During my Master's program, I conducted a research study on Highly Sensitive People that was inspired from the work of Elaine and Arthur Aron, PhD. Many people have heard of Highly sensitive personalities before, but there are many people that haven't. When this knowledge came to me, it was earth-shattering. All of my life I had experienced being highly sensitive around people and the environment. I never felt good in my body. I was constantly trying to change myself to fit the environment or to be the person someone else needed or wanted me to be. I didn't have much of an identity at all. What I really wanted was to be left alone, in a quiet place so I could do my own thing, which was usually listening to music, reading or being creative.
I was shy, not terribly shy, but bullied throughout my childhood. It was very painful. Even so, I remember that at times I was a happy little girl. I would sing while I was playing and danced around my home on my toes. I loved Jesus and felt as if the whole world was a miracle, I just didn't understand why people were so mean. As I grew up, my isolation got much worse. I became depressed, suicidal, begged and prayed that God Himself would come and rescue me from my life! I lost hope and emotionally shut down and begin a path of self-destruction.
People who are highly sensitive are not weak or neurotic, in fact, their intuition is often so strong that they actually possess amazing gifts that sometimes are never fully realized or shared. One of the hallmarks of people who are Highly Sensitive, are people who experience repeated trauma in their childhood. Being unaccepted or neglected by the family of origin or by society can feel excruciatingly painful to a Sensitive because what they seek are deep connections with other people.
Sensitives are the people that make the best of friends, the person you can trust to keep your deepest secrets, the one who you can tell your life story to without feeling ashamed. They are the people in your life that call you just as you were thinking about them, or show up just at the right time. However, there is a price that a Sensitive pays when they aren't able to take care of themselves. Because they are often caretakers and supporters, they often neglect themselves to the point of exhaustion. Many Sensitives have chronic fatigue symptoms or fybromyalgia, which is due (in my experience and research) to over stimulation of the adrenal and sympathetic nervous systems, however, there is hope, there are treatments and therapy that can help so that health and well-being is possible.
Education is key in healing the mind-body-spirit connection in people who are Highly Sensitive; the first step includes awareness and validation. If you are Highly Sensitive, there is nothing inherently wrong with you, there is a reason why you don't feel like you fit in with your family or society as a whole, and there is no escaping your gift to the world. There is a tremendous need for Sensitives in this crazy, angry, and darkened world. There is a light that waiting to be shined and it is within you.