Friday, September 30, 2011

HSPs, Discomfort and Learning

It has been a while since I have written, and I am taking a little sidetrack today, to address an issue that comes up from time to time.

I have had a few emails and private messages, telling me that I seem to take HSPs to task a lot, and that I'm often critical and make (some) people feel uncomfortable with what I post.

On occasion, the feedback I get is that I'm not being "supportive" of people who are HSPs, and I am "no better" than those out in the world who tell us that we're "too sensitive" and we need to "get over it." In other words, I "should" be more sensitive and gentle with people.

I do take criticism and feedback seriously.

This feedback made me step back and ponder the entire foundation for "learning," and the process by which we grow-- as people-- regardless of whether we're Highly Sensitive, or not.

Growth is painful. Change-- REAL change-- is not only difficult, it can be painful.

Ever heard the saying "The truth will set you free... but first it'll piss you off?" Lot of truth in that statement.

What I am getting at, here... is that if you read these pages and it feels a bit like some part of what you believe in has been "attacked" somehow... sit back and consider where those feelings are coming from. Often, when something upsets us, we're actually faced with "a point of learning;" a place in our lives where we are about to look at what might be a truth about us we'd rather not look at or face.

As HSPs-- or, for that matter, as people in general-- it does not help us grow if everyone around us coddles our dysfunctions. Some would argue that it's not compassionate to tell someone the truth if that truth hurts a person... but what is really gained by allowing someone to remain eternally stuck in a cycle of pain and unhappiness?

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not advocating that we be brutal or cruel in examining the truth... just that we strive to be honest. And not allow ourselves to be complacent, or to "hide" behind platitudes. For HSPs, what this often involves is honest assessment of what it means (for each individual person) to be Highly Sensitive... and accepting and dealing with the fact that our Social Anxiety (just using this as an example-- of an actual disorder) is NOT "just part of being an HSP" so we don't get to just "write it off" as something we don't need to deal with.

Much as we perhaps would like to...


  1. Hi Peter,
    I think you are tackling a challenging subject because it is not always easy to know when we are accepting limitations and when we are letting ourselves off the hook. I personally think we HSP's have to accept our limitations without letting ourselves off the hook, but I also recognize that with all our challenges, you can only do so much and take on so much at any one time.

    I also think as an HSP that most of the time I am outside my comfort zone. Perhaps I am trying to do too much. Given that everything takes energy I think we need to be mindful about stepping outside our comfort zone because too much overload will not create a positive result. I personally think that HSP's can benefit from serial personal growth challenges. In taking that approach they can develop their strengths with some chance of success by avoiding excessive stress.

    I hope this helps.

    HSP Stress Relief

  2. 2 days back, my best friend (who's not a v.sensitive person) told me about one of my negative traits in a way that offended me a lot (I'm an HSP).
    Though what she said was partly true & I decided to take it into consideration, I'm still hurt.

    The point is: Criticism is a necessity, but it should be told nicely & the words should be chosen carefully so that it doesn't hurt a lot.

    Thanks for the post, it relieved me a bit :)

  3. Peter - care to share with us the "point of learning" that prompted you to write this post? Don't dump your own pain on others, especially with a subject this difficult.

    I think with HSPs you have to be very careful about defining "dysfunction." Many of our traits are perceived as dysfunctional by mainstream society, but are in fact normal for us.


What's YOUR opinion and experience? Please leave a comment (Please note that comments are moderated to keep spam out).

Support My Patreon!

If you enjoyed your visit to HSP Notes and found something of value here, please consider supporting my Art and Creativity Patreon account. Although it was created primarily to generate support for my ART, there is a special $2 support level for HSP Notes readers! Look for the link in the right hand column... and thank you!