GUEST POST BY SHELBY STERN
You have been assigned a shape to carry in your hands. Without judgment, you carry it gently as you go along your way. However, you start to notice everyone else has the same uniform shape, different from your own. Before long, you realize yours is also difficult for them to understand, which confuses you because it makes complete sense to you.
Eventually, you start to worry if you have the wrong shape or if something is wrong since it's so different and misunderstood. Trying to change it does no good, and never feels quite right. Over time you start to bump into others with shapes similar to yours, showing you that maybe you aren’t the odd one out. After a while you start to learn that there was nothing wrong with the shape you have been carrying, just that some people get different shapes. There's nothing wrong with being different if you are true to yourself.
(Of course, now you have to unlearn a lot of self-doubt and fear you had, but it’s possible.)
For me at least, growing up as a Highly Sensitive Person was like that, and I am just now learning that it's okay to be sensitive. For so long, the word sensitive had come to feel like an insult and a trait I needed to hide.
Looking back, it seems as if I scowled at my shape, crumpled it, maybe even stepped on it before walking away. But it never left me. It still followed me home and stayed with me. Injured, lacking love, but there.
The only thing I truly injured was myself. Denying myself love and compassion because I was surrounded by not fitting in and thought there was something wrong with me. I thought maybe I was broken.
I want anyone else who feels like that to know that no matter how broken you feel, you aren't. You are perfectly and uniquely you. Growing up not realizing you are a Highly Sensitive Person, things can get confusing fast. With so much pressure to fit in, it's easy to start to wonder why you are different and try to suppress your emotions. But something I have learned is there is nothing wrong with having feelings or expressing your emotions. There is nothing wrong with feeling deeply either.
As Highly Sensitive People, we feel a lot and are often passionate about the things we love and care for. Sometimes, that passion can be misunderstood by others who don't feel the same way as us. To us, how we feel and how much we care about things makes complete sense. After enough time of not being understood we start to second guess our emotions, wondering if maybe we shouldn't feel as deeply as we do. Sometimes it can start to feel like you speak a different language than everyone else around you.
As I have grown, I've learned that feeling as deeply and being as passionate as I am has helped me in so many areas of my life. It helps me to connect and empathize with others and be a good listener. I can understand what they are going through, and do my best to let them feel heard.
Being passionate gives me the drive to not only go after my dreams and goals but keep after them until I accomplish them.
I also believe being an HSP could be why I can think so deeply and critically about issues regarding other’s experiences. Most of all, I have always had an abundance of love to give and do my best to be a good friend.
If you are a Highly Sensitive Person, I say embrace it. Once you start learning to show yourself some grace and understanding that you deserve, I think the chances of you seeing the benefits of being an HSP will increase. In the long run, you will be a lot happier with yourself and recognize the gifts being an HSP gives you.
Writer Bio: My name is Shelby Stern, and I am a freelance writer and poet. Over the last year I have learned that I am an HSP and have been on a journey to learn what that means, and how to better accept myself and my talents for what they are.
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