After reading Elaine Aron’s book the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I not only understood myself and but felt empowered by what previously were self-perceived as vulnerabilities.
According to Dr Aron, a HSP is someone who processes sensory information more deeply. They may be more introverted, more easily startled, and feel pain more easily. It can be hard to live like this in an extrovert’s world. Yet, these attributes are balanced by feeling empathy, noticing subtleties more, and are sensitive to others’ needs. Often mistaken as ‘shy,’ the sensory differences merely mean these people function best in when not watched for example.
It is interesting that scientifically extroverts perform better when stimulated, but introverts do best when relaxed.
Up to one in five people may be classified as a HSP, mostly introverts.
However, this trait exists on a continuum.
The book empowers those who felt their shyness was a fault, and see it instead as a strength. It teaches the HSP to cope with stress best, such as when multi-tasking. It teaches the sensitive person to find their place contributing best in the world by managing their emotions, their surroundings and their stress levels to name.
Many writers, I guess, are HSPs. For example, do you easily startle? Can you easily pick up on the emotions of others? Are you easily moved by music or art? Do you feel pain easily?
As you can probably collect, there are advantages and disadvantages of being a HSP.
This book by no means suggests that HSPs are ‘weaker.' The difference is in the biology of the nervous system.
For example, some people will play a piano recital best when in front of a large audience. Others will do best when alone.
As an introvert, guessing that many writers are also this way, I highly recommend this book. It is empowering and most importantly practical. It puts forth practical suggestions that work about how to use their HSP trait to their advantage.
It changes a ‘shy’ to ‘sensitive biologically’ - a paradigm shift which makes sense when scientifically explained by Dr Aron.