Did you take the test to see if you are HSP: a highly sensitive person, as per the last post? As mentioned there, people seeking my mentoring services last year had a very common thread, generally, an obliviousness to their own sensitivities: a birth-given gift and crucial tool, not simply a conditioned “asset” or “deficit”. Biological sensitivities – mostly acknowledged wrongly as being “emotional” or “too sensitive”, play a huge role in our personalities; identifying and mastering our specific biological traits – be it in times of challenge or times of growth, make life a whole lot easier.
I suppose there’s a quickie test for everything nowadays and we’d drive ourselves insane trying to figure life out rather than live it; but I have to say, twenty years ago, stumbling across Mel Levine’s work on “learning patterns” (A Mind at a Time) and Elaine Aron’s HSP quiz, raised neon flashing-flags for me so crimson that I thought my eyes were bleeding! Clearly: triggers that there was something there for me to pay attention to; enough to wake me up to look at myself not through expectation or behaviour, but through what my simple biology brings to the table. It changed the whole dynamic of my life.
Awareness is my point. The more aware we are of our personal characteristics the better we can navigate. What if the likes of judgment-inducing procrastination or lack of direction is really due to your biology? You think you’re unmotivated and lazy… when in reality, your biology fumbles with the tools that you learned should work … seem to work for everyone else. For instance, a right-brain, visual learner doesn’t benefit from sitting down and making a detailed goal list: a flow-chart or visionboard maybe… but did you ever learn to “visionboard” your goals, huh, huh – did ya?? Colour-blindness affects 8% of men and .5% of women* translating to 7% of boys and .4% of girls thinking they were idiots growing up,** not understanding that there weren’t four red crayons in the box but cerise, fuschia, brick and mulberry, as classmates were only too quick to point out. An HSP might overwhelm with noise thus retreat to healthy quiet: earning an “introvert” label or anti-social stigma. Simplistic examples with life-altering implications; each scenario above could absolutely direct or challenge a life, relationship or career choice. Leaping off of ground-breakers like Levine and Aron, neuroscience research and evidence is rapidly connecting temperament, brain function, and biology/biochemistry so closely together now that ideologies like HSP and the VALUE in identifying any and all of our personal nuances becomes the true gift.
Speaking of the value of our gifts, a thought…
If HSP means that you have stronger or more intense emotions, it goes without saying that you must have high EQ: emotional intelligence.
Oh, so wrong!!! EQ is out-ranking IQ in the new thinking around life and career growth; and while there certainly can be a correlation of HSP and EQ – like say an HSP using a key trait of empathy to gain trust in anything from nannying to copy-writing, it’s not a given that HSPs can recognize and use their gift productively and/or intelligently. Non-HSPs absolutely can be emotionally intelligent, and have no less opportunity to be so than their HSP counterparts: we can all capitalize on any natural EQ skills, and of course, EQ can be learned. HSPs have a natural edge for EQ with more access to their right-brain functions, but this can also prove to be a detriment via its potential for over-stimulation: being auto-empathic can be e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g!! Learning one’s own HSP traits (or lack thereof) and how to manage it makes all the difference.
OMG all these letters: intellectual alphagetti! To that end, read on for my little ditty of recognizing HSP, funneling it into productive EQ, managing overwelm ATST, so my life wouldn’t be FUBAR. And… an article giving you a clue as to how hard you might have to work to improve your emotional intelligence: highly sensitive or not, it’s yours for the taking. BYKT.
Next: EQ… or EGO?