Hello Lovely Lady
Are you A Highly Sensitive Introvert, don’t like crowds or noise but don’t know why? Do you ever feel like you just don’t ‘get’ yourself? And others don’t ‘get’ you either? In this post let’s discuss the importance of understanding who you are.
Ever Feel Like You’re Misunderstood.
You’re surrounded by people who appear to behave differently and who interpret the world in a much more light-hearted way than you do? You appear to feel more deeply and become more sensitive than they do, but you don’t understand why?
If so, I totally get it.
I spent some years of my life thinking I might be mildly bipolar (I now know I’m not). All due to the fact that I could get very distressed about things for no apparent reason. Including situations that were beyond my control, and I would have to make an effort to calm down.
Being so sensitive wormed a way into so many aspects of my life, and even though I came to accept it, I also resented it with a passion!
I’ve spent years wondering why I get sooo upset over what’s happening in the world. Over why humans can be so greedy, mean, cruel, dictatorial, or warmongering, and at times it’s driven me to question whether life is worth it.
I Consider Myself To Be A Sane, Positive Person
So why is it that I sometimes feel like there’s no hope for humanity?
That the planet and animals would be far better off without humankind messing up the oceans, forests, atmosphere, and just about anything else we touch?
Whereas most other people care about it, they can be upset over it and have it as a part of their life but without the mental anguish that I experience.
Of cause, while these things are true and I know many people feel the same way, I now know there’s a reason why I get so incensed by it all, sometimes to the point of despair.
If This Sounds Like You, Guess What, You’re Not Crazy
I’ve finally come to understand that we are normal and that there are many more ‘normal’ people like us. There’s an official name for us. Never thought there would be one but now that I know what it is, I’m rather proud of it! Drum roll…please!
**We Are Highly Sensitive Introverts**
Being highly sensitive is also the same as being highly intuitive. Women are naturally intuitive but Highly Sensitive Introverts (HSI’s) can become over-run by emotion.
Our rational side is aware that we are letting things get to us more than is sensible, particularly if the situation is beyond our control, but the sense of despair can be overwhelming at times.
People Like Us Feel Things More Deeply Than Some Others
That’s not to demean how others feel, it’s just that Highly Sensitive Introverts internalize things.
We dwell on them and often lose ourselves in the problem whereas others are less prone to fall into the ‘Life as we know it is over’ black hole.
This can be made much worse by severe situations like the current devastating Covid-19 pandemic. Not to mention a host of other really scary stuff going on in the world lately.
It’s important to make the effort to keep your sensitivity under control and be rational about things.
HSI’s You Have Skills You Can Be Proud Of
You also have other skills that I used to think were just plain strange but now I accept them as a normal part of my life. Like noticing subtle changes in a person’s mood or behavior when everyone else around them appears to be completely unaware.
Does this ever happen to you?
Can you sense the mood of a group of people in a meeting when something is brewing even before a word has been spoken?
Do you often feel compelled to turn in a certain direction just as something takes place and everyone around you misses it?
There have been many occasions where out of the blue I’ll think of a friend I should call on the phone when it suddenly rings and it’s her jokingly admonishing me for being so slack about not staying in touch. And no, it’s unlikely to be ESP.
No, we’re not clairvoyant and can’t help the police with investigations. Would be fun…but no!
We just pick up on things that other people are probably not tuned into because they’re focusing on more extroverted aspects of life. And, in my case with the phone calls, maybe I was tapping into my own guilt for not having called sooner.
It’s Nice to Know We’re Normal!
The more I investigate my new name tag, the more I realize that it’s incredibly common. So many of us, men and women alike share this personality trait, and yet it’s not discussed.
Probably because we misunderstand it (cue my thoughts of being bipolar) or just feel worried that we may be a little strange.
Men are particularly susceptible as they are likely to be very reluctant discussing these feelings with other men, or members of their family for fear of appearing weak or overly feminine.
HSI women can come across as snooty, anti-social, and aloof due to our reluctance to socialize and the inability to make small talk.
But here’s the weird part…it doesn’t mean we’re shy!
In fact it may surprise you that even many bloggers are actually introverts. Strange when you think about how much they put themselves ‘out there’. You would think that being on the web would be that last thing introverts would want to do.
You Can Be Introverted Without Being Shy
AND, shy but not introverted. Or you can be both…they’re not necessarily linked. You may love social events but just need a comfortable conversation to get started enjoying yourself.
But guess what…despite what you may have believed for years, your reluctance to socialize is also very normal. Although you may be able to chat with people you don’t always feel comfortable doing it.
Do You Find Light-Hearted Chit Chat Difficult?
Let’s set the stage for the differences between introverted and extroverted personality types. I have some totally extroverted friends who truly can’t function in life without going on girlie shopping trips.
They love to round the day off with a few drinks in a crowded bar talking drivel with some businessman, who’s hoping to score after a busy day at the office.
No chance with my happily married friends, but they’re extroverts so they thoroughly relish playing the light-hearted flirting game.
