Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP)? A person who processes information on a deeper level and experiences life with more intensity than most people? Then you have come to the right place! This article provides resources that will help you when you’re just starting out on your Highly Sensitive Journey.
Maybe this is the first time you hear about high sensitivity and you wonder whether you have this personality trait? Then it could be a good idea to take a self-assessment quiz. This quiz was developed by Dr. Elaine Aron, the world-renowned pioneer who coined the term “highly sensitive person”.
As in any other journey, you need to start from where you are. Taking this quiz can help you gain awareness and give you “aha”-moments – especially if you’re not familiar with the high sensitivity trait already.
For an overview of the high sensitivity trait and its potential, please read my article “Join the Highly Sensitive Evolution” and sign up for my guide “Tap Into Your 12 Highly Sensitive Superpowers to Thrive in Business and in Life“. Many HSPs have found this guide very inspiring.
You’re not alone
For me, it was tremendously eye-opening to learn of the existence of the high sensitivity trait back in 2016. Although scary, it was also liberating! My very first thought when I learned about this trait and understood that I’m a highly sensitive person was: “Oh no! This sounds complicated…!”. I wrote about this in a guest article for HiSensitives, an empowering personal growth platform specifically for HSPs.
Highly sensitive people often feel different, or maybe even “flawed”. Thinking there’s something wrong with you because people around you keep trying to force you to “fit in”, can induce a strong feeling of loneliness. Know that you’re not alone. And know that if you’ve been going through difficulties as a consequence of not knowing that you’re highly sensitive, it’s not your fault.
Let’s make an inventory of the assets and challenges that come with this trait. Doing so will help you enhance your assets and cope with the challenges so that you can reach your highest potential!
Inform yourself to empower yourself
Informing yourself about the high sensitivity personality trait is crucial to empower yourself. Not only will this help you enhance your natural assets and cope with the challenges, as stated above, but it will also improve your relationships. If you come from a place where feelings of inadequacy abound, it will be difficult to make your voice heard and respected in a world that is getting more and more crowded and noisy.
Unfortunately, we live in a world dominated by a mindset of lack. I discuss the mechanisms of this in the article “Your power is in your hands – use them!“. This collective mindset of lack often translates into aggressive or even violent behavior, and an excess of sensorial stimulation overall. As long as you don’t know how to communicate your needs and set boundaries in an assertive way, chances are you’ll be run over or taken advantage of by others. Because most people operate under a mindset of lack, they believe that in order for them to have a piece of the pie, someone else must be left without. It’s an either/or-logic – and you definitely don’t want to be the one always left without whatever resource was being disputed.
In reality, Life is incredibly generous and operates under a both-and-logic. Instead of fighting over pieces (or even crumbles) of a pie – let’s manifest more pies! But we’ll leave that discussion for another day. For now, let’s look at resources that will empower you in the world in its current state of affairs.
10 must-reads for highly sensitive people
I consider the following books as must-reads for highly sensitive people. It’s not necessary to read them in order. Whichever title resonates more with you is the one you need right now. However, I do recommend you read all of them eventually. The content will empower you and give you both awareness and practical tools.
Some books, especially the ones authored by Dr. David R. Hawkins, have such high frequency that the mere fact of reading them helps raise your vibration! If “frequency” and “vibration” are new terms to you, this article is for you! In short, raising your vibration is a good thing. It helps you attract the right people, circumstances, and objects that will help make your life journey a more enjoyable one.
Books about high sensitivity
- “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” by Elaine Aron, Ph.D. (1997). This is the first masterpiece on the HSP trait and is used as a trusted reference in many other books that were published later.
- “Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person” by Barrie Jaeger, Ph.D. (2004). As the title suggests, this book focuses on work. It also discusses stress management and finding your calling. Foreword by Dr. Aron.
Books about human consciousness, emotions, and healing
- “Power vs Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior” by Dr. David R. Hawkins (1994). This is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in understanding human consciousness, and why the world works the way it does. Especially interesting for people who want to harness the power of their own consciousness.
