Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?
In this episode of How to Be an Artist, we talk about what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person, how this state of being affects us creatives, and what we can do to begin harnessing this as a strength.
Patricia Young is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in working with the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Through her extensive work with HSPs, she’s developed a model that is really effective in helping HSPs embrace their strengths.
Patricia provides lots of specific tools for learning how to deal with the things we struggle with (overwhelm, over arousal, worry, comparison, not feeling good enough, perfectionism—just to name a few).
Once HSPs understand how they are wired, and what they need, they experience more ease and peace, and they can start to thrive.
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Bravo, this is an amazing message for creatives! As I listened, I found myself tearing up…I have always known that I was ’different’ than most people in my life, but I didn’t have a name for it. I was so blessed to figure that out about myself at a very early age. I often talk to others about my wish to know what helped me as a child to be self-confident when facing the ‘outside world’ as I grew up—if I knew what worked, I’d bottle it up and hand it out.
I also feel blessed to have been surrounded by friends/husband who value that part of my psyche, and understand how to help me through the panic attacks…I feel that being a HSP actually made me a better teacher, so I enjoyed an amazing 30- year career, trying to hone those sensitivities; forcing me to find productive strategies to focus them, and finding other strategies to help me let go of my overwhelming feelings of responsibility.
My journals, garden, taking reflection time in nature, and ultimately, the creation of my artwork have given me the ability to honor, reflect, act, and re-center my life as an HSP. Thank you for staring my day with this message!
I’m so glad this message resonated and affirmed for you something you’ve always known. I totally believe being HSP can help us be better teachers too. (I also relate to that feeling of responsibility, too!). I really appreciate you sharing a bit about your own story here, thank you <3
I never really heard of HSP until I watched your episode. I remember in 2nd grade, they took the elementary students into the auditorium and screened “Old Yeller.” I literally ran out of the auditorium crying like an idiot. I thought I was the weird one. As, I got older, I suppressed this and was an extrovert, cheerleader, etc. I was still freaked out at emotional things. I have been rescuing animals all my life and later became a social worker for abused women and children. I am painting now with pastels and find it a wonderful way to tune into that emotion. Not to get to personal, but I was held hostage and nearly died and went to art therapy to get the emotional help I needed. Now I sit her with my dog and cat painting away and derive great happiness in doing it. Thanks for making me feel my experience was “normal.” Peace.
Tonya, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story here. THIS is what makes our community special, people like you feeling safe to share their stories and inspire all of us to move forward. I’m so glad you could get the help you needed to overcome a terrible ordeal.
And on a completely different note: I totally feel you about Old Yeller. I watched it as a child, cried hysterically, and never watched it again. Even thinking about that movie now makes me anxious and upset.
Thank you again <3
I finally had a chance to watch this all the way through. I am an HSP with a partner who is an HSP. I resonate with the parental admonition: “You’re too sensitive” and a feeling that I don’t quite fit in anywhere. I also agree it is a gift and I was fortunate enough to have two careers nourished by an ability to truly empathize (as a mental health nurse and as a therapist). The aha for me was with this extreme sensitivity, I can concoct a false narrative about what the other person is thinking. I have learned to check this out with people I am close to. Oftentimes I am correct, but sometimes not. Fortunately, I have a partner who values my emotional life as much as I do hers.
“I can concoct a false narrative of what the other person is thinking” OH MY GOSH yes. I totally hear you!
And it is a special and valuable thing to have a partner who gets it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Barbara.