HSPs are estimated to be among 15-20% of the population. Elaine Aron is the one who first coined the term Highly Sensitive Person and has written quite a lot on the subject but she wasn’t the first person to acknowledge this in people. Carl Jung first wrote about this but called it something else. It was something like innate intuitiveness or sensitivity. Search Google and you’ll find it. Better still, read a book.
Forgive me, dear reader, this is not a formal or educational blog so you will need to put up with my amazing ability to forget important things. I’m here to share myself.
Elaine Aron describes HSPs as “advisors” and the rest of the population as “warriors”. In a nutshell, as advisers, we notice patterns, we consider options, and we detect danger. The warriors take heed, they spring into action, they protect and fight. Neither type is better than the other but both are crucial in the survival of the species. This is how the human race has evolved, think back to primitive man and you can see how beneficial this partnership would be.
Let me simplify it even further. Consider a herd of zebra grazing on the plains in Africa. Dotted throughout the herd you will see the occasional zebra with its ears twitching, their nose monitoring smells in the air. These are the “advisers”, the first detection of danger and they signal the herd of the danger and they react accordingly.
You see, humans aren’t the only animals that have evolved this ability. So what is it that makes HSPs and non-HSPs different? It’s not in the mind, so if you want to “switch teams”, it’s not going to happen. It’s the nervous systems that are wired differently.
I’ve always thought of myself as “safety girl” after a friend dubbed me so. I never understood why I was always considering the flaws in a plan, the potential risk to safety and similar things until I realised I was an HSP.
In case of an emergency, I always have a plan in my head to get to safety, there is always a plan B, C, D and so on. I’m the person that if I say “run”, “go”, “stop” etc.. you want to be listening and follow my lead.
If you have a plan, something you want to do, I’m a good person to discuss this with. I’ll help you see different approaches, pitfalls, and potential disasters or disappointments. All HSPs can do this, it’s part of how we tick.
Do people ask for my guidance or advice? Yes. Quite a few do. Will they take in what I say? Some do. If they don’t and things end up as I predicted, what then? That’s each individual’s choice whether they take someone else’s advice and I never judge their choice. The bottom line is we all have our own journeys in this life. Do I ever think, “I told you so”? Sometimes, but I don’t say it because that’s not helpful to anyone, not to mention a little mean.
The other “safety girl” feature I have is my inbuilt neighbourhood watch. When I live somewhere new, it takes no time at all to learn the new sounds, sights, smells, patterns, and movements of locals. I do this automatically, it’s not a conscious thing and it’s for my own safety and that of those living in the same house. The added bonus for neighbours is that I am able to know if something is amiss so I would be able to alert any emergency services if need be. I’m certainly handy to have around. And as I share with my sister (also an HSP), there is double the protection.