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7 Things You Didn’t Know That Would Hurt Highly Sensitive People Deeply

7 Things You Didn’t Know That Would Hurt Highly Sensitive People Deeply

Do you tear up at those super sad SPCA animal rescue commercials? Are your feelings often hurt when your friends tease you? Do you brood over it for days? Are you able to sense sadness in those around you and quickly pick up on the moods of others? Do you deeply empathize with others?

If you answered “yes” to most of the questions above, you may be a highly sensitive person.

Highly sensitive people (HSP) are all around us. Between 15 and 20 percent of the population have the innate trait of extreme sensitivity. It is not a disorder or a disability. But it is misunderstood.

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About 70 percent of all highly sensitive people are introverts. Both introverts and HSPs reflect deeply, like meaningful conversations, and need lots of down time, which is not surprising. But the other 30 percent of HSP’s who are extroverted are the most misunderstood. Most people equate introversion and extroversion with sociability. But these two traits only account for someone’s tolerance level in having a large circle of friends and enjoyment in meeting strangers and socializing in large groups. Introversion and extroversion have very little to do with heightened sensitivity. High sensitivity lies deeper. It is an inherent trait.

Characteristics of Highly Sensitive People

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    Highly Sensitive people:

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    • Are easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or loud sirens.
    • Feel stressed when they have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time.
    • Avoid violent movies and TV shows.
    • Withdraw during busy days. They may escape and go to bed or hide in a dark room or some other place where they can have privacy and relief from the situation.
    • Take great pains in arranging their life to avoid, or at least minimize, stressful situations
    • Love aesthetic beauty. They notice and enjoy things like delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, and works of art
    • Have a rich and complex inner thought life.
    • Were seen as sensitive and shy as children.
    • Have a low thresh hold for pain.
    • Crave deep and meaningful relationships.
    • Cry frequently.

    Understanding is the number one key in dealing with highly sensitive people. Know that the best way to love a HSP is by supporting them. Avoid shaming them because of their sensitivity. Validate their feelings and let them know it is OK to feel the way that they do.

    Here are 7 things that deeply hurt highly sensitive people

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      1. Withholding your emotions and being dishonest about how you really feel

      HSP’s can pick up on how you feel, and lying about your feelings only makes things worse. Openness, honesty, and transparency are key when dealing with a sensitive individual. They detest people who play emotional games.

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      2. Refusing to give them space and alone time

      HSP’s need to decompress–frequently. Know that they simply need time to process and recharge after dealing with society. This is not meant to hurt or alienate you. They are not retreating or avoiding you, but rather, replenishing their energy stores.

      3. Disregarding their heightened sensitivity and emotions

      They have a keen sense and deep insight into the emotional world. They can literally feel other people’s pain. They wear their heart on their sleeve. They have a deep, complex personality and long to be loved and accepted as they are. They understand that they can be difficult to deal with.

      4. Criticizing them

      This is one of the worst things you can do to highly sensitive people. They experience your words in a deep and very personal way. Criticism penetrates their heart and seeps into their soul. They are natural people pleasers and have a tendency to engage in self deprecating behaviors to win the acceptance and approval of others.

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      5. Withholding or limiting love and affection

      HSP’s crave love and affection. It is the fuel that energizes their very being. The highly sensitive are prone to depression and feel heightened levels of anxiety. Physical touch helps to reduce anxiety and depression, which they feel on a much deeper level.

      6. Trying to change them

      Trying to change the sensitivity level of the super sensitive is an exercise in futility. It just will not happen. Your efforts to alter them will be sensed and then internalized. They will feel unloved and rejected.

      7. Not Encouraging them to get out of a rut

      Highly sensitive people are paradoxical in that they love spontaneity and are very adventurous but yet are hesitant to try new things. They can easily slip into the habit of staying home too often and become reclusive. Encourage them to get out of the house. Challenge them to get involved in things they love.

      Photo Credit: Shy Child from Sukanto Debnath on Flickr

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      Denise Hill

      Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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      Last Updated on April 11, 2019

      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

      I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

      I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

      Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

      How Communication Skills Help Your Success

      Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

      Create a Positive Experience

      Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

      When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

      What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

      Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

      As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

      Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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      Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

      Help Leadership Skills

      It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

      Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

      As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

      Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

      If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

      Build Better Teams

      Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

      In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

      If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

      When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

      Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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      How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

      There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

      Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

      1. Listen

      Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

      Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

      People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

      Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

      Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

      2. Know Your Audience

      Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

      Here is a good way to think about it:

      Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

      You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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      3. Minimize

      I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

      He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

      Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

      State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

      The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

      4. Over Communicate

      So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

      What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

      Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

      Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

      Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

      There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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      5. Body Language

      The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

      When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

      In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

      When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

      Conclusion

      Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

      Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

      There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

      Now go communicate your way to success.

      More Resources About Effective Communication

      Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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