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The truth about Highly Sensitive People
The Princess and the Pea is a famous fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. It is a story of how a princess was tested for her royal lineage. Looking for a suitable match for her son, a queen invites the woman to her palace and tests her 'royalty' by placing a tiny pea under a mountain of mattresses. The Princess complains that she is unable to sleep because there is something hard that is bruising her when she lies down. Clearly, only a royal woman would have such sensitivity! The Princess and the Pea went on to become a reference in modern English to express a person's high sensitivity.

The truth about Highly Sensitive People

HSPs are often labelled as ‘drama queens’ or ‘pushovers’. Here’s what you need to know about them.

By Zawjah Ali

Karachi, Pakistan

 

I feel too much

Every word stabs

Every action is fierce

Every wound turns into a scar

Every offense causes blues

There are extremes – highs and lows

The skin is thin; the nerves raw

Crying is my outlet, withdrawal my defense

But sensitivity doesn’t make me weak

Everyone is valuable in their own way and is unique

When sarcasm isn’t rude

Why are HSPs pseud?

 

Ever heard of the term HSP? It’s short for Highly Sensitive People.

No? Never? Alright, but you’ve definitely met them at least once in your life.

They are the people who will brood over little things, a high pitch tears them apart, they are masters in detecting your emotions before you do, they feel and react differently, their nerve cells are hyperactive and they absorb surrounding energy like a sponge.

The fact is that highly-sensitive people face a tough battle –  internally and externally. Here is how HSPs view themselves and how others (usually) view HSPs.

It is dangerous disease that will ruin all your good deeds. (2)

Because of distorted information and misconceptions, HSPs are given wrong advice, which in turn accelerates the problem. They are asked to be patient, not take things to heart, forgive and forget, shift focus and be grateful. The fact of the matter is that biological makeup is often overlooked when dealing with HSPs.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚوَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

“O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (Indeed) doing wrong.”

(Qur’an 49:11)

In our misguided attempt to advise them we often ignore what HSPs might be expecting from us. So, let’s appreciate a little bit what goes through the mind of a highly sensitive person and what they need the most.

What HSPs need the most:

  • Validation of their emotions
  • Empathy
  • Kind words
  • Assurance
  • No judgements!

No one is perfect; your weakness might be another person’s strength. HSPs are gifted in their own way. In fact, these emotional people are blessed because of their sensitivity. Here are four ways in which they excel:

  1. Greater empathy – This makes them good at observation and understanding. They can easily read between the lines and see behind the walls people put up. This quality makes them great therapists, teachers and managers.
  2. They are highly aware of their own emotions. As an HSP, I remember how when I conceived for the first time, I knew it right away. My body communicated with me. I even felt the attachment of the zygote to my uterus. My doctor was surprised to know this.
  3. HSPs are highly aware of their inner self and emotions and thus can take better care of themselves. It requires courage to accept what you feel and react to those emotions. It is strength, HSPs do not fabricate.
  4. Albert Einstein stated creativity is intelligence having fun. HSPs excel in creative work. Their aesthetic approach marvels. They are superb at mixing colour and its variation.

The fact is that if you know someone who is a highly sensitive person, you would know this about them – they can detect even the slightest change in tone, expression, words or gestures. They have a killer ability to sense your truest feelings, which is bad for people around them *cough* *cough*.

If you have now realised that somebody you had called a Drama Queen or a crybaby was in fact an HSP, go back and speak with them with this new appreciation of who they are. Because the fact is that while HSPs are extremely forgiving and emotionally intelligent, you cannot expect them to be empathetic and to shower their unconditional love and care regardless of how you treat them.

When you can’t handle HSPs at their worst, you don’t deserve them at their best either.

About Zawjah Ali

The author is a mother of two with a passion for dawah through her writing. She wishes to link the principles of psychology (a study that offers keys to a lot of the locks we come across in life) with Islam. She writes under the name Zawjah Ali.

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