Most of this post is an excerpt from my book, “Embracing High Sensitivity.”
As someone with a highly sensitive nervous system, you feel emotions more strongly than others.
Just like any other physical stimuli, you feel emotional energy more acutely and process it more deeply than non-HSPs. You’re simply not built for the “shake it off ” mentality. Your nervous system literally won’t let you. When you have an emotional experience, you have it in your whole body and it is stored and remembered more deeply than those without a highly sensitive nervous system.
Strong emotions can feel physically painful to a highly sensitive person. Rudeness that might feel like a slight pinch to a non-HSP can literally feel like a slap in the face to us. Grief that might take a day or two to overcome for a non-HSP might feel bone-crushing to an HSP.
Experiences that feel minor to the non-HSP may feel life-altering to a highly sensitive person because we feel them so deeply. Whereas others can more easily recover from an emotional experience and move onto something else, our deeply processing nervous system will take more time to cleanly process the emotional experience before we can move on to our next phase.
This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just a thing.
You need to know that not only do you feel things more deeply than others, you also take more time to process things. This is not because you’re slow;
rather, it’s because your nervous system stores things so deeply that it’s almost a different process.
Rather than simply throwing out an apple core, your process is more like driving to your storage unit, then climbing all the way to the back to clean out a row of boxes.
Oh, and yes, sensing other people’s emotions is a thing and you do it
I get asked all the time if it’s possible to pick up on other people’s emotions. This is a thing, and you probably do it. You’re deeply empathetic, meaning you can relate extremely easily to what someone else is feeling. You might even be empathic, which is when you have the ability to feel what someone
else is feeling in your body.
Let me be clear: there is no award for this, and it’s actually something
you want to learn how to not do (or at least have better discernment over) and to create better boundaries around. But it’s good to know that yes, this is a thing, and you’re probably doing it.
Picking up on other people’s emotions is a natural trait of high sensitivity. It’s largely due to the fact that we are attuned to subtle information in the environment, and emotions are a form of subtle information.
From a subtle-body perspective, this part of our trait means that our aura boundaries are a bit thin and we may be accidentally pulling other people’s emotions into our aura. Like the sticky fingers of a toddler, we don’t mean to stick to the cookie crumbs, but we do anyway.
So what do we do? How do we manage this?
We learn to become emotionally intelligent through learning emotional alchemy, the art of expertly processing our emotions. We also learn to gather greater discernment, both on the subtle body and physical levels, as to which emotions are ours and which aren’t.
Want to learn how to do to this? Read about the solutions in my book, Embracing High Sensitivity: Your HSP Guidebook to Eliminating Overwhelm, Handling Difficult Emotions, and Becoming the Boss of Your Life