Why Sensitive is a Good Thing

Nina Khoo explains to us the meaning of 'Sensitive' and how we can change peoples perspective on what this actually means.

I’ve had some great reactions when telling people I coach Highly Sensitive Women.

The most memorable was a friend’s eyes growing wide with sympathy (or was it horror) while she exclaimed ‘That must be difficult!’ Others immediately talk about hyper-sensitivity (a pet peeve – it’s Highly Sensitive, not Hyper Sensitive). To me, hyper immediately makes it sound like a disorder rather than what is really is, an innate temperament trait, like adaptability or activity levels.

My challenge has been & remains, how to change peoples’ perception of ‘Sensitive’. The Oxford English Dictionary has a few definitions of the word. The one I favour is ‘Quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals or influences’. Sadly the definition that seems to spring to mind for many seems to be ‘Easily damaged, injured, or distressed by slight changes’.

Now it’s true that living in the modern world, especially the West, can bring challenges to the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Each day, we have to contend with a fast paced, toxin heavy, noisy, results-driven society. While some HSPs will thrive in this type of environment for short amounts of time – these are the High Sensation Seeking HSPs – most of us need to take regular time out to recharge our over-loaded nervous systems.

Photo credit:  Majd Mohabek  via  Foter.com  /  CC BY

Photo credit: Majd Mohabek via Foter.com / CC BY

We’d all do well to remember that HSPs are like the canaries in the coal mine. We respond to things sooner than the rest of the population, but the other 80% non-HSPs will respond to these things eventually. If you notice your HS colleague burning out at work, take heed – that’ll probably be you in time.

Back to why being Highly Sensitive is a good thing. When an HSP is taking care of their need to recharge their batteries & stays out of Overwhelm, this is when their gifts really shine. 

Being able to think & process information deeply & relate it to past experiences, is a skill that is sought after in all walks of life. HSPs do this naturally. All the time.

The ability to feel things intensely, or listen to a piece of music & hear all the nuances, or pick up on the exquisite detail in a work of art is what helps truly great artists stand out.

The HS visionaries Einstein, Isaac Newton & Thomas Edison all used their abilities to notice small things that others miss while relating them to the Big Picture, to come up with discoveries & inventions that changed the world. 

If you’re ever in doubt about whether being Highly Sensitive can be positive, think how different our lives would be without the light bulb. 

To find out more about the Highly Sensitive Trait and how to thrive in a world where sensitivity isn’t always valued, please take a look at my website: www.ninakhoo.com.  You can also contact me on info@ninakhoo.com

I’d love to talk more about being Highly Sensitive & how you can share your gifts with the world. 

Just don’t use the term ‘hyper-sensitive’ around me!