I am a highly sensitive person (HSP).
Growing up, I always see my personality as a weakness of mine as I tried to get rid of people’s comments of me as being an ‘overthinker’ or overly sensitive.
I still hear these terms on me today. Unlike in the past when I can ruminate on these comments non-stop and feel all negative about myself, I am less affected by these remarks now.
In fact, I reconcile with myself and love myself more than ever. How did I do it?
Keep reading as I will be sharing the 3 things I learned these years that allow you to thrive as a highly sensitive person as well.
1. Drop the Persistence Towards Perfectionism
One thing in common among many highly sensitive person is that we pursue perfectionism. We have high expectations of ourselves and pursue perfection in the things we do.
It might be due to we can be more negatively impacted by criticisms and negative remarks, which leave us the tendency to pursue no mistakes.
At the same time, as we possessed things more deeply, we might reflect on one criticism hard and tend to avoid similar situations in the future.
Our usual solution to combat the hard feelings is to get everyone to like us and give us recognition by not showing any flaws.
However, nothing in the world is perfect!
No one in this world can be liked by everyone.
This pursuit of perfectionism might help us to avoid most of the hard feelings and gain recognition from people. But it is unhealthy! It brings tremendous stress, anxiety, and fatigue to our brains.
If you want to convert your high sensitivity to your strength, you need to first give up the pursuit of perfectionism.
It might be hard at first as you will still doubt everything you do, and worry it’s not good enough.
You might have more self-criticism than ever and worry about what people will say or comment about you.
Yes, it will get uncomfortable at first but all learnings need to be done outside the comfort zone.
You are training yourself and your brain throughout this process. During this period of time, you start to realize a few things.
Firstly, though you have stopped pursuing perfection, you still did great!
Being a highly sensitive person means that we are more detail-oriented than other people. We often notice the details that others won’t notice and it makes a difference in the quality of work we produced. This is one of our major strengths.
Secondly, you realize that things don’t go as badly as you think. All the doubts and worries about others’ reactions towards you never happen! We are more often in our own heads than close to reality.
Those who are less sensitive than us don’t view the world the same as we do. Even though our friends might have told us millions of times that we are overthinking and he/she is not thinking like that, it just doesn’t seem to reach our brains.
Once you begin to shift your perspective and realize that others do not view the same world the same as we do, trust me, it’s a powerful realization!
Nowadays when I caught myself overthinking a matter, I tell myself that others do not view the matter like me, and the rumination will be stopped instantly. It has helped me to be less troubled by worrying about others’ opinions gradually.
So, drop the burdens, and just do your own things.
You will realize how amazing you are, and your inner strength will be built gradually.
2. Focus On Yourself, Not Others
There was a very long period of time that I really care about people’s evaluations of me and their comments.
I might be having a perfect day and one single comment can ruin everything. I equate what people said about me to my actual value.
Regardless of how people praised me or how much I have achieved, I just don’t feel good and confident about myself. I fall into the misery of comparing myself with my friends and thinking I am not good enough.
My mentality changed by adopting 2 habits. Firstly, I put my needs first. Secondly, I start to read more about self-development.
Putting my needs first simply means, I will not put others’ needs as a priority anymore.
I learned to say NO and stand up for myself. If I feel uncomfortable doing something or the person is stepping over the boundaries, I will say NO.
I stopped attending the social gatherings that I do not want to attend. As an introverted sensitive person, social gatherings do stress me out.
I always love meeting friends one-on-one or in small groups occasionally to have deeper conversations.
On top of that, I stopped browsing social media too.
Though I am deeply scared of being left out or losing friends, I want to take care of my well-being and emotions more.
Do I enjoy meeting up with those people? or do I want to spend my time going through social media?
The answer is NO.
So I started to say no, and spend my time on the things I truly enjoy, which brings me to the second habit.
Reading and self-development.
I start to embark on the journey of self-discovery and development. When I feel anxious, I looked up books to understand why am I feeling this way, and how my brain works. I change my habits accordingly. While understanding myself better, many old ways of thinking are replaced by new ways of thinking.
I become a much stronger person inside. I stopped comparing myself with others and felt true contentment from learning new knowledge and seeing my own growth daily.
3. Accept Yourself and Recognize Your Strengths
I came across the term highly sensitive person from a book, and it changed my relationship with the label ‘sensitive’. I start to see many positive connections with my life.
I don’t see being sensitive as a flaw anymore, and neither should you. Being highly sensitive is a part of me. It brings me the ability to sense things deeper, be more empathetic, more independent, and connect deeper with this world.
At the same time, we can also learn how to live better with our personality, especially after I start to focus on my feelings more and become more comfortable with myself.
I hope you can understand it too. Regardless of what people say or comment, you can still be true to your feelings and be the most reliable friend of your own. You can choose how you want to live.
By accepting yourself and loving yourself, you will live to your best self and find the joy that nothing else in the world can give to you.
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