Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

October 8, 2015 — Leave a comment

Photo: Nancy Park, Makeup: Bebe Booth, Wardrobe: Naon Chun


At birth, humans become separated from Source, from God. We are all aware of our separation, but some of us are more sensitive to it than others. We sensitive souls feel an emptiness, a longing, what many of us refer to as “a hole in my soul.” We sense that something is missing but don’t know what it is. We long for relief from the aching void inside … but we’re confused about what will ease our existential dis-ease. – Dr. Peck

I used to sleep for hours. I would sleep because I didn’t like the dream I was in while awake. You may get what I mean, life is but a dream. The soft pillow and comforter enveloped me and I could return to the womb from which I wasn’t ready to come from. I say that because I had to be induced at the time of my birth on June 11, early 80’s. I was past due a good week and my dad had to sail away on his ship, with his crew, in the US Navy. I sometimes wonder if the drugs they used to force me into this world kept me in a Delta Wave length all my life. Well, until someone would wave their hand in front of my face and ask, “You ok?” This dream-like state made it easy for me to see between the parallel worlds, this one and the one beyond.

When I found ways to fully function in this realm, it often felt overwhelming. I never knew if what I was experiencing was a gift or a curse. Sometimes the line can be a bit blurry until we understand the functionality and purpose with experiences like this. Then a spiritual healer told me I was an Empath. The idea of what she described made sense to me, but I still didn’t totally buy into it. But then I took a Strength Finders test and my #2 strength was Empathy. So I started to read more into this.


Empaths – are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. – Judith Orloff


I remember visiting my Aunt Beverly Ann on the east side of San Antonio on a summer afternoon. I was no more than 7, and the little boy across the street sitting on his front step was the same age. I knew it. I also knew he was sad about something when he looked at me. I started to sob. He went inside and I stood there crying for him and said a little prayer.


It took me 2 more decades to realize that this constant emotional connection to people was in fact empathy. And there’s a global tribe of empaths out there. Empathy can morph so I had to really get to know this gift. It can feel like a physical pain in my body because the person next to me is dealing with the same physical pain. I can get a sudden thought about something that’s unfamiliar and doesn’t seem like “me” and it’s because I’m picking up on another’s thoughts. Empathy is a gift for connection but until I realized this I would separate myself because the world was “too painful” or “too frustrating”. When I say the world, I really mean the people inhabiting it.


Here are some of my favorite links for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People
  1. Home For the Highly Sensitive – Kate Read is highly sensitive and created this site to assist other HSP’s. Her Psychology degree and certification in Holistic Nutrition through Integrative Nutrition is the perfect combo and comes across in her articles and programs.
  2. Diet Guidelines For An HSP – Ah, food! It’s been such a focal point in my life for so long. I’m sure many of you can relate. If you are highly sensitive then you need to recognize that you can’t eat, wear, or consume the same products that others can. I’ve tried it all my life, and all of my life I’ve suffered unnecessarily because of it. You want to avoid stimulants and depressants, the things that cause highs and lows. Sorry, but caffeine, alcohol and processed sugar are going to have to vanish if you want to fully function in your gifting of sensitivity. It clogs the channel of creativity and thinking in general.
  3. Highly Sensitive & Creative – is about exploring the personal side of being a creative and highly sensitive person. Also has some material on shyness and introversion, which are not the same, but can interact with high sensitivity. You can sign up for their Free Guide: Resources For Creative People.


Naturally, an empath is a highly sensitive person “HSP”. Here is a thought-provoking body of research that compares orchids to sensitive people and dandelions to hardier people.

Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care.

So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success.

With a bad environment, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted or in jail—but with the right environment, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful and happy people.”

– from The Science of Success by David Dobbs

While I am a firm believer that our DNA can be altered through fitness, prayer, meditation and more, I find this theory intriguing because it speaks into the importance of nurture. I’m sure you can reflect on seasons in your life where your environment made all the difference, especially as a sensitive person. But the seasons where our environments aren’t conducive to our needs matures us in ways we can’t fathom.

Are some people born more sensitive than others? Or is this just a decision to tune into the great picture and let go of our egos? It’s possible to be sensitive to not only people, but nature, animals, locations (buildings and homes) and even food. From my experience it’s been about allowing your personal space and radar to be as wide as possible, but still have immediate protection around your being. This allows you to pick up on what others are feeling, but not allowing their emotions or thoughts to consume you and make you weak. It takes practice, but the more you practice it, it will become your new nature. The opening quote from Dr. Peck struck me deeply. But I’m grateful that I now recognize that I’m not separated from my Creator. In fact, the Creator walks so closely with me that I attribute this empathy to that close connection.

What’s your experience been like with sensitivity and empathy towards others?


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