to have an open and honest conversation about it, so that no one is hiding in shame due to a trait that is inherently who they are, who they were born to be, with no choice or say in the matter.

“Taking good care of a highly sensitive body is like taking care of an infant”, says Aron. Most people do not need to do that or even think about that, to maintain balance and good health. To me, this quote sums everything up so beautifully! It does not make you weak, it makes you truly unique!!

Our beliefs and attitudes about our sensitivity impact our lives in a very deep and profound way. To make peace with high sensitivity and see it as a unique gift, we need to explore these beliefs and attitudes that we hold, and heal the deeper wounds. 

If you are an Highly Sensitive Person that has or has had difficulty and a challenge possessing, navigating, and accepting this trait- there is certainly something that can be done about it, which is the great news!! My goal and passion is to assist others in taking the steps to fully embrace and accept all of ourselves, including this trait. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT, or “Tapping”) can be done on any of the above beliefs (or any additional ones that you might have). This helps us to clean out any of the “cob webs” that keep us stuck, hidden, small, and from our TRUE authentic selves!! Pranic Healing can deeply assist in balancing and regulating our sensitive nervous system(s).

Warmly,

Tamara

Please see the contact page if you would like to let me know what you thought about this article, or if you are interested in receiving Empathic Heart Healing’s articles/blogs/newsletters or joining the facebook page. Thank you.

If you are a parent of a highly sensitive child and you are learning more about their trait, I hope that you find this information helpful. 

Related Articles:

References

Aron Ph.D., Elaine N.. The Highly Sensitive Person . Citadel Press. Kindle Edition. 

Orloff, Judith. The Empath’s Survival Guide (pp. 5-6). Sounds True. Kindle Edition

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Internal Exploration Questions
General

These questions are just for you to ponder. You can fill it out and save it for your interest if you like. They can help us to get to the root of what is keeping us from TRUE us and our most authentic expression (which can often get buried for many reasons).

Click one of the buttons below and download your fillable PDF to your desktop. You can then fill in the form on your desktop and save it or print it out. If you experience any issues while filling in your form download Abode Acrobat Reader. It is a free software to help you properly use fillable PDF forms.

Internal Exploration Questions
Codependency

These questions are just for you to ponder. You can fill it out and save it for your interest if you like. They can help us to get to the root of what is keeping us from TRUE us and our most authentic expression (which can often get buried for many reasons).

Click the button below and download your fillable PDF to your desktop. You can then fill in the form on your desktop and save it or print it out. If you experience any issues while filling in your form, download Abode Acrobat Reader. It is a free software to help you properly use fillable PDF forms.

Price List

 

*All prices are in Canadian dollars

Codependent Free

A brief summary of Codependency (more in “Education")

Codependency is created by our attachment trauma. During the first 3 years of life we need to feel safe and secure with our parents or caregivers. Arielle Swartz says, “this allows us to develop a healthy sense of self that forms the foundation for our ability to develop meaningful, healthy relationships with others.” If we experience fear, unpredictability, uncertainty, neglect, rage, indifference, abuse, emotional unavailability, etc. the natural attachment process is disrupted, causing trauma, which can result in deep and lasting challenges for those that have experienced it (until its dealt with).

Jason Breyer describes Codependency as “a psychological and behavioural condition based on faulty programming and emotional wounds, which affects someone’s capacity to have healthy, mutually satisfying relationships.” Stacy Hoch describes Codependency as an image disorder built on the idea and belief that you should be more concerned with what others think of you than what you think of you, the idea that I do not exist without other’s validation and trying to fill inner voids vicariously by filling others. She says, for the sake of others, the Codependent harms themselves and Narcissist for the sake of themselves harms other people. If left unchecked, the pattern of Codependency may be passed from one generation to the next. See “What is Codependency?”, and “Healing and Understanding Codependency.”

Codependency Programming (but not limited to):

Codependency programming ensures that our identity, love, validation, approval, peace, and sense of safety is solely reliant on others. We falsely believe that other people and situations are responsible for our happiness or lack thereof. We completely abandon ourselves and our wounded and deeply afraid inner child(ren) for the sake of others. This can feel like an emotional, psychological, and physical prison that may come to feel like this is how things will always be, that it’s somehow our fate. In summary, its:  

-An external dependency on others for acceptance, validation, approval, and to feel good about ourselves. 

