A few weeks back I blogged about the traits of an empath. Being an empath can be nurtured or inherited genetically. Unfortunately some people become empaths as a way of surviving childhood trauma. I liken it to developing a super power as a child. Having the skill to check the emotional temperature in a room can protect a child from walking into a potentially violent situation.
Empaths can also be Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s) but they do not necessarily go hand in hand. HSP is a biological personality trait. Roughly, 20% of the population is HSP. They are often described as introverts but they can be an extroverted.
HSP’s have sensory sensitivities. They can be sensitive to any and/or all environmental stimuli. They can get overwhelmed and require quiet time to recharge after a day of life interactions. If you are HSP and empathic, everyday life can be challenging to process.
Imagine walking into a room full of people and you hear chatter in your head and begin to feel nauseous. You feel the person next to you is very sad. You feel the depth of their despair and it makes you sad. You begin to feel tired. The lights are so bright in the room that you have to squint to see. The lighting is hurting your eyes. The cologne from the guy standing 10 feet away is assaulting your olfactory senses and burning your nose. You feel a headache coming on from the smell. Someone across the room is smiling and chatting yet you know that they are depressed. Their heart is hurting. Your heart begins to literally ache. The music is so loud you cannot focus. The words in the song and the voice feel very negative and your mood drops lower. You begin to feel hungry and find your way to the food bar but all they are serving is gumbo and you hate slimy okra. You begin to get angry because you are hungry and need to eat soon. All your senses are on fire and the room begins to close in on you. You feel like you cannot breathe and you are overwhelmed both physically and emotionally. This is a typical scenario for the empath who also happens to be highly sensitive. Life can be overwhelming by simply going to the grocery store or anywhere where there are big crowds. Sensory overload happens and you retreat to a quiet place.
Are you Highly Sensitive? If you can relate to most of these, then you are more than likely HSP.
This is not a complete list of HSP traits but if you can identify with most of these, you are more than likely an HSP. If you are both an empath and HSP, there are ways you can offset the unavoidable situations in life. It is important to do radical self care. HSP and being an empath can seem like a curse at times but the world needs us, especially right now. Do not be afraid to be the rare unicorn that you are! On my next blog, I’ll dive into tools that can help you to do self care and utilize your senstivities in a positive way.