- “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender” by Dr. David R. Hawkins (2012). This title provides strategies on how to surrender, which is key for spiritual growth. The book also includes a long list of all the possible and impossible things that people do when they refuse to surrender. Hilarious!
- “The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for Abundant Health, Love, and Happiness” by Dr. Bradley Nelson (2007). Emotions can be an Achilles heel for highly sensitive people – especially when negative emotions get trapped in our system. This fascinating book explores emotions from an energy perspective.
- “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay (1984). This classic in self-help and personal growth is as accurate today as it ever was. It teaches you how to overcome limiting beliefs, and how to train your mind to become the powerful tool it’s meant to be.
Books about the human mind and human behavior
- “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle (1999). This classic of spiritual literature discusses in detail how the human mind works. This is incredibly helpful since most human interactions happen on a mind-level.
- “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People” by Vanessa van Edwards (2018). The author often introduces herself as a “recovering awkward person”, since she suffered from severe social anxiety when growing up. She’s the founder and lead investigator of Science of People, and a specialist in body language. With her guidance, you’ll never have to dread small talk or networking events again!
Books about the Law of Attraction
- “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne (2006) – also available as a film, released the same year. “The Secret” popularized the Law of Attraction (LOA) and introduced the general public to powerful visualization and gratitude exercises. Learning about the LOA is incredibly helpful when it comes to taking ownership of your life. Implementing the principles allows you to step into your power as the creator of worlds that you truly are.
- “Ask and it is given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks (2004). This classic about the Law of Attraction goes much deeper than “The Secret”. It explains how thoughts are at the “leading edge of creation”, and refers to emotions as a guidance system. You’ll understand perfectly well what the term “alignment” means after reading this book!
Surround yourself with supportive people
Now that you have informed yourself and (hopefully) adopted healthy, empowering habits to live your best life, make sure to surround yourself with supportive people. HSPs are more sensitive to their environment than less sensitive individuals. Of course, this includes the human environment they’re immersed in.
It can be a good idea to join HSP communities, both online and offline. However, know that online HSP communities can be a double-edged sword.
On the bright side, an HSP community can give you emotional support and tips on resources and information that you will benefit from. Reading about the experiences of other HSPs can help you feel understood, as they put words to experiences you’ve had yourself.
On the darker side, many people share their struggles in these online communities. Some can share details that might trigger anxiety in you, or bring to the surface unresolved traumas of yours. Therefore, while these interactions can uplift you, they can also drain you significantly. With the well-developed empathy we possess as HSPs, it’s almost impossible to read about others’ suffering without feeling affected. Therefore I suggest you limit the time you spend in these forums and give attention to nurturing your relationships in real life.
It goes without saying that you also benefit from cultivating relationships with people who are less sensitive than you. Many family members and friends that you knew before gaining awareness of being highly sensitive, are likely to be less sensitive than you. The same goes for your workplace, where you don’t get to choose the people you’ll be surrounded by on a daily basis. The knowledge and practical tools you’ll learn when diving deeper into the different resources provided in this article will help you contribute to harmonious relationships. I say “contribute” because the people around you have to do their part of the job too!
Sensitive: The Untold Story
A final resource that I want to leave you with, is the documentary “Sensitive: The Untold Story” (2015) featuring singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette. She shares how her high sensitivity allows her to connect deeply with her audience, in addition to giving her the creativity necessary to create music.
“Sensitive: The Untold Story” provides an excellent overview, backed up by science. It also illustrates many everyday situations that are relatable to most HSPs. Moreover, the format is possibly more convenient for sharing. It’s easier to convince people close to you to invest an hour watching a documentary with you, rather than spending hours of reading books. They might not be as motivated as you are to learn everything about this personality trait. You’ll find the official trailer of the documentary below.
Feel free to share this article with family and friends to help them understand you better. Now that you’re empowered, go out into the world and do your magic!
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.