By OM Times Magazine, http://omtimes.com/2011/09/understanding-the-highly-sensitive-person/
The Highly Sensitive Person
by Peter Messerschmidt and Sarah Sydney Nash
The following article was written by my husband who is a well-respected individual within the HSP Community on and off the internet. I work almost exclusively with HSP’s because I understand them, and I speak their “language” — I am Highly Sensitive Person.
“I am a Highly Sensitive Person.”
Today, I can publicly make such a statement and not feel embarrassed or brace for an onslaught of eye rolling or snide comments from the people around me. However, it wasn’t always so.
Sensitivity — emotional or otherwise — is not exactly a new concept to the world. Nor was it new when research psychologist Dr. Elaine N. Aron published the book “The Highly Sensitive Person” in 1996. What Aron’s book did do was to shed some new light on a trait that affects a large number of people, by asking the world to consider sensitivity as an inherent physical trait, rather than pathology.
Although more than fifteen years have passed—and the book has offered profound personal insights to hundreds of thousands of people—there remains a fair amount of skepticism of sensitivity as a “trait.” Interestingly enough, some of this skepticism can be found in the very people who are HSPs, themselves. Such skepticism can very likely be attributed to a broader trend in our society to “medicalize” or “pathologize” many personality characteristics that previously were regarded as falling within the realm of normal human experience.
So what exactly IS an Highly Sensitive Person?
Dr. Aron’s research suggests that approximately 15-20% of the population fit the description of being “Highly Sensitive.” HSPs– by her definition– are people whose brains and central nervous systems are wired in such a way that they are more acutely aware of, and attuned to, themselves, other people, and their environment. As a result, a highly sensitive person is more easily stimulated and aroused by their surroundings, from which it follows that they also get more readily over aroused than most people. This sensitivity is an inborn trait which– interestingly enough– researchers have also observed in animal populations ranging from deer to octopi.