Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Video: The Highly Sensitive Person

If you have ever wondered why you don’t fare well in noisy places, why it takes you so much longer to adjust to change, or why your feelings are so much more intense than your friends, you will appreciate this video. I explain what it means to be a highly sensitive person, as defined by Elaine Aron in her bestselling “The Highly Sensitive Person.”

I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so I won’t say anything more before you watch the video.

To view my YouTube video, click here.

  • Gina Rymers

    Thank you so much for the video blog. I will get this book and read it. I am also a highly sensitive person and just watching your video makes me want to understand more about me then to keep trying to push it away thinking there is something terrible wrong with me. Thank you again.

  • Diana Bork

    From what Ms. Aron is describing in her book, it sounds more like mild asperger’s syndrome – the sensitivity to noise, sensitivity to music, the color processing issue (asperger’s kids see numbers in colors – to to wikipedia), the anxiety, etc. Just a thought

  • Your Name

    I have been an HSP my whole life and remember feeling very different from other people starting as a very small child. I remember “knowing” things about people, places and events that I shouldn’t know. I am still like that today. The video is good but only touches on a very small description on what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person. We are very sensitve and highly intuitive and a lot of us are very psychic. Elaine Aaron’s book is wonderful and helped me to understand the gift I have. It can also be a curse. My skin is highly sensitive as well as not being able to take loud noise for very long. We HSP’s are very emotional and pick up on the outcome of situations long, long before it happens. This overwhelms us as we are the only ones to know what will happen while others don’t have a clue. As a result we try to be very cautious and our nature is extremely conscientious. Making mistakes is not acceptable for us as we know the outcome if we do. Others often times do not like us to make mistakes. I myself, have never found a place or group where I belong. I am learning to embrace it through on line support groups and such but life as an HSP is not always easy. I for one, cry at the drop of a hat and getting thicker skin is just not possible. It can be very lonely as someone who is an HSP. Others just don’t seem to understand it. I believe we are born this way for a reason. Being a Highly Sensitive Person is definitley not Aspergers Syndrome. Only about 15% of the worlds population is HSP and most of the world has never heard of it.

  • J

    I have recently found help by working with a Shaman and aromatherapy. She is helping me to use my gifts and listen to my spirit guides, but also to uncover some deep seated emotions and face them, then let them go. It is emotional therapy and I am learning everyday how to keep from letting others take my energy from me, as well as knowing whne it is my turn to weep, and when it is not.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for this very simple but impressive video. I have had alot on my plate for a long time and it helped me alot. Thank you.

  • cb

    i really embraced “Your Name” from Aug. 27. My entire bio family are good candidates for status as HSP. Mom is bothered by almost every stimuli, and doesn’t mind sharing her discomfort with everyone within earshot. Sister is a confessed HSP. She and I both hold to taking many things said by others personally — despite everyone’s attempt to assure us we shouldn’t take things personally. I am very reflective and I identify with where the contributor adds ‘”knowing”‘things about people, etc.
    The trouble (among other things) with the HSP is that we make others feel discomfort, even alienation, when we are vocal about the litany of things that chap our hide.

  • Your Name

    I will order this book, AND, hopefully, READ IT. Also: might need to read the book I already have: Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson. Or…maybe what I’ve jokingly said in the past to people: I had A.D.D. before the age of ritalin. Also: Making the Most of Bad Genes may also fit me. My father told my mother I was “a lemon” at @age 10, but, I survived:)

  • Mike, age 51

    The “lemon” posting earlier is male, age 51, fyo.

  • Elizabeth Marin

    Very true. I hate noisy places and working can be difficult when there are so many rules and regulations to follow. I rather go to a quiet restaurant an meet friends and talk and at work I rather be more creative in the job I have.

  • Leeann

    very good video. Makes a lot of sense to me a feel like that expandable ball most of the time. Things and life seems to always coming at me at full force and most times except when in mania stay away from stores or where loud noises and lots of people.
    Thanks Therese

  • Timothea Canady

    At age 70, I have accepted the fact that I feel more intensely, observe more and appreciate more. The sensitive person is that in all phases of life. I also suffer from allergies as I have found most sensitives do. The sensitive ones have produced the ultimate in arts. I will probably get this book. But, I want everyone to know that it is ok to cry at sad music and films. Watching the flag passing by brings me to tears. On a critical note, the background music overpowers the narration….or am I being too sensitive ??

  • Denise

    I too am a sensitive person, cry easily watching certain movies and at various ceremonies(church,funerals,weddings,etc) as well as when certain people upset me by things they say. In my last job, my boss actually told me I was never to cry at work! I felt like telling her “Ok, if you don’t go to the bathroom all day, I’ll stop crying.” as that is what it would be like. Clearly, there are people who don’t understand( and don’t care to understand) a sensitive person’s perspective. They can only try to make you feel that there’s something “wrong” with you when they can’t see that perhaps there is something “wrong” with them that they can’t allow for sensitivity differences in people.

