9 unique struggles that highly sensitive people deal with every day

Going through life with a highly sensitive soul is no walk in the park. 

You see, when you’re highly sensitive, you experience things more intensely than most people. Your senses are heightened, and you feel emotions on a deep, almost overwhelming level.

Every day brings with it a unique set of struggles that only we, the highly sensitive ones, can truly understand.

In this article, we’re going to delve into these struggles, shedding light on what it’s really like to walk in our shoes.

1) Overwhelming emotions

When you’re highly sensitive, emotions aren’t just feelings. They’re tidal waves.

Think about an emotional reaction as a scale from 1 to 10. For most people, a sad film might hit a 3 or a 4. But for highly sensitive people, that same movie could easily reach an 8 or 9.

It’s not that we’re overreacting or being dramatic – it’s just that we feel things more deeply.

And while this can be a beautiful part of who we are, it can also be exhausting.

Crying over commercials, getting heartbroken over news stories, feeling elated at a friend’s success – it’s all part of our daily life.

It’s like living in high definition, but for emotions. And that’s just the first of the unique struggles that highly sensitive people deal with every day.

2) Sensitivity to criticism

Being highly sensitive can make me take criticism more personally than most people do.

Just last week, for example, I received some feedback on a project I’d been working on. The critique was fair and constructive, and I knew that. However, the moment I read the words, it felt like a punch in the gut.

I spent the rest of the day replaying the conversation in my head, feeling upset and questioning my abilities. It took me a while to remind myself that criticism is a part of growth and not a personal attack.

But for us highly sensitive folks, criticism can feel deeply personal, even when it’s not intended to be. It’s just another one of those unique struggles we deal with on a daily basis.

3) Overstimulation

Imagine walking into a crowded room. The lights are bright, the noise is high, and there’s a flurry of movement all around.

For most people, this might be a little uncomfortable. But for highly sensitive people, a sensory overload can be downright overwhelming, according to experts.

You see, highly sensitive people have a highly active insula, a part of the brain that heightens our awareness to our surroundings. This means that we’re more likely to feel overstimulated in situations that others might find merely distracting.

The constant barrage of sensory information can make it hard to focus and can even lead to feelings of anxiety or exhaustion. It’s like living life with the volume turned all the way up – another unique struggle that we face every day.

4) Deep connections

As highly sensitive people, surface level interactions just don’t cut it for us. We crave deep, meaningful connections with the people around us.

We’re the ones who want to know your hopes, dreams, and fears – not just what you did over the weekend. Small talk can often feel draining and unsatisfying, leaving us yearning for more.

This longing for deeper connections can sometimes make social situations challenging. But it’s also what allows us to form incredibly strong bonds with the people we care about. It’s a double-edged sword and yet another unique struggle that we face every day.

5) Intuition

Being a highly sensitive person often comes with a heightened sense of intuition. We’re usually the first ones to pick up on subtle changes in the environment or shifts in people’s moods.

According to psychologist and researcher Elaine Aron, highly sensitive individuals engage in a heightened processing of stimuli, where they meticulously analyze and draw connections between their observations and past experiences with similar elements.

“They do it whether they are aware of it or not,” says Dr. Aron. “When we decide without knowing how we came to that decision, we call this intuition, and HSPs have good (but not infallible!) intuition.”  

Intuition can be a powerful tool, allowing us to navigate social situations with ease and anticipate potential problems before they happen. But it can also be a burden.

Sometimes, being so attuned to others’ feelings can make us feel responsible for their emotions. This can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety, especially when we’re unable to change the situation.

6) Empathy overload

things youll never hear a truly empathetic person say 9 unique struggles that highly sensitive people deal with every day

Our hearts, as highly sensitive people, often feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world. That’s because our heightened sensitivity often comes with a deep sense of empathy.

We don’t just understand other people’s feelings, we feel them. When a friend is hurting, we hurt too. When a loved one is happy, their joy becomes ours.

This ability can be emotionally draining. Feeling the pain and joy of others as if it were our own is a heavy load to bear.

It’s a unique struggle that we face every day, but it’s one that also makes us who we are – deeply caring, compassionate individuals.

7) Need for downtime

After a long day of work, I often find myself needing to retreat to a quiet space, away from the noise and the hustle.

Social events, busy workdays, even a day full of errands can leave me feeling drained and in need of solitude to recharge.

It’s not about being antisocial. It’s about preserving energy. Because for highly sensitive people like me, the world can be a loud and exhausting place.

This need for downtime is often misunderstood by others as being aloof or unsociable. But it’s actually just one more unique struggle that we deal with every day.

8) Heightened sense of justice

Highly sensitive people have a strong sense of right and wrong. We’re often the ones standing up for fairness, advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves, and fighting against injustices.

This heightened sense of justice is deeply ingrained. It’s not something we can turn off or ignore. When we see something that’s not right, we feel compelled to act.

While this strong moral compass is one of our greatest strengths, it can also lead to frustration and heartache when faced with the unfairness of the world.

9) Deep appreciation of beauty

For highly sensitive people, the world is a canvas of profound beauty. We’re often the ones to notice the delicate patterns on a butterfly’s wings, the intricate melody of a song, or the rich hues of a sunset.

This deep appreciation for beauty can bring immense joy and wonder. It’s what allows us to find happiness in the simplest things and see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

But it also means that we can be deeply affected by ugliness and discord. It’s a delicate balance, and yet another unique struggle that we navigate every day.

Feel more, love more: Sensitivity – our strength – our style

Being a highly sensitive person is more than just a personality trait. It’s a way of experiencing the world.

We feel deeply, we connect intensely, and we perceive nuances that others might miss. And while this heightened sensitivity can certainly lead to unique struggles, it can also lead to profound beauty.

It’s about embracing the depth of our emotions, the intensity of our connections, and the richness of our experiences.

As highly sensitive people, we have the ability to feel the world in ways that others can’t. And while it can be overwhelming at times, it’s also a gift. A gift that allows us to experience life in all its vibrant colors, intense emotions, and exquisite detail.

Picture of Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.