Should You Tell the People in Your Life You Are Highly Sensitive?

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In my opinion: NO.

Yesterday, someone found my blog by keying in “why is it ok to be a highly sensitive person if others have to tiptoe around them” into a search engine.

My first thought/question was “Why does the tiptoer even know that the person they’re tiptoeing around is highly sensitive?”

If you have discovered or suspect you are highly sensitive, why would you tell anyone?

Because I didn’t.

The people in my offline life do not know I consider myself highly sensitive.

I have never discussed it.

Only recently did I let a couple of people know I even have a blog.  They don’t even know what the blog is about and I don’t care if they know or read it.

I write about high sensitivity for me and other highly sensitive people.  I really do not care if non-HSPs understand it or even know about it.

I don’t think high sensitivity will EVER be considered a positive character trait to possess by most people in North America.  (Elsewhere it may be a more admirable trait.)

But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t positive.  I believe it is.

The power of high sensitivity comes from those who have the trait accepting it and leading with it.

It’s an inside job.

What does telling other people accomplish?

Once I accepted my high sensitivity, I finally realized I will always be triggered, bothered, irritated, annoyed, overwhelmed by SOMETHING or OTHER.  Always.  To expect the world and other people to change or understand me seemed childish and unrealistic.

I realized I’m not weird or spazzy.  I’m just really aware.  I just have to take care of myself and my sensitivity.  have to take it care of it.  No one else.

What does that mean?

It certainly doesn’t mean telling everyone how triggered, bothered, irritated, annoyed and overwhelmed by everything I am.

It simply means saying no.

It means saying “I don’t want to do that, thank you very much.”

It means if a situation is overwhelming or overstimulating, removing myself from it.  It means carrying my headphones wherever I go.

No tiptoeing required.

(And by the way, don’t we all tiptoe around some person in our lives, whether they’re sensitive or not?  Or is that just me?  I’ve always thought that when someone hurls the phrase “You’re too sensitive” at you, they’re usually being a jerk and they’re trying to tell you “how dare you be bothered by my jerky behavior”.  Or, “You’re too sensitive” means “I can’t handle your feelings … or my own.”)

Since I’ve started writing about being highly sensitive, I’ve found that I think about it less.  It’s less of an issue than it has been.  I’m almost not even aware of it because I take care of it.  I pay attention to it and it takes care of me.

I suspect that if someone has announced to people that they are highly sensitive and those people are now tiptoeing around that person, they might have a sensitive narcissist on their hands.  Just my opinion.

The Highly Sensitive Person’s motto should be:  Never complain.  Never explain.

MM

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15 thoughts on “Should You Tell the People in Your Life You Are Highly Sensitive?

  1. I’d hate if someone tiptoed around me or my kids since they knew that we are hsp. Yet I’ve told some friends about the trait – and they’re okay with it or don’t make an issue about it.
    People should know how a hsp sees/hears/etc. things is but putting oneself in line…! The atmosphere toward different ways of viewing life could be easier here in norhtern Europe and still I would not wish to become an icon to whole village of being what I am.
    Thank you for the blog – it helps me as a reader to further accept of how I persieve life and also to link to another culture unlike mine.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Katriina and I think I agree with you. People should understand how HSPs see things but all that means is an HSP should be themselves and stop trying to be like everyone else. It doesn’t mean telling everyone the reason you see things differently is because you are highly sensitive, if that makes sense. The label only helps HSPs. I don’t see the point of explaining it to other people. But again, that’s just my opinion.
      I am so happy that my blog helps you. I was just wondering if there’s any point to writing about what I write about and you’ve proven to me that there is.
      MM

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  2. I tell people who are close to me. That is people that already know that I am off the wall sensitive, like the poor guy who has had to live with me for 15 years! However, it would be very unlikely I would tell many others – they wouldn’t get it at all. They would think I was attention seeking or a drama queen, and simply would not understand. Great post!

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    1. STW…I totally agree. Most people in my life (I suspect) already think I’m odd. I really don’t think telling them I’m highly sensitive would help. I just can’t see it. The only people I would discuss it with are people who I already feel comfortable telling everything. That’s like one person.
      MM

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  3. I love this post!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I just recently discovered (via my therapist) that I am an HSP. I am struggling to figure out how to proceed, use it to my advantage and more. I have only told my hubby and best friend. I think my best friend is also an HSP that is why I wanted to share it with her. Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. I think the only time you should tell someone you’re highly sensitive is if you suspect they’re one as well. Or if you’re married to them, just as you did. I think your whole life will be better now that you realize you’re HSP and you embrace it completely.

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      1. I am doing my best to embrace it. I am still in the “reframing” stage so it’s a struggle. I can’t count how many times I have put my book down and wondered if HSP could explain this or that… Learning process for sure.

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  4. Thanks for a really great, insightful and empowering post! I loved reading it and also reading all of the comments of those who left replies. Yes, Melene, like you I don’t believe in telling others that I am a HSP what would be the point. It would be like showing my Achilles Heel. Yes, I learned a lot from reading Greek mythology!

    When someone tells me that I am “too sensitive”, especially in front of others, I too believe that they are just being boorish and rude and opinionated. I had a co-worker who was told in a group that she was “too sensitive”, and she replied to the person by saying ” Maybe you are too INsensitive…think about that!”

    Yes, there are times when I have to call on my “inner extrovert” and attend that party, go out with the group, go to the convention, etc. Then after that, I can relax.

    As to “tip toeing” around sensitive ppl, it seems that those with short anger fuses are the ones who seem to warrant “tip toeing”.

    Now I tend not to give ppl any clues about my sensitive nature, Only those who care about me, and are close to me know the real me……and of course Melene and the other respondents on this blog. Love this blog.

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    1. I agree — I find sensitive people get stepped on rather than tiptoed around. The most insensitive people are the ones you have to handle with care because honestly it’s a weakness not to care about how you come across to other people.

      You’re so encouraging and thoughtful Lauren. I’m happy to have you as a regular reader.

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