HSP: How to Explain High Sensitivity to People Who Won’t ‘Get’ It

“But what does it really mean?” is probably one of the most common questions I get after mentioning that I am HSP. The reactions have varied throughout the years, what has risen to my attention is the lack of knowledge is universally disregarded. Only 15-20% of the worlds population are highly sensitive people, read below to learn if you’re one of us.

It’s challenging to wrap your head around it, I understand, but I don’t have anything else to compare to since I’ve always been this way. I don’t know how it is to not be sensitive. But first off, let’s start with a declaration. I don’t suffer from anything. HSP isn’t something you suffer from, it’s not a diagnosis.

The tone around being HSP is different in countries where the culture is close to their feelings in comparison to Sweden. It’s getting better here, but you should preferably not speak about feelings. You might “kill the vibe”, one could say that it hasent been culturlay accept until these past years when mental health started to become a more frequently discussed matter.

If you have grown up in a family where emotions aren’t discussed, you most likely heard that you’re broken. Too sensitive. The stigma can continue all the way to adulthood. The biggest challenge is a matter of perspective. HSP experience different from others. Sounds that may be experienced as background noise can be intrusive to a highly sensitive person.

Others can’t relate, which only adds to the feeling of not being trustworthy, because others don’t have the ability to experience the world with enhanced senses.

What everybody should know about being HSP

Being highly sensitive means that ones nerve system is more sensitive to stimuli. That translates to that not only are we emotionally sensitive but also receptive to others emotions.


1. HSP nerve system differs from others

In fact, we’re sensitive to all typed of stimuli. That includes light, sounds, but also subtle signals such as body language or the tone of a voice. HSP download information and see various nuances, which can be good as well as less good.


2. being HSP is genetic

Some may argue that “it’s in your head” or that it’s something you picked up during childhood. Although surroundings affect sensitivity, it’s first and foremost genetic; which means that HSP are born wired like that.   HSP tends to have foundational differences in the brain, including highly active mirror-neurons–the part of the brain that help us feel empathy for others.


3. “sensitive” doesn’t necessarily mean “emotionally sensitive”, but sometimes it does 

Its true that HSP tends to have a stronger emotional answer than others. Partly, its based on noticing more emotional signals that other lack. Partly because HSP process on a deeper level. Imagine feeling every emotion five times stronger than you do normally. That’s how it can feel when you’re HSP.


4. too much stimuli can be overwhelming.

By noticing and processing every detail around them, to not speak about their own inner thoughts and feelings, makes a HSP far more cognitive work than most people. Brains get tiered, especially when working overtime, especially when there are constant distractions. The feeling of being over-stimulated and overworked is something many identify with; but can happen easier to a HSP.

HSP needs a private place to re-charge, they seek out quieter corners at work and in general if possible. Too much exposure to non-stop stimuli can make a HSP crash.


5. being HSP comes with many advantages

Some things on the list may sound as less, but then again its about perspective and to handle your sensitivity. Being HSP is fully normal and healthy state.  You are not broken! Don’t let ANYONE make you believe less- don’t allow others lack of understanding affect you. Here’s a few advantages I’ve noticed


-       HSP tends to be extremely creative and create art and music that really moves one.

-       They’re empathic and can understand and relate to almost anything – often times also the people turn to for security and advice.

-       HSP see’s connections details that other miss out, they’re highly intuitive.


By embracing out traits we learn how to handle the outside world; which contribute to feeling more at peace within oneself. All HSP wrestles with feeling overwhelmed, by taking time to understand a HSP we can make the process more easeful rather than questioning it.


If you are highly sensitive, consider sharing this article with someone in your life. The more we proactively work to raise the awareness, the more people are going to see that sensitivity equals strength.

SoulATChsp, soulComment