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Highly sensitive people and the feeling of not being understood

One of the biggest problems with highly sensitive people is that people don't understand them. This is a subject that constantly comes up during coaching. So of course, being a minority, between 15 and 20% of the population, immediately offers a first explanation. The second is that HSP have complex emotions and deep feelings, without adding their other unique traits, and this is precisely what 80% do not understand. From the start, we deal with characteristics that we sometimes have difficulty understanding ourselves, so how could a person who does not have our particularities understand us?

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Why are hypersensitive people often misunderstood by those around them?

In the world of highly sensitive people there is also a lot of room for misunderstandings. When highly sensitive people have an extreme emotional response to stress, withdraw completely, or become angry over “nothing”, those around them may take it personally, if they are unaware of their trait. Others may think that the highly sensitive person is exaggerating, being dramatic, and overreacting to trivial details. From a distance, it might really look like this, although these reactions are completely natural for one experiencing an accumulation of sensory stimuli. When this accumulation reaches its limit, the slightest stress can then trigger a reaction which may seem out of proportion and difficult to understand by others. Overstimulation often leads to irritability, anger, outbursts, or a complete shutdown. Those who do not understand their own sensitivity or do not explain it to the people around them, risk triggering many misunderstandings - in private, as a couple and at work.

To avoid this type of situation, make the people closest to your life aware of your trait, but don't fall into victimization... you might push them away more, if they feel like they have to walk on eggshells with you.

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Do not forget our part of responsibility: being informed helps us to understand ourselves better and transmit information

How to make others understand that we have the ability to capture the emotions and energies of others? This may seem paranormal to the majority or they may even attribute it to an illusion on our part. However, for a highly sensitive person, not absorbing the emotions of others is a balancing act and a skill that they often do not master well, because they are not aware of it. They therefore do not know how to protect themselves from the energies of others.

Added to our own complexity, we also have to deal with other people's "stuff", so it's no wonder it becomes so confusing.

As if that wasn't already complicated enough, the majority of highly sensitive people are introverts (only 30% of hypersensitive people are extroverted). So in a society where extroverts lead the way, highly sensitive introverts don't really feel safe and even less taken into account.

Another common problem is that highly sensitive people often suffer from chronic illnesses. The figures speak for themselves: one in three people suffer from chronic emotional/physical pain, but most of these pains and/or health problems are often invisible. If you or a loved one has an invisible illness, you certainly understand the stigma and challenges that come with it. If you are also highly sensitive, everything is even worse, because it is amplified.

Another issue is the various “baggage”, more or less heavy, that we carry.

I don't know anyone, including myself, who hasn't encountered blockages or obstacles in their life.

Clients, friends or family have all faced personal problems at some point. Whether they grew up in a dysfunctional family, had difficult marriages or relationships, were victims of abuse or violence, and the list goes on sadly, each of us has a story that often leaves its mark on everyone. throughout life. And much more than we would like, these stories shape our perception of the quality of our experiences. Getting rid of our “baggage” is often the journey of a lifetime.

For the highly sensitive, the mission can be particularly difficult because many allow themselves to be defined by their past experiences and traumas, which also alters their perception of the world. These limiting beliefs are a real obstacle that can cause them to miss opportunities and their lives!

These beliefs are so ingrained that it is common for highly sensitive people not to realize how it intimately affects their choices. They are often ashamed of their stories, and are guilty of not having handled things in a good way because of their sensitivity. They manage to convince themselves that if they had not been so sensitive, their life would have come out better.

Yet when you view your idiosyncrasies as challenges and opportunities for personal growth, it becomes very interesting to use them to grow.

(Not sure if you're highly sensitive? Here are the signs of a highly sensitive person. You can also take the test here or below)

quiz: are you highly sensitive?

The key: Understand yourself so others can too

When highly sensitive people share with me their feeling of not being understood, I understand them deeply. We are all faced with this painful situation.

The key is to inform yourself about your trait. How else could you expect others to understand you? Now if, despite all this, you face recalcitrant people who don't even try to understand you, distance yourself. Why would you want to be surrounded by people who don't meet you at least halfway.

It is important and necessary that you surround yourself with supportive people who support you. Join the different digital communities where you can chat with other highly sensitive people. Share your story, ask questions and maybe you'll get advice from those facing the same challenges as you, or in the worst case scenario, you'll find unconditional support.

Accept that you cannot make decisions for others.

Unfortunately, you may have to deal with a loved one who is completely closed off to the idea of hypersensitivity. Sure, it's heartbreaking and frustrating, but it's a possibility you need to consider. So what should you do if you have tried everything to make them understand and admit your personality trait? What should you do when you see their lack of compassion, narrow-mindedness and stubbornness? Nothing. Quite simply. Now the ball is in their court, you have no control over their choice or their way of thinking. Your decision to close the topic may be difficult to accept, but it is the only choice for you to move forward. Ruminating on your disappointment will only prolong your suffering. If and when this person changes their mind, they will let you know. In the meantime, focus on those who support and understand you.

Take away

There are many options to improve our functioning as highly sensitive people. Although there is no proven technique that works for everyone, finding someone you trust and who understands, both in terms of their knowledge and life experience, will help you accept, to liberate and progress.

Your sensitivity should be celebrated and not seen as a burden. Not everyone will understand you and that’s okay. When you're feeling a little confused, remember all the amazing benefits that come with being a highly sensitive person, they are priceless.


You want to share your story, your struggles and the battles you won, and be part of our circle of sensitive and intuitive people. Come with us and let's chat with other highly sensitive people!

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What is your biggest struggle?

  • Feeling emotionally drained

  • Moving on and letting go

  • Criticism and conflict

  • Being under pressure


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