·“Your trait is normal. It is found in 15 to 20% of the population--too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you.
·It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it to be in most or all animals, from fruit flies and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others'.
·You are more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. So even if you wear glasses, for example, you see more than others by noticing more.
·You are also more easily overwhelmed. If you notice everything, you are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
·This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called "shy." But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extraverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait.
·Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSPs tend to have low self-esteem. They are told "don't be so sensitive" so that they feel abnormal.”
So part of the pathway is to determine how much stimulation you actually need and to be able to manage this. OK. Clearly this will require a lifetime of practice! The key is not to lapse into boredom (often resulting in unhealthy behaviours) but at the same time ensuring you don’t push yourself into the tilt zone. I am sure if one is inclined, you could study your pattern daily for years before being able to refine that thin fragile line in the sand between the two states.
So the world has changed so much with social networking. I am reflecting (as an HSP would do of course) somewhat deeply on my own use of pinterest, twitter, facebook, blogs and email as a way of stimulating myself which is manageable. Manageable in the sense that you have total control over the stimulation versus something like a party. My friends, co-workers and family are surprised at my engagement with social media. They interpret social media as socializing and they code me as, to a degree, socializing adverse. I love people but this face-to-face stuff is where I clearly shut down in an overwhelmed pile of silent goo – so to speak. TILT! TILT! So they are also suspicious of my social media behaviour as being a defect of some kind. A type of thing that I am doing because I am incapable of doing/being something else. Not so!
To me social media is rich stimulation. All those ideas, all those pictures, all those people doing and thinking such interesting things. I have learned a huge huge amount about artwork, my clear and abiding, ever-present obsession. Tons! But as I sit drinking all this in when I want and to the limit that I want which equals manageability of stimulation. It serves the added function of blocking out the wearing noise of places like airports.
I have been thinking about this topic for several weeks now, as I am want to do (read Elaine Aron – lol), and I think that I have it figured out. I write for you about this with the cheery optimism that this could also be of value to you or someone you love.