-Not having your own solid identity, becoming void of ourselves for the sake of someone else.

How it may show itself- coping mechanisms

-We seek permission from others. 

-Our self-esteem is validated by what we do and by others’ opinions of us. 

-We can struggle to meet our own needs. 

-Asserting oneself is almost impossible.

-We create behaviours that assist in denying, ignoring or preventing difficult emotions. 

-Can be very self-destructive and self-sabotaging as being self- abusive is what we were taught. 

-Codependents often isolate themselves- deep core shame and loneliness is at the heart of this.

Healing

There are many wonderful ways, tools, techniques, books, on-line videos, classes, therapies, therapists, modalities, support groups, etc. available to assist us in learning and understanding Codependency and to help heal its deep and many layers! The energetic hold of Codependency programming is strong. In order to heal, attachment trauma needs to be addressed, as well as inner child work (I encourage you to seek out those that specialize in these areas for support) and looking at and identifying deep unconscious programming, beliefs, behaviours, and thoughts. I believe that this is the level that Energy Psychology (Emotional Freedom Techniques) really shines! I am extremely passionate about assisting others in addressing the deep energetic layers of Codependency.

If you are interested in a list of, “Codependent Thoughts and Beliefs to Tap On” (Emotional Freedom Techniques can be also referred to as “Tapping”) please email me and I will send that to you.

If  you are interested in more about Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse see “What is Narcissism?, “How to Understand and Identify Narcissistic Abuse”, and “Healing from Narcissistic Abuse.

**My writing is geared towards Empaths and Highly Sensitive People, but it is ultimately for anyone desiring to learn, grow, heal and explore

References:

  • BREYER, JASON. Empath – A Highly Sensitive Person – Develop your gift, use emotional intelligence to turn your high sensitivity into a superpower: Overcome negative mindsets and master your social skills . Kindle Edition.
  • Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT, Ross. The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap . Morgan James Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
  • Schwartz, Arielle Dr. Complex PTSD and Attachment Trauma (article). Oct 2019. 

Areas of Interest, Services and Goals

Areas of Interest:

I am passionate about assisting Empaths and Highly Sensitive  People in the areas of our lives that hold us back from our TRUE selves, passions and calling(s). My goal is to:

  • Assist in removing, eliminating and clearing the energetic blocks, hurt, pain and fear that keep us from our true selves, and our hopes, goals, dreams and desires.
  • Assist others with emotional pain; including  Narcisstic Abuse, and with their unique challenges and struggles.
  • Assist others in exploring, eliminating, and dismantling old limiting patterns and belief systems that keep us stuck, hidden and in pain (eg. beliefs that we took on or were taught about ourselves as children).
  • Assist others in recognizing, identifying and healing Codependent belief systems and the multitude of ways that Codependency affects us, impacts us, impedes us, and holds us back, eg. keeping us small, hidden and invisible.
  • Offer energetic and educational support for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People.

Under “About”, see Internal Inquiry Questions, such as, “What is getting in the way of your truest and deepest expression?”, and an Internal Inquiry Questions about Codependency. 

The Ultimate Goal

Living a life that is in line with TRUE us.

Being whole, happy, energetic, vibrant, and free.

Achieving and perusing our true and deepest desires (in spite of what anyone thinks).

Reconnecting with our TRUE self and locating our TRUE- est and DEEPEST calling.

Celebrating Empathy and the gifts of High Sensitivity.  

Developing kindness, gentleness and compassion towards ourselves.

**This is a process. We can take daily steps toward achieving these goals.

My Services

I offer support  for those that desire to explore their inner world to excavate their TRUE self and their deepest and truest goals, passions and desires; for those that desire to go on an emotional wellness scavenger hunt, with the goal of cleaning the old clutter and finding the true gem that is YOU.

Pranic Psychotherapy is Pranic Healing applied in energetically preventing and treating Psychological ailments, where stress is at the root. This is where I like to focus. Pranic Healing works with the chakra system and the auric layers.

