Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

Have you ever heard of the trait of high sensitivity? They say 15 to 20 percent of people are born with it. It’s not a disease or disorder, it’s normal and innate.

Highly sensitive persons (HSPs) are more aware of subtleties and process information deeply. This is mainly because their central nervous system works differently and has an increased sensitivity to stimuli. That’s why HSPs are more prone than others to stress and overwhelm and need more quiet time to recharge.

Are you highly sensitive?

+ Do loud environments make you want to run and hide?

+ Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or noises nearby?

+ Are you frequently emotionally exhausted from absorbing other people’s feelings?

+ Do you walk into a room and immediately sense the moods of the people in it?

+ Does having several different tasks to complete actually make you less productive because you become overwhelmed and stressed?

+ Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?

+ Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?

+ Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?

+ Do you consider yourself abnormally empathetic?

+ Do you hate open office plans and prefer to work in private, calm environments?

+ Do you dislike sitting or standing in the middle of a room? Do you prefer being close to a wall, so that you have all the energy of others in front of you and not all around you?

+ Do you easily sense when other people are feeling overwhelmed?

+ Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?

+ Do cluttered, chaotic, or just plain ugly environments really unsettle you?

+ Do you have a rich and complex inner life?

+ When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

+ Do you get really irritable when you’re hungry?

+ Are you sensitive to changes in your blood sugar level?

+ After a long day, do you need solo, quiet time to recharge?


If you answered “yes” more times than “no”, chances are you’re an HSP.

I’m an HSP too.

This is not the end of the world. And there’s nothing wrong with us.

Yes, I admit, being an HSP has its drawbacks, but it also has many beautiful and unique advantages. Recognising that you are highly sensitive is the first step towards embracing it and learning how to better care for yourself.

When I realised that I was highly sensitive, suddenly all my struggles in my life so far made sense.

With this knowledge I was holding the key in my hands to open a door to a new life. It was liberating. It set me free. Because now I was able to learn more about high sensitivity and what I truly needed to feel good in today’s world.

It’s about knowing how to handle whatever life throws at you and which self-care tools suit you most to stay grounded, connected to your inner self, and keep you away of falling into the trap of your inner critic again.

That’s why self-care became so important to me. Self-care can mean different things to different people. You have to figure out what YOU truly need to nourish your body, mind, and soul, so that you can express your authentic self and shine your light brightly.

I still struggle when I feel the energy of other people, especially when the energy is a heavy or dense one. This is usually the case when a person has strong emotions like anger, guilt, and grief, is really nervous or restless, or has negative thoughts and opinions. Then I feel heaviness in my chest and I can’t breathe properly. The energy can get stuck to my energetic body if I don’t take precautions. Luckily, Reiki came into my life and I was able to start practising energy clearing and protection.

I need more alone time to be able to wind down. If I cancel an appointment (not a business one of course) it doesn’t mean I don’t like you or I don’t want to see you. It just means that I need to recharge. This is crucial for my well-being, to keep my sanity and not to go nuts.

Since I’m back in Germany, I honestly struggle a bit more with being an HSP. Somehow it was easier for me while living in Southeast Asia. Of course it’s easy when you live on a small tropical island without traffic, when you are near the ocean and you walk barefoot almost all day long. It’s a slower, simpler pace of life.

But my path brought me back here and I needed to adapt to the new circumstances. So my self-care routine became even more sacred to me.

Despite knowing that I’m highly sensitive, I’m still hesitant to talk about this topic with others. I don’t want to be labelled as fragile, over-emotional, intense, or too sensitive. I’m afraid that people would think that I just overreact or exaggerate, because they don’t know that there’s a biological explanation to it. And I don’t like people reducing me to the fact of being an HSP. There’s more to me.

But admitting it to myself and realising what I truly needed as a highly sensitive person in daily life helped me a lot to feel good. The good thing was that I finally started seeing me for who I really was and not the illusion of a false self with its unrealistic expectations.

Because most people are not highly sensitive, they simply don’t understand what it’s like to get very stressed out by a startling noise, a restaurant full of people, an angry person, or a busy weekend. So if you know someone who is highly sensitive, please be a little more compassionate with him or her.

Sentences like “Don’t be so sensitive”, “Pull yourself together”, or “Toughen up” don’t help us at all. It makes it even worse because we feel misunderstood. Try to be a bit more understanding and we can feel this and relax.

There’s no greater gift you can give a highly sensitive person than to respect and accept their sensitive nature. It’s not something we’ve chosen, and it’s not something we can simply will away or switch off.

If you are an HSP, please don’t think that this is a burden or a curse. This special trait is a blessing. Appreciate it as a gift.

It’s not a weakness either. It’s your strength in today’s world. Use it.

Embrace your unique self.

Ines Kirste

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