When Dr. Elaine Aron published her classic “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” back in 1997, in her own words, she initiated a minor revolution. Dr. Aron is recognized worldwide as the pioneer in research on the highly sensitive personality trait. In this article, we’ll explore the connections between sensitivity and the evolution of Consciousness. You’ll also be invited to join the Highly Sensitive Evolution – how exciting is that?!
DOES summarizes the characteristics of the highly sensitive personality trait
Nowadays there’s an acronym to describe the trait: DOES. (An author’s note was published in 2016 with updates, where this acronym was included.)
D stands for Depth of processing;
O stands for Overstimulation;
E stands for giving emphasis to Emotional reactions and having a strong Empathy;
S stands for being sensitive to Subtleties.
Dr. Aron has written many other books on high sensitivity since that first masterpiece, including: “The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook” (1999), “The Highly Sensitive Person in Love” (1996), “The Highly Sensitive Child” (2002), and “The Highly Sensitive Parent” (2020).
Although decades of research are huge for an individual, on a societal level there’s still plenty of work to do to raise awareness. Of course, there are also many researchers who have been inspired by Dr. Aron’s work and are doing research on the HSP trait. I believe it’s important to raise awareness in a variety of ways, scientific research being one – but not the only – method.
“If you tell a blue-eyed person that their eyes are too blue, they will just look back at you with those blue eyes”
In the Ted talk “The gentle power of highly sensitive people” (below) from 2016, entrepreneur Elena Herdieckerhoff explores both the challenges and benefits of being highly sensitive. The interest in the topic has been massive, as you can see – to this date, the video has been viewed over five million times!
What spoke to me in this video were mainly three things:
1. Just like Dr. Aron, Herdieckerhoff emphasizes the fact that being highly sensitive is an innate trait. She uses an analogy that says it all: saying to someone “you’re too sensitive” is like saying to them “your eyes are too blue”. It doesn’t matter how much you try to change the eye color of someone else – they will just look back at you with those blue eyes. Sure, they could use contact lenses of another color. That would be like an HSP acting like the less sensitive majority. From time to time their true colors will shine through though. It really IS more beneficial for everyone when HSPs feel safe enough in any given environment to be themselves.
Butterflies want to be free!
2. Herdieckerhoff also shares an anecdote from her childhood that includes butterflies. She says that when seeing those beautiful creatures with joyfully colored wings, she wanted to protect them by putting them in a glass jar. However, she quickly realized that butterflies do NOT like captivity! Similarly, although highly sensitive people may seem fragile to outsiders, HSPs don’t need to be rescued. Overprotecting them will do more harm than good. HSPs have to learn to use their wings, like everyone else. Isn’t it a beautiful story? Especially since butterflies represent transformation. When given the right environment and conditions, HSPs can transform beyond recognition – in a positive sense!
3. To wrap it up, Herdieckerhoff closes her talk with a reference to John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Our HSP entrepreneur called “Imagine” the “biggest sensitivity anthem of all times”, inviting her audience to join hands with her to make this world a gentler one. Indeed, what would this world be like without the contributions of sensitive Souls who had the courage to express themselves freely?
Sensitivity and the evolution of Consciousness
Sensitivity is a gift that the world needs more than ever. My all-time favorite book to understand human consciousness is “Power vs Force” by Dr. David R. Hawkins, first published in 1994. By the way, have you noticed that these classics, which originated in scientific research on human consciousness (Dr. Hawkins) and sensitivity (Dr. Aron) respectively, were being written almost at the same time? Universal intelligence working through dedicated researchers to bring more light into this world…
Similarly to how Dr. Aron elaborated a Highly Sensitive Person Scale, Dr. Hawkins elaborated a Scale of Consciousness, indicating the different levels of vibration and their associated emotions.
On this scale from 0 to 1000, there’s a threshold at 200. This threshold stands for courage and integrity. You need to have the courage to live with integrity in order to support the evolution of your consciousness. And as you may know, Consciousness has priority over physical manifestation. You can learn more about this in my article “You Too Can Become An Alchemist“.
In a guest article that I wrote for HiSensitives, a personal growth platform for HSPs, I stated that sensitivity equals awareness. This is so because “you can only be aware of that which your nervous system can take in and process.” And the number one difference between highly sensitive people and people with any other personality trait is… that our nervous system is wired to process information on a deeper level. That’s why Dr. Aron has given this trait the scientific name “sensory processing sensitivity”.
We’re all interconnected energetically
Is it an advantage to be highly sensitive when it comes to the evolution of Consciousness? I certainly believe so! Is it a requirement though? No. Consciousness is designed to expand /evolve, so all people will experience an expansion of consciousness to some degree. However, by embracing our nature and working with it rather than against it, we actively promote the evolution of Consciousness – to the benefit of all.
Remember what Dr. Hawkins teaches us in “Power vs Force”: when one individual raises their vibration above 200, that outweighs the negativity from many individuals below 200. This is so because we’re all interconnected energetically. In consequence, the more your vibration rises, the more it will outweigh the negativity from others. To learn about the many benefits you can gain when dedicating yourself to raising your vibration, please read my article “12 AMAZING benefits from raising your vibration“.
Self-care ≠ selfish
Some people might accuse you of being selfish when you dedicate time and energy to yourself. Western cultures are excessively focused outwards. Many of us have been taught that we should sacrifice ourselves for others. Nothing could be further away from the truth! Everyone is responsible for their own well-being. You’ve probably heard the saying “nobody can give from an empty cup”. This is even more accurate for HSPs, who need more alone time to recover from and process sensory inputs.
Know that when people are being judgmental of you for taking care of yourself, that could actually be their way of asking for permission to do the same.
The Highly Sensitive (R)Evolution starts with YOU
Raising awareness among the general population about sensitivity, thus generating more tolerance towards sensitivity, is beneficial to EVERYONE. Just “Imagine” what the world would be like if more HSPs could shift focus away from defending themselves from hurtful comments and poor behavior, to their own personal growth and spiritual journey!
Here’s the thing. Societal change doesn’t happen overnight. Well, in some cases in History major Revolutions have indeed created major changes in a short time span. But that’s the exception that confirms the rule. In addition, there has to be a certain readiness or hunger for change in the population, for a revolution to be impactful. Evolution, on the other hand, is something we all can contribute to on an everyday basis. Evolution happens within our sphere of influence and at our own pace.
What I’m trying to say is this: 1. Don’t wait for someone else to change before you give yourself permission to change – which could mean simply being yourself. 2. Small, consistent action steps usually bring about more powerful results over time than one (or a few) major, “revolutionary” change(s).
So, where to start? That’s the topic of another blog post: “Starting out on your Highly Sensitive Journey“.
About the author
Susanna is a Highly Sensitive Writer, Energy Worker, and Psychologist on a mission to help raise Human Consciousness. She offers 1:1 sessions as a certified Emotion Code and Body Code Practitioner, as well as group workshops about Conscious Manifestation.