In this post I want to shed some food for thought on HSPs (Highly sensitive persons) and their traits. It is widely known that there is simply not just one type of intelligence, we all excel in different areas of life. A type of intelligence that is almost always attributed to HSPs in some regard is emotional intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent enables you a deeper understanding about human functioning and connectivity in the world. You have a greater understanding of how people around you function and why they do the things they do.
It can also give you a deeper understanding about the things you do yourself. HSPs are often feeler type personalities which is why EI (emotional intelligence) tends to be highly developed among us. As a feeler you are more sensitive emotionally then others and even thought you have a heightened EI understanding, you can easily have bouts where you might experience an difficulty controlling your feelings and maybe even act highly irrational at times. Extroverted feeling personalities in MBTI (INFJ/ENFJ primarily) often run into problems here since they are highly emotional but also extrovert their feelings and judgments. This combination can result in heated situations where you act according to feelings and when the situation has passed you might feel you overreacted or acted unreasonable. Fortunately these type of personalities are also concerned about the well-being of others and often seek out to correct any wrongdoings they might have done others. This is important since they value their morals and doing others wrong will in turn cause themselves great emotional pain.
Statistics tell us that most highly intelligent individuals are also HSPs. We are talking about the population here which is considered the top 2%. It seems to be a common tread that an increased sensitivity to stimuli equals greater understanding of concepts, theories and the outside world. It is said that around 15% of the population is highly sensitive to some degree. About 35-50% of the population is introverts. Introverts belongs to the majority among the gifted population, and the top 2% contains almost exclusive introverted, intuitive HSPs.
What people outside these minorities fail to grasp is that being an HSP and especially an gifted HSP also comes with a hefty price. Belonging to a minority often isolates you from the rest. Most humans find security in what is familiar and reject what is not, same functioning as many other animals on this planet. In other words being different can push you away from the norm and make relationships that much harder.
Heightened sensitivity to stimuli is a neurological trait which you are born with and not something that can be changed. Unfortunately for HSPs even thought our brains work differently the world around us still works as suitable for non HSPs. We are expected to think, act, feel and produce results just like other people even though we are not. A heightened sensitivity is not because our sensing organs like eyes, ears or nose are more developed then other people. The sensitivity comes from a lower threshold for stimuli. In other words we need less of everything when other people need more to reach the same level of excitement, feelings or understanding. HSPs don’t need many cups of coffee to get them focused. Watching TV doesn’t make us tired. High pressure and pace doesn’t make us more motivated to work etc. Just a few examples but generally you could say that in a way it is the complete opposite of ADHD.
The downside of being an HSP is being unable to shut it off. There is no off switch and this is where the problem comes in. With a lower tolerance for stimuli we overload quicker because our capacity is still the same as other people. HSPs are not superhuman even thought we might have exceptional talents because of our sensitivity. We are simply born with a openness to new experiences that others don’t have, a lack of filtering. It is this openness that is a common trait among gifted people. As an HSP and intuitive you can perceive the world in a clearer way then non HSPs who’s world view is primarily based on their previous judgements and experiences. People tend to form who they are and their image of the world through the judgements of their ego. You like this but are afraid of that etc. They react to new experiences based on previous ones and therefor never consider things for what they really are, only for what their ego tells them they think of it. That is an lack of intuition and perceptiveness.
As we all know there are many problems in the world and the majority humans cause themselves. We have a tendency to destroy the environment we live in, scavage our planet until there is nothing left, we are reckless against ourselves and others, wage war against each other over pieces of land, the list is long. What is certain is that the human condition is something entirely different from the rest of the creatures on our planet. An organism that is at war with itself is doomed from the start, and this is what most people fail to realize. There is a widespread close-mindedness in today’s societies and most can’t really perceive what is really happening in the world aside from what their ego tells them. As HSPs and intuitive’s it is important to not judge ourselves like others might do. To not see our unique traits as something to try to change or get rid of because there is nothing wrong with them. Thinking that being like everyone else would make you happier is simply grasping, and grasping won’t give anyone happiness because the grasping never stops.
I think most people would agree that having a higher perceptiveness and caring for the people, animals and environment around you would be a good thing. The planet could sure benefit from having more people with these unique traits and who’s to say that this is not the next step in human evolution? We started as primitive ape like creatures and our minds have evolved considerably since that. The next logical step would indeed be to expand our mind to comprehend the world around us more, now when we have developed the ability to perceive ourselves. That is for sure some great food for thought.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
PS: Here is some recommended reading on Emotional Intelligence and how it can matter more then IQ: