Hi, I'm sensitive. So don't you dare change the dressing on my walnut salad, borrow my shoes, or tag me in an offensive meme. I'd love to be friends, but I recently discovered, confirming many suspicions, that I am an HSP (highly sensitive person) and it's not a psychological error, it's a wonderful trait that 20% of the population shares. Most of the research about this topic has been done by Dr. Elaine Aron, an HSP herself, also a university professor and psychotherapist, and the author of several books. Our heritage includes leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Princess Diana, Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and creatives such as Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Mozart. Not all of us are that talented, obviously, but we'll all notice if you change the toaster dial without informing us.

So don't keep me up late. I get unduly grumpy when I'm tired, as I'm more sensitive to sleep deprivation, and my emotional stability relies on staying zonked for 8-10 hours a night, a recommendation from Dr. Elaine, as long these hours are spent "in bed, sleeping or not.” The life of an HSP is so stimulating that more rest is required to recover from the day, and we can't rely on caffeine to improve our functioning ability (it usually gives me a headache and sends me into a state of distressing hype).

I'll also, probably, waste your time. I take a lot of time to make decisions, as nothing is simple, because of the intense opportunity cost to every minute of our lives. As a child, choosing what spread to have on my toast was a disturbingly long procedure, and the cause of many apologies later in life to uncles, aunties, and my parents. For every choice, I (mentally) make a list of advantages and disadvantages, then envisage every possible outcome, ranking them in order of most beneficial, and then linking them to my current situation and also the effect it will have on me in the near future, and those around me. JUST HAVE THE PEANUT BUTTER DAMMIT.

Oh and if you want to watch an action movie, I'll be no fun and use up all your tissues. I frequently get overwhelmed by my senses, as HSPs are generally more empathetic, which means we feel circumstances and emotions on a deeper level. This means that the warehouse scene in 'Knight and Day' is the wildest extent I am prepared to endure, and I'm never in the mood for a fight scene. It's because we process a significantly greater amount of information than the other 80% of the population, and the sight of blood and sound of breaking bones take us out of our state of peace and comfort, an excursion always regrettable and unsettling.

I'll also smell all your candles. So hide them, unless they smell good - I notice smells, producing an obscure habit that my dad hates: I smell my food before I eat it, especially spreads, salad dressing, and anything 'unknown.' HSPs are very sensitive to their environment, in all their senses, and in my case, the scent of my environment is one of the largest factors deciding whether I like it or not. My house is overpopulated by candles, and hopefully this recent diagnosis will verify the additional purchases I am about to go out and make. 

It doesn't mean you cry a lot, but I cry a lot. I am easily overwhelmed, as HSPs notice everything around them, which can make situations more chaotic, novel, intense, and complex. We also care too much, and have a tendency to worry, and strive not to make mistakes and inconvenience others. When this happens, it's upsetting, and the worst outcome is disappoint somebody. 

I also don't regret accepting myself as an HSP - it's not a negative pursuit, despite the view that sensitivity equals weakness. HSPs exhibit positive traits such as higher capacity for empathy, focus, creativity, intensity and appreciation of beauty. We're also programmed to make a difference, as Dr. Barrie Jaeger, author of 'Making Work Work for Sensitive People,' says "HSPs need to find meaning in our work: it must not conflict with our values." Dr. Elaine also points out that HSPs are “traditionally poets, writers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, philosophers and theologians,” who have historically contributed significantly to the world.  

HSPs are good listeners and because we process information more deeply (pausing to check, observe, and reflect on or process what has been noticed), we often know exactly what is bothering somebody, so we're solution oriented and positioned to help. Because of the depth of the processing that we naturally do, we are capable of intensive intellectual reflection and deep levels of thinking. 

"The process of being visible means accepting yourself. If you don’t believe that anything about yourself is good and valuable, you cannot give that level of quality to others. To give, you must believe you are of quality. It means being more true to yourself, and trusting your instincts, judgment, gifts, and self-worth", says Dr. Barrie. 

Considering all of the above, I hope we can be friends, and that you haven't locked all your candles in a closet in fear of neighbouring HSPs. We'd feel to guilty too take them. 

Are you a sensitive person?

madison x 


  1. Hi Madison,

    It is clear that you've done your research. From reading this, it sounds like HSPs are wonderful companions- good listeners, problem-solving orientated and sensitive. Those are all powerful traits for an individual to have.

    I think I could be more sensitive. I've got a lot of barriers up which doesn't help my sensitivity. I like to protect myself from being hurt.

    Thanks for opening up and for all the insight.


    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! Agree about the barriers thing, being vulnerable is challenging (for me also) xx

  2. Im not a sensitive person at all,In fact Im the complete opposite and I never really understood HSP's but reading your post helped me just a bet and Ill try and be more careful with what I say and how I act because the last thing I want to do is hurt somebody.


    1. I love hearing about different types of people haha!

  3. Not really, but this was very inspiring 💐

  4. As I am reading this, I am thinking this sounds a lot like me. I always hated that I was so sensitive and often had people point it out, which just made even more self aware about it.

    Thank you for this post!

    Zeynab x
    The Beauty Load

  5. I'm glad you shared this post as it taught me a lot! Thanks for opening up about it :)

  6. This post is very creative and insightful <3 x thanks for sharing!

    Blog | Bits of Reg

  7. I like your blog, its really dope.
    Do you want to follow each other?
    If you want, than follow me, and let me know in comments, so I can follow you back with pleasure.
    We can follow each other on Instagram @andjela.dujovic, let me know in the comments so I can follow you back.

  8. Hi Madison,

    I'm an HSP too. I just stumbled across your blog when I found your comment from a Career Girl Daily post, and I am so glad I found you! This post was especially spot on for me as anything gets me into tears. Especially good things like mornings and a damn good cup of joe, and like EVERY episode of Grey's (omg..). If anyone who reads this post needs a good cry (HSP or not) watch The Light Between Oceans. Thank you so much for your post M, it's so good to get the word out there about high sensitivity.

    Stay golden, Ponyboy

    1. I agree, it's not something that I've heard a lot about. Thanks for this comment!! x

  9. I sugest you read quiet power it's a book about being introverted, but I reckon the things you've described in this post would most defintley be explained by this book. So yeah! Give it a go and let me know if you like it!!

  10. hi I'm and HSP and i get that you cry a lot because i cry...alot your not alone don't worry


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