  • Gina

    This makes sense to me. I am one of those people. I have developed coping skills dealing with being sensitive. I don’t like crowds and noise. So I don’t go to places with large crowds and noise since I am aware that I am this way. I have two teenaged daughters who are extra sensitive like myself. One blends into crowds just fine. The other daughter has anxiety in public places. One copes very well. The other is having difficulty with that.

  • Amy

    Thank GOD! Business people I work with think I am “weak” or there is something wrong with me. My husband teases me and my grown daughters are uncomfortable and understanding all at the same time when I cry watching TV, or I tell them a happy story and cry, or we go to a musical and just the music touches me…I almost didn’t make it through the musical Annie, the music, the thought of the proud parents of the performers, all the hard work…just brought me to tears. Heck, even I wonder about myself sometimes! But it has been there my whole life…I used to marvel at the women I went to a Christian retreat with who sat quietly, and expressionless as the speaker told of her own daughter who was born with Down’s Syndrome and all the trials and tribulations she had gone through…and when I actually apologized for breaking down into tears, I was told by many women at the table that they wished they felt comfortable enough to cry in public. I could understand the feeling comfortable in public thing, what I couldn’t fathom was the physical control they exerted over their emotions and their tear ducts.
    Anyway, thanks!

  • John Folk-Williams

    Hi, Therese –
    I know I saw a video of yours on this book – perhaps I didn’t pay enough attention at the time (or is it your second?) – but this is wonderful. Your illustrations are so witty and accurate! I was laughing with recognition. The last time I immediately got the book the Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and now I’ll really get into it and set aside the other two dozen books waiting in line ahead of it. (Down from 50, so I was getting there.)
    Thanks again. Your videos continue to amaze me.

  • Shirley S

    Crying seems to be about like breathing to me. It doesn’t matter the reason, if it’s even slightly emotional, I’d better grab a tissue as I’m going to need it very soon. Quite often it embarrasses me such as in Church.

  • Joe

    I’m not a woman and don’t cry easily etc but I seem to fit alot of the descriptions of the highly sensitive person…which probably describes the reactions to the traumas I’ve been through over recent years.

  • Hope Despite Depression

    I read “The Highly Sensitive Person” years ago but I think it’s time for me to re-read. I also believe it’s a “sign” from my angels that I keep hearing about this book or coming across it –
    I know I am a highly sensitive person and for a long time I felt like it was a horrible thing (and sometimes still do) – but as I’m constantly being told by my therapist – it’s a good thing (just like you stated in your video) – because we are (like you said) more “reflection” and we are more in tune to the world around us…
    I need to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to be a HSP and that it’s a blessing – not a curse :)
    Thanks for posting the video!
    Christine :)

  • jeeb

    maybe you can find answers here:
    === =====
    === ===

  • Cindy

    Does anyone one else find SUN 12 hours or more a day(mid summer) sensitive? I find I am anxious like I have to be doing something-it is the opposite of winter when I feel like hibernating and fight the depression; the summer turn the clock, longer daylight makes me HYPER ANXIOUS…just curious!

  • Allison

    This definitely describes my experience. I often struggle with irritability and this illuminates why. My irritation with other people often makes me feel like a bad person, but this makes me feel a little better. Thanks!

  • Lisa

    There have been countless times where I have wished I could throw my
    arms around you and thank you for saving my life. Both through your book and your blogs. You have such a gift and so much courage. I am
    so excited to learn of this book on the highly senstive person. For so many years I have been known as a drama queen and ‘so sensitve’.
    I now understand that this is due in part to some characteristics of
    BPD. I don’t feel quite as much shame for being different. So today
    I am hoping to look at being highly sensitive as a blessing from God.
    Thank you, Thank you Thank you. I pray that you and your family will be continually blessed.

  • cb

    Is being highly sensitive a sign of psychiatric illness, or, does it stand alone ? I am bipolar and very sensitive to certain stimuli. I can’t sleep with ANY noise taking place around me. In fact, I take what will be lifetime meds, in order to sleep. No light coming into my bedroom. I don’t get it…how do people sleep in busy airport terminals? On the other hand, I enjoy the energy given off by crowded sidewalks and people jammed into mass transit. I love NYC and Tokyo. This would seem a contradiction to what I previously stated. Oh, right…I’m bipolar.
    So, back to my original question. How is it determined that one is simply highly-sensitive apart from any psychiatric diagnosis and the symptoms associated with it (as with bipolar disorder)?

