High sensitivity looks like taking a slice of cake over to your elderly neighbour and then coming home and having to sit on your bed and cry for ten minutes because he had a bit of his dinner round his mouth and it was so hot in his house and because these things bring it home to you that he is very elderly and will one day be gone from this physical form and even though you barely know him you feel such a deep love for him and so you cry for the love and the inevitable loss.
It looks like, right before you’re about to go to bed, having a sudden thought about a starving child or species under threat on the other side of the world and tears falling to your pillow as you find sleep.
It looks like loving the world and every single being in it so much that there is a real, physical pain inside your heart.
It looks like being called moody, difficult, fussy, stubborn or highly strung, when more than likely you’re just highly overwhelmed.
It looks like flakiness when it comes to career and work because you’re easily bored and are interested in just about everything and are constantly pulled to explore new things and choosing just one thing feels like a death sentence.
It looks like people saying to you, ‘Wow, is there anything you’re not good at?’, whilst you yourself feel that you’re good at nothing at all.
It looks like being met with blank, confused stares when you dare to open up and express something about the way you really see the world and the way we live and then feeling totally alone because no one else seems to experience things the way you do.
It looks like desperately wanting to take care of everyone and knowing that you absolutely cannot take care of everyone and then feeling ashamed and guilty that you are taking care of no one.
It looks like having exceptionally high standards and being often disappointed that the rest of the world does not seem to have high standards, or even moderately high standards, or even any standards at all.
It looks like a constant search to find a way of crafting your diverse and unique gifts into a functioning life in a world that wants you to specialise in just one thing.
It looks like crying at sunrises, sunsets, bugs, birds, rain, snow, blades of grass, the ocean, the clouds…
It looks like having to get changed five times before you leave the house because ‘that’ item of clothing just didn’t feel comfortable.
It looks like needing inward time alone after every external event in order to process all the information that’s just entered your world. You need to join the dots and find out how this now connects to everything else because you know that somehow, it does connect to everything else.
It looks like having intangible gifts that the world desperately needs but doesn’t know it needs…yet.
It looks like having a deep drive to explore the big questions of life: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Is there a meaning to life? Why do we suffer?
It looks like being told you’re too idealistic and for a while you think maybe they’re right and then you wonder why those people aren’t more idealistic themselves and why they seem happy to settle for the poor performance of the human species when you know we are capable of doing so much better.
It looks like assuming that everyone else experiences the world in the same way as all of the above when really, truly, not everyone thinks and feels this way at all.
My dear sensitive soul, my kindred spirit, my like-hearted friend, sometimes I have those beautiful spiritual experiences where all the labels we have disappear and I fall into that space where high sensitivity does not even exist and is not important at all.
And then there is this level, the human bag of bones level where we have all come here with different gifts and traits and temperaments. Here, at this level, high sensitivity is real and it needs to be cherished and honoured. And so I say I see you, I know you and I hope you know how needed you are, no matter how much the opposite it sometimes feels.
What you have are not flaws that need fixing. What you have are gifts that need to be given wings.
Love and courage,
TOTAL EMPATHY … apart from 1) changing my clothes at least five times before I venture out, as a t-shirt and jeans always works for me, and 2) no-one ever tells me that I’m good at anything 🙂
But I cry at everything …
Brilliant post Leah – brilliant x
All the things you mention
Oh Symon, I am yet to experience a comfortable pair of jeans! But I like your simple pairing that always works. I’m sure I’ve told you how amazed I am at your prolific writing skills and how you just seem to be able to write book after book after book whilst I am still pondering just the next blog post! You are good at remembering people, caring about people, loving people. These are just some of things I know you are good at. All the things that make the world a better place. Glad to know you could relate to this post so much! xx
Oh yes the overwhelm!
Oh the sheer beauty!
Oh the “too fussy “ comments.
And more and more and more.
So much of what you write describes my sensitivity to a t❤️
Thank you so much for describing how being an HSP feels. For years I just thought it was me!
