THE HIGHLY SENSITIZED

Reality

Image by Caique Silva

Are you Highly Sensitive?

High Sensitivity is also known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity. It refers to a heightened reaction to external stimuli: noise, touch, sound, light, other people’s emotions and physical pain, or other environmental changes. 

High Sensitivity in Women.

  • Women with high sensitivity take in vast amounts of information from environments and people.

  • They often process this information somatically in the body.

  • Women often mask “symptoms” because we have more mirror neurons in our brains than men.

  • This means we are better able to imitate the behaviors of others and "blend in".

  • This means we go about our lives feeling like something is wrong with us on the inside, but not having language or context to understand what makes us unique. 

  • We make up at least 20% of the population
     

Society has many names for High Sensitivity:

  • Sensory Processing Disorder (diagnosable)

  • Synesthesia

  • ADHD (diagnosable)

  • Autism Spectrum (diagnosable)

  • Hysteria (historical diagnosis)

  • Elaine Aron famously coined the non-diagnosing term “Highly Sensitive Person” in 1996

  • Empath

Signs you may be Highly Sensitive:

  • Easily overwhelmed in social situations

  • Escape in thought or action to survive overwhelming emotions & senses

  • Feeling other people’s pain or emotions in your body

  • Difficulty relaxing and resting

  • Very sensitive to pain

  • Easily overstimulated by bright lights, noises, smells & fabrics

  • An electrical feeling moves through your body when you feel your own emotions

  • Rich inner world

  • Affinity for the arts & music

  • Simple tasks can feel overwhelming, such as doing dishes or grocery shopping

  • Often need to retreat into a quiet room

  • Don't like having lots to do in a short amount of time

  • Work hard to communicate things “correctly”

  • You have trouble lying

  • Feeling relief when you don’t have to go anywhere or talk to anyone

  • Startle easily

  • Cannot watch violent movies

  • Aware of subtleties in an environment and how to make the space more comfortable and inviting for people

  • Become exhausted by conversations

  • Question your purpose in life and how to be a “better” person

  • Feeling trapped between wanting to be yourself and wanting to fit in

  • Requiring a large amount of down time or alone time

  • Dislike being in crowded places

  • Belief that everything has a purpose

  • Remembering details that others don’t

  • Often notice patterns in things

  • Remember things visually

  • More easily able to identify emotions of fear, deep love, anger and giddiness rather than calmness, serenity, satisfaction and joy.
     

The Gift of High Sensitivity:

Acute perception or the ability to see, hear, feel, taste, smell and otherwise sense "invisible" information about spaces, places, people & activities that most people cannot.  The information gathered from the environment is often physically felt in the body.

Example: the ability to perceive thoughts & emotions of other people - often easily & accurately.

This is why Highly Sensitive people often find themselves in helping roles because they can easily sense pain and know how to support people, animals, communities and environments to ease pain and promote wellbeing. In addition to the social and cultural roles and expectations placed upon women and mothers for caretaking, this is yet another reason why Highly Sensitive women can especially find themselves in exhaustion and overwhelm from over-giving.

Highly Sensitive people may also find themselves in creative professions that support them to have space for inspired expression.  This includes entrepreneurship, where being one's own boss supports the alone time and quiet environment that Highly Sensitive women so crave. This can, however, often leave them feeling alone or "unbelonging" in the world, and seeking like-minded, like-hearted community to BE with.

The Burden of High Sensitivity:

Most of us were raised in a culture that does not understand or value these extrasensory ways of perceiving information.  This means that as a Highly Sensitive woman, you were not taught that you have a gift for perceiving unseen information, and so you may have end up feeling:  

  • overwhelmed in situations and spaces where everyone else seems fine

  • exhausted by levels of activity and interaction that seem to work great for other people

  • shame for being "too sensitive"

  • anxiety because you keep trying to live like everyone else.... and it just isn't working

  • anxiety because you were not taught how to honor your gifts and set healthy boundaries for your sensitive self to thrive

  • confused because you don't understand why you cannot be in the world the same way that others can

  • shut down because you don't know that your sources of anxiety are actually your greatest gifts

  • drained because you have not yet discovered your unique purpose in life

  • crazy because, does no one else feel like this?

  • unsafe to be in spaces with other people because you just feel and know too much

  • unsafe to be present in your physical body because, when you get there, you just feel so much

  • addicted to something or someone because you don't yet feel your immense worth and do not feel safe to be fully with yourself

  • unable to express yourself because you are taking in so much information

Image by Ali Kazal

A framework for finding your way:

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You are worthy of honoring the truth of your reality.

When you honor your needs & grow your gifts, EVERYONE benefits.

Being highly sensitive isn’t the problem

Living in a world that is not equipped or designed to appreciate highly sensitive qualities is the problem.

Instead of compromising your wellbeing & fulfillment to accommodate roles and expectations imposed upon you by a world that is not designed for you,

Imagine reorienting your life around the needs & gifts of your own innate intelligence as a highly sensitive woman.

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A Somatic Remedy

  • The burden of high sensitivity results from having to disconnect from your body, your truth & your Self in order to fit into a world that wasn’t designed for you.

 

  • Being guided back home to your body, your truth & your Self is the medicine.

  • This is the Somatic approach to Coaching & Healing.

Curious to learn more?

Reach out to me any time by email at lua@luazawacki.com or schedule a free clarity call to learn more about working with me.