I am coming out publicly as an HSP, a highly sensitive person. I know that “my kind” is a minority and that we are generally misunderstood, especially we men. Some of us were bullied mercilessly as children for being HSP. We seem to refuse to “fit in.” Others thought we demanded special treatment, when in reality we only asked for the latitude to take care of ourselves the best way we knew how…by establishing and sticking to our boundaries for living.
I was born a highly sensitive person, not made one by my environment. Being highly sensitive is slightly different for each of us HSP types, since some of us tolerate certain external stimuli quite well, while others of us are driven to distraction by the same stimuli. In any case we grow tired of having to defend ourselves against the 80% who are not HSP.
We put up with misunderstanding and being labeled as: persnickety, impatient, intolerant, fussy, temperamental, perfectionist, introverted, shy, avoidant, unsociable, reclusive, strange, withdrawn, excitable, afraid, curious, observant, bookish, judgmental, or anxious.
Like most people, we too have tempers that flare and strong opinions and emotions, only experiencing those hefty emotions takes a greater toll on us. That’s why we like to avoid loud arguments, contentious battles, name-calling, and physical violence. We don’t tend do well at conventions, rallies, demonstrations, and rock-concerts. We have an aversion to anything resembling a “mob.”
Some of us are brilliant, some average, some uncomfortable in classroom settings. We’re a creative lot, sometimes manually dexterous. We care about people, maybe too intensely. Our emotions and our empathy for others reach our cores every time.
If we cause concern to others, especially to our parents and friends, believe me, it’s nothing compared with the concern we cause to ourselves. Constantly in the midst of self-examination, we pile on the shame and guilt for not being perfect and not caring for people as well as we might want to. We often feel deeply “less than” because we know our foibles and shortcomings better than anyone.
Are you an HSP? How have you coped? What adjustments do you have to make in order to function fully in a world of extroverts? Tell your story here and encourage others to speak their truth and come out as highly sensitive persons.
Contact the Man’s Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org .