  • Christie

    Great video. When I’m anxious my sensitivity vector expands quite a bit. We just lost Daylight Savings and 4 days in I feel a huge anxiety swell over things I could normally cope with. I have to talk them out and deal with them with the gloves on. That was genius.
    Now that it is fall/winter I have to use a new strategy to stay sane. I am literally a different person with the change of the seasons. I do feel my bipolar and it is not great. Fight for clarity and peace.
    Your articles help so much. Cyber hugs to you and may you fight the good fight as well.

  • Marlene Azoulai

    Why did the visual of the gloves bother me so much? Is it because it felt like a shutting down? I don’t think that is what you meant it to be. Was it more about having a sort of ‘psychic self-defense’ against a world that CAN be so overwhelming?
    I am an artist and writer. I am so grateful that i have these creative expressions as tools for my healing.
    I also am affected by the change in the time— darkness coming earlier, even though i know that this is the ‘real’ time. I think it is more the fact that our circadian rhythms are being messed with, by altering the time, to begin with. Also, i was just doing some research on geomagnetic fields and how they affect us, emotionally.
    Your video on being ‘highly sensitive’ was very timely. Thank you for creating it.Communication is everything.
    Sending peace, Marlene

  • Margsme

    Dear fellow “sentives”…I gained so much from reading the comments here and it’s always s comfort to know we’re never alone. There’s always countless others going through the same human experience and we are not as unique as we may feel at times. I never made the connection with why I get so anxious during the long summer days and always welcome the less stimulating winter! Also like cj, I love the exciting energy of cities and feel connected and calm in NYC especially but feel disconnected and anxious at fairs..Ugg. I have to be aware of how many oranges I’m letting in and learn to protect myself from an onslaught. Meditation acts as my gloves. What do other people use as “gloves”?

  • Osazee Osifo

    Hello a big thanks for this message:
    i no yuo know this that senstive is part of our God giving gift as is our imege and likenes: but it grow in us when we choose to feed it with the react stoff and this is what you have just don.
    people that do not know you may Say or think what every they feel like: but those that know you can tell more of your way of living. to let go the pass is one of the best issue of life to any believer: becaues holding someone dan on is or her offence can rob us from God’s blessing and mercy.
    so what can we do about this, Jesus is our good exmple. father forgive they for they no not what they did to me: again into your hands i comment my spirit: in other word all the unfer things that as be don to me i live all to you: so to my soul for a redeemtion on a new life giving and it was so. you mean somuch to the body of Christ please keep on yuor good work the lord is coming soon.

  • undefined

    I have learned long ago that I am this way though having a child this way and having to learn to raise him properly. What I have learned has helped immensely. Mainly I have learned, belief in yourself, confidence because of all you can and have learned, embracing who you are and finding all the reasons you can to be proud of who you are truly helps the most. I have learned to pin-point what my strengths are with being a sensative person – not “in spite” of being a sensative person. Embrace it. Don’t look at it as a bad thing. It can be difficult yes to live as a sensative person, but there are always ways to overcome the difficulties. I too am bi-polar. Must go along with the maladies of our brain’s functions. Learn to be proud of you! I have and it has truly changed much of my daily functioning. Best wishes to you all. Kathleen

  • William Brown

    This really made sense to me. I have always been a very sensitive person. I do not like large crowds of people as I tend to feel what everyone else is feeling, so much so that I do not know what I AM FEELING and it is overwhelming. In college I passed an auto accident on the interstate, the accident was on the opposite side. I felt my chest compress and it was hard to breathe and I was overwhelmed with a great saddness and tears started pouring. I drove for 15 minutes to my study date and I still felt overwhelmed. My friend opened her door and saw that I had been crying and asked what was wrong and I told her I had no idea. She told me to come on into her apartment and on the tv they were live at the scene of the accident and were using the jaws of life to remove a lady from her car. She was killed in the impact, the steering wheel had crushed her chest. I FELT IT. That is the feeling I had when driving by. It was like that growing up too, I could sense things in those around me that others could not. I have developed nose bleeds from being in over zealous crowds. Many people I have told this to say it is a gift, but many gifts come with return receipts and I would like to return the gift as it came with no instructions. I dream often of events, people, and places that I have never seen, and soon after, I experience the event or meet the person or see the place. I too was suffering from anxiety and depression a few years ago and went to a therapist, a wonderful Buddhist woman, and she helped me through the anxiety and depression, but I am still dealing with the inability to control this “gift” which really frustrates me as I like to be in control of “ME” since I cannot control most of what goes on around me. I really agree with the beachball illustration as that is how I see most things. There are always different sides to things and events and I want to process all of the information before reacting, normally by then it is too late. I was told I was a “sensitivist” or a natural empath. Although I enjoy seeing the depth of the reality around me and all the beauty there is to see in the world, I sometimes feel locked into position while processing it all that it makes life unenjoyable as I am frozen from interaction with what I see. Anyway, at least now you have posted a description on what I see and feel and it is a sad relief to know that there are others out there like me with this “gift”. Blessings are prayed for all of you who share this trait.

