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Valuing Sensitivity as a Gift

You are so sensitive? Are you tired already? These and other comments from parents and teachers may have been well intended but could have caused you to wonder yourself, what is wrong with me? In this article we'll discuss how being a sensitive person is a normal human attribute and valuing sensitivity as a gift can change your relationship to it.

Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are born with a sensitive nervous system that allows them to notice subtleties inside and outside themselves, which impacts 20% of the population. HSPs process information more deeply, are more intuitive, conscientious and aware. They tend to be good with small children, plants and animals as well as any situation that requires the ability to notice subtleties. HSPs often have a rich inner life, lean towards spirituality, and have a concern for social justice.

In noticing subtleties in their environments it can naturally lead to being over stimulated. Loud noises, crowds, temperature fluctuation, and visual clutter can impact HSPs more than others. Their nervous systems are wired to pick up more information through their senses. No one functions well when they are overwhelmed. Because sensitive people can be overwhelmed more easily it is important to learn to take care of yourself.

The journey starts by beginning to notice what you do well because you are sensitive. Are you a good listener and trusted friend because you notice when others are upset? HSPs often excel at careers in teaching, counseling, or the healing arts. Noticing the subtle changes in others makes HSPs good at these professions. Are you skilled at music, art, or writing which requires noticing subtleties? Start a list and add on to it as it occurs to you.

Value your sensitivity by finding a balance of being out and busy in the world with down time to recharge. Schedule regular time away from busyness and let yourself sleep as much as possible. The nervous system needs minimal input to recover and recharge. Being outside in nature is a very rejuvenating activity. Start to track what helps you to feel centered so that you use your sensitivities to your advantage.

Learn more about being highly sensitive by reading Dr. Elaine Aron's many books on the subject. Start by taking the self assessment on her website:

Katharine offers classes as well as coaching to assist Highly Sensitive People. Contact her at to learn more.

Katharine Wismer, M.A. has worked as a teacher in many different forms throughout her life. Currently, she works independently designing and delivering leadership development and supervisory skills courses to government and corporate organizations. She enjoys: hiking, yoga, gardening, and meditation which help her recharge and use her sensitivity gifts in her career and personal life.


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