Emotional Freedom Techniques works with the meridian system to clear energetic blocks or disruptions that get in the way of our health (physical and emotional). It is one of the MOST powerful somatic (body) release techniques.

Emotional Freedom Techniques and Pranic Healing both assist in regulating our Nervous System. 

 

Welcome to Empathic Heart Healing

Empaths and Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s) have unique ways of experiencing, feeling, sensing, observing, perceiving, processing, and absorbing the world around them. They feel things deeply; including love, beauty and joy and also pain, hurt, and sorrow.

Emotional pain or struggle is a block or disruption in our body’s energy system and can stem from countless places, unique to you and your situation. My passion to assist Empaths and HSP’s in understanding, accessing, and releasing the root cause (feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions) of the energy block(s) or disturbances. Codependency, is just one manifestation of emotional pain, and an example of how our TRUE selves can get buried, or hidden (at the beginning of our lives), and stay this way until it is safe to re-emerge.

Other avenues might be narcissistic abuse, heartache/hearttbreak, infertility, low self- esteem, rejection (initially from others- and then towards ourselves), neglect, and you can  insert your experience(s) here. When we are in emotional pain, there are corresponding feelings such as shame, sadness, grief, guilt, fear, loneliness, anger, isolation, and despair, just to name a few. Our body gives us clues through feelings and sensations as to what is happening within us as well as how we feel around others and in certain environments.

Emotional Freedom Techniques, also called EFT, or “Tapping” can assist us in identifying, releasing, clearing, and healing the energetic and emotional blocks, beliefs, fears, and barriers that limit us and keep us stuck, small, and hidden, so that we can access and get re-in touch with our deepest, fullest, truest and most authentic expression- as well as deep inner peace, vibrant health, light-heartedness, joy, play, passion, bliss and vitality.

Every one of us has a unique energy/energy vibration, traits, purpose(s), gifts, talents, abilities, etc. to offer, to offer others, and contribute to the world. We all have unique goals, dreams and desires.  Blocks in our energy system can derail or make difficult, any one of these. My deepest and truest desires for EVERYONE is to live and express themselves in the deepest, truest, freest, and most authentic way possible!!

When we are young we learn by watching, observing, and adapting to our surroundings. We are often told by our parent(s), caregivers, society, etc. who they think we are, who they think that we should be, and who they want us to be, do, say, or act like. As we get older these adaptations and beliefs can become a hindrance. We can be controlled by a belief that was learned and taught, which does not even have its origins in who we are, and how we desire to live.

As an example, I recently explored an old, worn out belief of mine with an EFT colleague. That is, “I am only worthy, only if I am being productive, and that “play” is a waste of time.” Yikes! This is a belief that I learned and took on as “truth” very early on- a learned family pattern. It was impacting me in numerous ways (which were not in line with TRUE me). This is certainly not a belief that I want to pass on to my son! I LOVE the magic and power of EFT! and Pranic Healing!! My goal is to provide a safe, compassionate, secure, and non- judgemental space for you to peel back the layers of what no longer serves you and holds you back from TRUE you….

This quote from Judith Orloff, the author of “The Empath’s Survival Guide” sums this up perfectly and resonates with me deeply:

“I’ve seen how empaths are often “chosen” to break the generational patterns of negativity in their families. They don’t necessarily volunteer for this role on a conscious level, but it’s nonetheless their destiny to fulfill it. When empaths heal themselves and say “yes” to honouring their sensitivities, they are saying “NO” to patterns of abuse, neglect, and addiction that have been repeated in their relatives. The intergenerational transmission of pain stops with them. Through their recovery and the acceptance of their gifts, empaths are the ones who can repair the greater familial whole. Mindful, conscious people are the most effective agents of change.”

Warmly,

Tamara

If you are familiar with EFT, or you would like to explore more about EFT, and how it can be used for Codependency, please email me and I will send you a copy of “Codependent Beliefs, Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions to Tap on.”

References:

  • Orloff, Judith. The Empath’s Survival Guide (pp. 207-208). Sounds True. Kindle Edition.