  • Kelly Hall

    I can relate to this as I am highly sensitive also. I read the book and will read it again soon. I do not see this gift as a burden as others do, but I do try to distract myself when my feelings become overwhelming. Loud persons get on my nerves and crowds can make me feel like I can’t breathe. I try to seek quiet to calm myself down. I cannot tolerate yelling, violence, displays of anger, etc. I am easily moved to tears (usually tears of joy from music, photos, words, etc) and I see this as a good thing. I cannot tolerate any images of animal abuse or even articles about it as I love animals on a very deep level. Sometimes at work I can hear too many people talking and phones ringing and I long for a quiet walk in the woods or on the beach listening to the waves. I can usually “get away” by reading from an inspiring book or looking at pictures of nature. I too, have to assimilate information before responding but that is also a good thing. I am grateful to others for sharing their experience with this.

  • Beverly

    Being a highly sensitive person isn’t bad at all. It’s just to those people who aren’t this way…it’s difficult to understand “just why you are so emotional or so this or that…”
    I often wondered why I love the outdoors more so than anyone else in my family. However, I just know that being outside is calming to me.
    I am bothered by noises, by being in a huge crowd, sensitive to lights…etc.
    I have to be careful with how much stimulation I allow myself to be exposed to…too much and my brain doesn’t function well at all. In fact, I tend to be ‘scattered’ when overstimulated…
    Prefer being quiet, spending my precious time on earth with one or two good people and reflecting on issues with them.

  • Lil

    I love this article because I too am a “sensitive”. I had no idea how to deal with it for a long time or even having a name for it. I have finally learned to accept it and am learning ways to deal with it. What has helped me the most is my faith in Christ and his mysteries. One of the things I have learned to do is detach, block, and surrender everything to God because things can become overwhelming. My faith helps me to stay grounded and to know I have a higher power who protects me and helps me. I also believe in angels and the power of proclaiming goodness and positive energy to protect myself. When I am hurting for someone I use it as an occassion to pray for them and that helps alot too. It’s helping me to become a stronger person and see it as a gift.

  • Shelley

    I empathize with all of you who are HSP, some more sensitive than others. I’ve come to accept it as who I am. I feel bad for those who have people around them who do not accept them for who they are. We have a lot to contribute to the world and I really do believe the world is a better place because of us. We need to realize how our sensitivity can have a valuable influence on others. Our reactions can help others have more compassion in situations. I am not considered the “strong” person in the family but I am the peacemaker because I see more than black and white and have more compassion. They do appreciate me for that since I feel for all and do not judge. Sad that society as a whole does not value what a gift we have. Reminds me of the song “Starry, Starry Night”, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”.
    Oh yes it is.

  • JJ

    Hi, I can identify with many elements of the video description of being a high sensitive person like seeing many things like the 2nd ball shown. And it can be overwhelming, confusing as you feel others and have your own feelings but then it all mixes up and often I end up giving more value to others feelings than my own.
    I also know a few other people who I can also relate and they have said themselves they are or feel more sensitive to the world around them. I have a question, tho even tho I can relate to being a type of sensitive I have noticed that sometimes it can seem that some sensitive people can come across as being more selfish, especially people who don’t have any siblings. or that their needs are given more value and responded to more than anyone elses in a group situation. Its like even though a sensitive person can feel and empathise sometimes the pressure and emotional stress, tiredness or possibly perceptions of how they feel that makes them less able to actually respond to others needs or invitations to an invitation. instead of feeling grateful and honoured to be asked they feel dread and burdened by having to take part to please others. I think that everyone has different sensitivities and whether you have 5 or 15 I don’t think that there should be any more value and support given to a sensitive person over anyone else. Everyone has feelings and needs and I think sometimes its easy to fall into self-centeredness and ungrateful attitudes from the sheer stress on us sensitives. It is really hard to get the right balance though, being torn between protecting and supporting others v protecting and defending/supporting yourself.

  • Miriam

    At least the video made being highly sensitive a good thing. I am a highly sensitive person and I was often made to feel this was a bad thing that I am “too” sensitive, that I have to grow a thick skin and be like other people, as if “other people” are all alike.
    What a reassuring video.

  • Kimberly

    I wonder what connection or differences are there being being a highly sensitive person and sensory integration “dysfunction” as both are described as being overwhelmed by the way we process input.

  • Tami

    helpful info on HSP’s. Artists are also folks in that category I would think-having the ability to see otger possibilities in things, people, situations has allowed for great art and inventions in the world over all time. Perhaps it is Nature’s way to allow this human anomoly, and folks with this ability were more accepted at other periods of time in history. It is a challenge for the HSP to learn to balance this characteristic, especially in times and places where art and intuition are not so highly valued….thanks for sharing this info!

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