From 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person, author Jenn Granneman Dec. 12 2019 .
Disclaimer: I am not giving professional advice here. These are my opinions. That said…
14. You’re misunderstood.
15. You get hangry.
16. Who needs stimulants?
14. You’re misunderstood.
Well, not so much mis-understood, but mis-labeled.
You are only misunderstood when what you communicate delivers a different meaning than what you intended.
You are mislabeled when others make presumptions about you that are incorrect.
Miscommunication can happen when a person is visiting an unfamiliar culture or place, for example.
All those unconsciously learned behaviours we don’t even think about are suddenly out of place. We intend to conform to this new-to-us social code but instead send the wrong messages. (…body language, social expectations…burping, farting, laughing, showing skin, not showing skin, eye contact, no eye contact, shaking hands, bartering, haggling, thanking, not thanking, bowing…it goes on and on…). In these settings the meaning of our expressions can often be misunderstood.
What happens to HSPs is mislabeling…how others need to quickly apply a label to someone different from them. In this case so they can quickly fit HSPs into their understanding of their world.
This might be lazy thinking, but it’s just how our brains work. We understand the world through our memories, and our memories are made from stories. That’s how we work. Our memory is not digital, like a googlepoopillion sized hard drive. So we want to put you into our story as easily and simply as possible.
Ironically, what the Creative does, and does best, is mess up those stories. The down side of our memories and the stories we build – which are the beliefs we think are unchanging – is that over time the stories become less and less accurate, until they are not really understanding or explaining the world very well at all anymore. The Creative makes you actually look, not label. Makes you see the world differently. The Creative tells you a different story.
So, the HS Person gets mislabeled. Shy. Introverted. Overly emotional. Jumpy; anxious. Unreliable. Late. A pushover, a wimp. Nerdy. Unpredictable.
These are just too simple, not accurate enough. They are mostly negative labels and are evidence of a lack of respect from the labeler.
This comes back once again to issues of respect and control.
But there is a good news!
The Highly Sensitive Person – Creative has it somewhat better.
The labels are still there, but the irony is that a story, an easy label, is exactly what the Creative person needs! This propensity to apply labels plays straight into the Creatives’ social obligation to have a ‘mythical biography’ that goes along with, and informs, their creative work.
“I started drawing at the age of six and never stopped.”
(Not likely, and so what? Virtually every child draws. And if you can’t stop and that is all you do, you’re mentally ill…)
“She began with crayons on her mother’s walls, and has exploded onto canvas.”
(Again, not uncommon and what happened to the 15 years in-between?)
“My work has always shattered stereotypes, ever since I put my sister’s Barbies’ arms on my GI Joes.”
(well, Why not?)
“He was always different and now his work is ground-breaking!”
(Every HSP Creative is different from the 90% of the population
who are neither. Explains nothing.)
See? Ridiculous statements, but they are made all the time.
“Picasso’s first word was ‘pencil’ .”
Shortly after changing his own diaper, I imagine. (Picasso’s father was an art professor who painted in a home studio and gave lessons there. So maybe pencil was his first word. But again, so what? If Picasso had lived with his parents on a fishing boat and they were illiterate, then ‘pencil’ would have been remarkable.)
As a HSP Creative, you have an opportunity to craft your own persona, make your own labels.
As I’ve written before in this series, it’s about Self Direction. The HSP Creative needs to take charge of ‘the narrative’, that is, the labeling and the story. All Creatives need to have control over how they live and how they work, and more so if one is a Highly Sensitive Person.
The mislabeling will still happen, but, as the saying goes, ‘get out in front of it’, and then your story – your narrative and your labels – will, more likely and more often, be adopted.
All the rest of it? Water off a Ducks Back.
15. You get ‘hangry’ easily.
Not only do HSPs have less capacity to deal with stimuli and stressors, but their gas gauges can suddenly drop to empty, like on my 16 year old Tarus. “I’ve got more than a quarter tank left, no worries. (10 minutes later) Oh crap, now its near empty!”
Highly Sensitive People mentally and even physically literally operate in a higher gear. Our engines idle at higher RPMs. We burn more calories.
If you are Creative as well, you can find yourself burning a lot of energy, especially when you are deep into creative work. Burns a lot of calories.
So a sudden drop in blood sugar level, leaving you hungry and grouchy can happen.
You’re sensitive. Keep tuned into your body. “The body never lies.” Where did I hear that? Oh, I’ve said it here myself.
Eat properly, and if you suddenly feel exhausted, which can also bring on negative feelings about your work, take a few minutes to eat and restore your equilibrium.
And the health regime be damned! Who cares what time of day it is, or night. If you’re hungry, eat something good.
16. Who needs stimulants?
This is a hornet’s nest. Sure, we HSP Creatives can really get jacked on caffeine. And we can use alcohol to blot out the world when it gets too much.
HS Persons can also be highly distracted. And can be actually Attention Deficit. And as children, ironically over active, as a way to get all that over stimulation out of their systems. Or actually be Hyperactive.
These are different conditions. But the symptoms cross over.
Sometimes the drugs that balance brain chemistry for ADD or ADHD people, which are stimulants, might help HSPs. But it could also be the wrong approach.
Same as for treating clinical depression. HSPs and HSP Creatives can certainly run into deep funks, exhausted and tired with work that hasn’t gone well, wasting time and money and bringing on self-doubt. Add to that relationship problems and the HSP may appear to be situationally depressed. Or they are depressed. Or are truly clinically, chemically depressed, which is what caused the other problems to happen.
The message here is to reach out for help when you need it. Work with health professionals if you can. And know yourself.
Some people ‘just can’t take it’ and ruin their health trying to deal. Creative HSPs too. We are not immune.
How do you deal with violence in your life? How can you be ‘normal’ when you’ve been abused? It’s worse if you’re Highly Sensitive, and I dare say, even worse when you are a Creative.
I can say this: Your greatest superpower is knowledge.
As a Highly Sensitive Creative Person, know yourself, believe in your gifts, and don’t be afraid to seek help.
And don’t drink coffee until you’re 16. And never smoke cigarettes.
And be nice.
Until next time…