If you have the opportunity to fall in love with a highly sensitive person (HSP), you are blessed beyond measure … and … there are a few challenges you’ll need to learn how to manage.
Highly Sensitive People comprise 20% of the population. Seventy percent of all highly sensitive people are introverts.
Take the quiz to see if you or your beloved is a highly sensitive introvert.
1. Your HSP may have a long history of being misunderstood, and that can leave them feeling sad and lonely. They may feel like a unicorn. Dr. Elaine Aron, a prominent HSP researcher, calls HSP’s the Priest Class of society. They are the deep thinkers, the visionaries, the healers, the counselors, the teachers, and the social change agents who want to make the world a better place. They think outside the box. You can help by listening to your HSP as deeply as they listen to you.
2. Highly sensitive people are naturally empathic. They can tune into you and feel what you feel … sometimes even when you don’t know what you are feeling. They can finish your sentence for you. They can pinpoint the word that dangles on the tip of your tongue. They can look into your heart and sense your deepest dreams and sorrows. They can sense what you like in the bedroom and merge into oneness with you. If you want to be understood in depth, fall in love with an HSP.
3. Younger HSPs with an insecure attachment style probably have not learned how to maintain a solid sense of Self. It’s easy to lose themselves in a relationship. They don’t know how to ground themselves and set energetic boundaries. They may be so busy people-pleasing that they don’t know their own identity. They can become overwhelmed with the intensity of your emotions and their own. They might feel responsible for trying to solve your problems. This can cause fatigue, anxiety, depression and a host of other physical dis-eases. Let them know that you are responsible for solving your own problems while you appreciate their support and ideas. Invite their collaboration when you have shared challenges. Don’t dominate them or make decisions for them. Encourage them to think for themselves and tune into their values, thoughts, body and emotions.
4. Highly Sensitive People are extremely sensitive to criticism, especially those who grew up with a caregiver who didn’t meet their emotional needs. They probably developed an insecure attachment style. They’re good at reading your non-verbal cues such as tone of voice and facial expressions. You may not realize the impact your stern words have on your beloved HSP, especially if their top love language is “words of affirmation.” Use a softer tone of voice, and your HSP will be able to hear you better. Otherwise, they’ll get flooded and won’t be able to understand you. Getting louder makes things worse.
5. Sometimes HSPs bottle up conflict until they can’t stand the pressure, and then they blow up. They get defensive, trying to protect their soft underbelly … or trying to protect an underdog. Be gentle with your HSP instead of getting defensive. Encourage them to self-soothe and then talk about it. You do the same.
6. HSPs like harmony and peace. Help them feel safe to risk sharing their inner conflicts. Reassure them of your steadfast bond before you roach a conflict. Promise them that they can bring up anything and that you will do your best to listen and understand them. If you have a conflict with other people, they may try to be the peace-maker. They’re gifted at intuitively reading everyone’s feelings, especially underdogs.
7. HSPs who were raised in a family where they felt seen, heard and respected grow up to be just as confident and secure as non-HSPs. They know how to have healthy relationships.
8. HSPs are creative. There are all kinds of ways of being creative, not just artwork. They may write, enjoy music, dance, be a gifted mathematician or an IT geek. Support their creativity and show an interest. Your beloved HSP will light up. HSPs are visionaries and dreamers. They see ideal scenarios in their minds and yearn to make them come true. Support their dreams whenever you can. Your HSP might benefit from guidance on practical action steps to move toward success.
9. HSPs need daily downtime, especially if they are introverts. Support your HSP to meditate mid-day or take a siesta every day. You’ll be glad you did. They’ll be a lot calmer through the rest of the day. HSP’s carry anxiety because their cat-like whiskers pick up sensory data from the environment that non-HSPs miss. They get over-stimulated. Don’t be offended when they need time alone. That’s how they restore their energy. They need private time to process their thoughts and creative ideas.
10. Most HSPs prefer calming activities like a hike through the forest to a waterfall vs. a loud rock concert. Small gatherings where they can have meaningful conversations with warm-hearted people make them happy. Don’t try to make them stay out late at large parties. They’ll get cranky and over-stimulated. Find a way to compromise, i.e., create solutions that are acceptable to both of you.
11. HSPs experience intense feelings that fire longer than non-HSPs. This can be challenging for you if you are not comfortable with the whole range of emotions from joy to sorrow. Learn how to stay grounded. Get counseling early in your relationship so you both learn how to process uncomfortable emotions in a healthy way. This investment will yield returns for the rest of your lives.
12. HSPs need deep meaningful relationships, not surface chit-chat. If you don’t already know how, learn to speak from your heart. Look into each other’s eyes, and gaze into the windows of your souls. Share your vulnerability and your strength. Bring your whole self to the table. Take the risks to open up and encourage your beloved to do the same.
Well, there you have it. This has been a quick overview of Highly Sensitive Person traits … how you will benefit from them … and how you can help your beloved HSP and your relationship thrive. It may not be the easiest thing, but a relationship with an HSP can be the most rewarding relationship you’ll ever have.
To read more about HSP Strengths and Struggles, click here.
To apply for a Highly Sensitive Person Retreat, please read the details here.
For more help to understand the trait of high sensitivity and to participate in counseling, life coaching or retreats for HSPs and their partners, visit www.SensitiveIntrovert.com.
Benita A. Esposito, MA is the author of the bestseller, The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self available on Amazon.
The kindle, paperback and audiobook were bestsellers on Amazon for 18 months and have sold over 8,400 copies as of April 2022. As a highly sensitive person herself, Benita can easily understand you, your challenges and your beautiful gifts. Zoom videoconferences are available worldwide. If you’d like to reach Benita Esposito, please complete the Contact Form.
Copyright 2022. All rights reserved. The Esposito Institute, Inc. You may print a copy of this article for your own personal use. You may share it for non-commercial purposes as long as you list the author’s name and website: Benita A. Esposito. www.SensitiveIntrovert.com. For commercial reprint, contact Benita A. Esposito.