My pleasure Francesca! I love you and your sensitivity and the way it is expressed in the world! Sending a big hug from north to south xx
Catriona Blair Noble
I have been feeling called to comment on just about the last 4 of your blog posts, and somehow then convinced myself I didn’t have the time, and probably didn’t have the words either, so didn’t!
Well blaaaah to that!
I relate to this SO much, and it is always so deeply comforting and validating to hear a fellow HSP describe their experiences of life. I really feel you are a friend I’ve never met! 😊
I am having a tough time with my mental health at the moment, and though I know on that deeper level my gifts are of value, I’m finding it hard to stay tuned into that a lot of the time just now, so I really value your reminder.
With love & understanding,
I agree Catriona! I never fail to be amazed by how comforting and helpful it is just to hear someone describe an experience of being in the world that is similar to my own so I’m really happy to know this post did that for you. And like you say, sometimes, even though you know and have experienced that deep level of the value of your gifts, we don’t always live in that knowing and aren’t always connected to it which is why I guess we all have to remind each other because sometimes I need reminding and sometimes you need reminding, and really we all need the love and reminders of one another. Sending much love to you, my kindred spirit in the beautiful land of Scotland. xx
Catriona Blair Noble
…and here are my tears!
I think this whole comment thread is a big collective of beautiful HSP tears! 😉
Yes, let’s all keep reminding each other!
We came here with these gifts for a reason – "if you don’t feel you fit in the world it’s because you are here to create a new one" – and we do that just by being & expressing our full selves and embracing all aspects of ourselves.
Yes, we must! Our tears are healing medicine for ourselves, for one another, for the world. And yes, embracing all aspects of ourselves – I love that and really feel the important of it. Ah, what a beautiful thread of comments, yes.
Oh my gosh Leah,
I read that and thought you somehow got in to mind and heart and saw me and wrote this afterward. These words are me. I have written nearly the same ones dozens of times in my journal and to people close to me, to people who I thought could help me find out what the heck was wrong with me. It’s almost scary to know there is someone so like me. Like a twin my Mother had forgotten to tell me about. It’s so nice to read what you have written and know I’m not alone.
I’m cried when I read your words and I cry while writing mine.
Hello Debbie! Oh, I love it when it feels like I’ve actually been inside someone’s head 🙂 As you see from the comments, you have more than one twin in this world. I’m always amazed how I can feel so alone with my thoughts, feelings and experience sometimes, only to realise that there is definitely a community of people who experience life in such an incredibly similar way. I cried reading your words too! The tears never stop…Sending you lots of love xx
I needed this, Leah. So much I could say, but for now, thank you.
Oh, it’s my pleasure, Carmien. Also, what an absolute delight to hear from you. Sending you a big hug and lots of love. xx
So feel and resonate with this one.
I’m glad to hear this Zara. Miss your smile but imagining it in my head as I type 🙂 Sending lots of love. xx
Absolutely fricking incredible! Spot on!!
I love you Dawn! I’m so glad this rang so true for you! xx
It helps to have words put to my frequent feelings.
Thank you Bonnie, I’m so glad to know this. Sending you lots of love. xx
Hi Leah,I liked the way all that flowed out of you, something for everyone. I really got it.
A few years ago I was watching a nature program, it was about some remote island and its wildlife.
Sadly it had suffered a natural fire and many animals had
perished, along with trees and plants.
There in the charred landscape was a single solitary crab, trying to manoeuvre its claw to break off and eat this one little green shrub, that had somehow survived the flames.
Suddenly I didn’t exist. For a few moments I loved that poor little hungry crab more than anything else in the world. I would have done anything for it.
I noticed I was crying. I very rarely cry for myself, it’s always for someone or something else.
I didn’t expect I would ever get upset over a crab, but that night I did, and this is the first time I’ve ever talked about it.
You will understand this completely of course.
Wow, Geoff, what a devastatingly beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes just to hear you recounting the story about that solitary little crab. I totally feel you on that feeling of in that moment loving that little crab more than anything in the world and that you would have done anything for it. Thank you SO much for sharing this story here. You keep well too, sensitive soul.