While it’s just verbal banter to my friends, it’s my worst nightmare.
Firstly, HSI’s don’t usually like crowded places. Secondly, they find it uncomfortable to make idle chit-chat (give me a D & M any day), and thirdly, although they cover it well, they are often socially awkward.
Extroverts Crave Attention
I don’t mean in a bad way. They wouldn’t get much pleasure from spending a quiet day just gardening or sitting on the couch with the cat and a good book.
No no no…they need to be off doing something now, with something planned for this evening, and for tomorrow, and maybe even next weekend. They have endless energy!
I love them, they’re uplifting, gregarious, and highly engaging. BUT, they also wear me out!
After an evening with them, I feel like I’ve just done 5 rounds with Mike Tyson…totally spent. While they go off looking for the next fun time! Does any of this resonate with you?
Implications For A Highly Sensitive Personality
What are some of the implications in life for a Highly Sensitive Introvert? In my case, it totally dictated how I behaved in my career as well as my personal life.
Spending 20 years as a successful sales consultant in the corporate world, I used to get comments from my colleagues and clients, about how confident I was and that’s one of the reasons why they thought I did so well.
Confidence Wasn’t In My Skill-Set. I Faked It!
Little did my clients and colleagues know that I was the opposite of confident. I was frequently nervous, usually felt nauseous before a client presentation, and going into meetings with colleagues and management freaked me out.
I absolutely loathed our bi-annual company events even though I was with people I knew well. (Does this sound like you?) Plus, I don’t like making idle chatter or listening to the bullshit that some salespeople tell each other about their accomplishments.
So instead, I would spend most of the evening helping with the canapes, getting drinks for others, and wondering what time I could safely escape without offending management.
I hid all my feeling well, but at a huge cost…STRESS!
The Cost of Not Understanding Who You Are
If you don’t understand that the way you feel and react is perfectly normal due to the fact that you don’t understand your personality type, then you can suffer as a result.
Finally, I accepted that the stress of everything was building up. That the constant meetings and corporate events made me so uncomfortable, that I realized how much I hated my job enough to quit and make some ‘life’ changes.
But Life Can Be Incredibly Ironic
Two weeks after quitting and deciding to live a more meaningful and less stressful life I found out I had kidney cancer. No doom and gloom story here. I was lucky, it was caught very early, removed quickly and I’m cancer-free. But here’s the thing…
My surgeon asked me how my cancer had been picked up so early as there often aren’t any symptoms of kidney cancer until it’s quite advanced, and I didn’t have any symptoms at all. I just sensed something wasn’t right.
So, I asked my doctor to run the usual blood tests, cholesterol, diabetes, and a urine sample. My urine contained some blood, so an ultrasound was ordered, and Voila!
Women Are Good At Tapping Into Their ‘Gut Feelings’
And we don’t have to be highly sensitive to do it. We are prepared to listen to our intuition, although sometimes we don’t always take it seriously enough to actually ACT on it.
Maybe, if I wasn’t so sensitive and hadn’t trusted my intuition (or had I been a man and refused to discuss it) I may not have listened to the little voice in my head.
Instead, I may have been out partying with my extroverted friends (which I still do by BTW only not as often as they would like), and totally dismissed any feeling of misgiving, putting it down to too many Mai Tai’s.
The Power Of Embracing Who You Are
There’s a sliding scale between Introvert and Extrovert and we are all somewhere on that scale. Needless-to-say, I now fully embrace my personality type.
It’s empowered knowing that you can and should trust you sensitivity and intuition. You should fully embrace. It’s a wonderful personality trait and it will serve you well and probably already has in various ways throughout your life.
People I’ve Only Just Met Open Up To Me
More lately I’ve come to understand why my friends, and sometimes even people I’ve only just met, open up about themselves without me soliciting information.
When you are HSI, people appear to trust you with personal information that they don’t even want to share with family members.
Understanding that sensitivity and empathy you feel may be why they are comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts. I don’t seek this out and in the past I resented it. But now I embrace it.
Maybe you have experienced this?
Do you sometimes question why you always become the sounding board for everyone else’s issues, but no one really knows about you?
Sometimes I felt used because no-one asked how I was. But now I understand that I gave the outward impression that I had it all together. My perceived strength helped bring out their vulnerability.
Now I See Being A HSI As A Blessing…maybe you do too.
So much so that I have trained to qualify as a Health Coach. So now my listening skills have found a home I am truly comfortable in.
I now know that I’m not a nutcase overreacting to everything; people, events, possibilities even before they’ve happened…and hopefully, you feel the same way. Our sensitivity is a strength. What’s more, it is complemented by the traits of other personality types.
I can be emotionally uplifted by being around an extrovert, while they may feel calmer around me.
So, as HSI’s, you can have fun in their company enjoying their exuberance and spontaneity, and they feel confident in your loyalty if they want to discuss something that’s bothering them.
You can be empathetic and a good friend…then go home and chill out on the sofa with the cat…it’s a win-win.