Do you feel your feelings a little too deeply? If so, you may be a highly sensitive person (also known as “HSP”). Being an HSP is not a bad thing.
And, you’re not alone. Psychologist Elaine Aron, who developed the concept of highly sensitive people, estimates 15 to 20 percent of people fall into this category.
Highly sensitive people have qualities that make them great friends, partners, co-workers, and parents.
The only problem is their feelings can exhaust them. HSPs can be easily triggered by their outside world, too.
Not sure if you’re a highly sensitive person? Here are 15 signs to know…
1) You feel other people’s pain.
When I witness someone’s feelings get hurt, I can’t help but feel their pain too. I am able to put myself in their shoes even if the struggle isn’t mine.
Your superpower is that you’re insanely perceptive…
2) You can describe yourself as more perceptive than most people.
Being observant is one thing, but your ability to sense what others are going through without them actually telling you is a gift.
But sometimes, this can also hurt…
3) You become exhausted by other people’s feelings.
While it’s wonderful to be sensitive and feel other people’s feelings, this trait can deplete you. You are often exhausted by what’s going on in other people’s lives.
Do you sometimes connect with people who have a lot of drama in their lives? It’s because you’re an HSP who can understand them better than anyone else.
4) It’s hard for you to move on from negative thoughts.
As much as the highly sensitive person wants to be there for other people, this quality can give them so much stress and anxiety.
Once those negative vibes infiltrate their psyche, it’s hard to forget and focus on the positive.
5) Certain songs may make you weep.
I don’t know about you, but I weep every time I listen to Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.” Memories of every heartbreak in my life always come flooding back when I hear the lyrics.
For a highly sensitive person, words have deep meaning. A song can instantly make the HSP sad, inspired, or cry tears of joy.
6) You cry during movies, TV shows, and commercials.
Because the highly sensitive person has the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes, the same goes for shows, movies, or even commercials.
If you’re crying during a Hallmark Christmas movie or tearing up when you watch a moving Superbowl commercial, you might be a highly sensitive person.
7) You sometimes withdraw to cope.
To the HSP, emotions are so real and poignant that you sometimes need a break from it all.
As a result, you may withdraw from a situation or step away from the feelings in order to function.
After an intense conversation, do you find yourself wanting alone time? If so, you’re probably an HSP.
That convo may not affect the ordinary person. But because you’re super sensitive, you will have big reactions to things…
8) You overreact to certain situations.
Highly sensitive people will overreact. They have big feelings, and that’s just how they roll.
They will be overly passionate about things they’re excited about.
They will also be insanely devastated when bad things happen.
Highly sensitive people will often react to things with extremes.
9) You don’t take well to change.
Since everything is heightened for the highly sensitive person, change may be overwhelming to them.
Because the highly sensitive person feels things in such intense ways, they may avoid change entirely so they don’t need to feel sometimes.
Their sensitivity may lead them to want to stay home because their senses can’t handle too much.
10) Criticism can affect you in a big way.
In addition to change, the highly sensitive person is also not good with dealing with any sort of criticism.
HSPs don’t want to be analyzed for their actions. They can be easily offended or feel hurt when someone takes note of something they did—good, bad, or neutral.
And when they’re criticized, they will feel so much pressure, guilt, or shame about it…
11) You tend to beat yourself up over things that happen to you.
The highly sensitive person will always beat themselves up over things that they did. They may also feel deep shame over things that occurred to them that they didn’t even cause.
Due to their sensitivity, they may feel bad over something they said. They may feel a lot of regret…
12) You regret a lot of things that happened.
Highly sensitive people will wish they can turn back time and do things differently.
They may regret their actions and second-guess what they’ve done because they are naturally worriers…
13) You worry too much about what people think of you.
Highly sensitive people will worry a lot about how people perceive them.
They will wonder:
- “Was I not being kind enough?”
- “Could I have done things differently?”
- “Do they hate me?”
- “Do they think I’m good enough?”
14) You suffer from imposter syndrome.
As it goes, the highly sensitive person will always wonder if they’re good enough for something they’ve attained.
Because they’re hyper-aware of their actions and how they’re perceived, they will sometimes second-guess their own abilities.
That will then bring about imposter syndrome. “Do I deserve this?” the HSP will sometimes ask themselves.
Then, they’ll compare…
15) You compare yourself to others.
As the highly sensitive person second-guesses themselves, they’ll fall victim to the comparison monster.
They will sometimes pit themselves against others. They will wonder if someone could be more successful in their role, for instance.
Benefits of being a highly sensitive person
While a lot of the signs we listed above may lead you to believe that being a highly sensitive person is a bad thing, there is so much good!
Because of their sensitivity and deep ability to feel, highly sensitive people:
- Are very caring
- Are very nurturing
- Are thoughtful
- Make themselves available to loved ones
- Are good listeners
- Have so much empathy
- Are able to be vulnerable in relationships
- Lead with compassion
- Give great gifts