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7 reasons why being highly sensitive is your super-power

People with eating disorders often have the trait of being highly sensitive. This means that you have thin skin in experiencing the world. Your senses are heightened to stimuli – with noises, smells, feelings, sights, and tastes being felt in technicoloured brightness. At times, this can feel overwhelming and unbearably intense.

Growing up, you may have felt separate from your peers and as though you didn’t fit in. What others perceived as little molehills, may have felt monstrous in comparison to you, with transitions, life changes and challenging life events leaving you discombobulated and unsettled.

Being highly sensitive can leave you isolated and alone in your experiences. You may have been unhelpfully labelled as ‘too much’ or ‘overly sensitive or 'emotional’, resulting in you hiding aspects of yourself or feeling a deep sense of shame.

You may have compared yourself to others, thinking that you should be extrovert, thicker skinned and less sensitive.

You may have come to view your sensitivity as a cumbersome disadvantage that makes life excruciatingly unbearable at times.

Highly sensitive people are often extremely creative and can access right-brain thinking. 

Anthon St. Maarten says:

"Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate."

I want to talk about seven advantages of being highly sensitive so that you can embrace this part of yourself and see it as your super-power.

1. Empathy

You will have high levels of empathy, being moved significantly by the emotions of others. This means that you are exemplary at standing in someone else’s shoes and understanding how they feel.

It allows you to connect and be close with others and they will respond positively to your empathy and can be vulnerable and open, in your presence. It offers you the ability to be a wonderful friend.

2. Reflective 

You show high levels of self-awareness and can talk about your own reflections and musings, when in the right environment. You relate past and present events with meaning, insight and understanding, assisting you in piecing the jigsaw of life together. You’ll often delight in speaking with another sensitive soul about these subjects, revelling in the deeper connection, experienced in these interactions.

Illustration of two people on bench

3. Intuition

You are intuitive, which means that you can ‘feel’ the answer to a problem or situation, this coming from a deeper knowing rather than drawing on rational evidence. This can be like a sixth sense that gently nudges you in decision making.

4. Concentration and learning

Highly sensitive people are often extremely creative and can access right-brain thinking. This means that you can be excellent at using your fine motor skills with art, music or sewing. You’re also able to concentrate deeply (when in a calm and settled environment) and enjoy the process of being alone and completely absorbed in an activity.

5. Creating harmony and joy for others

As you process events and information deeply, you react to emotions such as curiosity, anticipation, excitement, joy and contentedness, with passion. You enjoy spreading the emotional ripples of these happy feelings and creating situations where people can share and revel together.

For example, you might be good at organising a fabulous party or birthday surprise for a friend, although you may baulk at the idea of being on the receiving end of this yourself.

6. Conscientious

You are acutely aware of other people around you and will be considerate of them. If you are collecting your baggage at the airport, you will step aside and let someone get their bag first. If someone is upset in your vicinity, you will notice this and possess a desire to help.

7. Spiritual 

You may find meaning in life through spirituality. This does not necessarily mean organised religion but more that you relate to wider humanity and having a deeper sense of purpose or meaning to life. You are concerned with the bigger problems and how we all relate. You may wonder, "Why are we here?" and "What is my life’s purpose?"

If you recognise yourself in these points, begin to embrace your highly sensitive traits as superpowers. Let go of past judgements, where you have been misunderstood or criticised for being this way. Seek out other highly sensitive people to share and delight in the rainbow of life experiences that are available to you.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Harriet Frew

Harriet Frew is a counsellor specialising in eating disorders and body image. She has worked in the NHS and private practice since 2003, and is passionate about supporting and educating others through therapy, writing and social media.
Instagram: @the_eating_disorder_therapist; Podcast - The Eating Disorder Therapist… Read more

Written by Harriet Frew

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