I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP). And I have the world’s most sensitive nose. So I had to laugh out loud when I saw a cartoon that showed two dogs lounging at their master’s feet. His shoes are off, and one dog says to the other, “Superior sense of smell: blessing or curse?”
“Blessing or curse?” That’s a familiar question to those of us who were born sensitive. You might not have a bloodhound’s sense of smell: maybe your skin is so sensitive that you cut tags out of your clothing so they don’t irritate you to a point of frantic insanity.
Or perhaps you are a human bat, incredibly light-sensitive. My HSP partner does his pre-dawn, get-out-the-door-to-the-gym routine in the dark: for him, bright light in the morning is like an ice pick to the brain.
Elaine Aron, the psychologist who identified and named the HSP trait, puts these reactions under the category of sensory sensitivity. While sensory sensitivity shows up differently in each of us, all HSPs have it in some form, along with the three other shared HSP traits of emotional intensity, depth of processing, and overwhelm/overarousal. And unfortunately, our HSP sensory sensitivity can feel like a curse. [Read more…]