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I only wish I had, as it may have saved me much heartache and maybe even my first marriage. Fast forward to after my marriage ended. I spent a lot of time trying to understand what happened to sabotage our love. I was acutely aware that the weight of heavy stress in our lives had played a large part in unraveling our marriage. The challenges of having children, owning a home, and making a living that appeared fairly easy for others to handle felt exhausting and overwhelming for me.

And for my then-husband. It was then that I re-encountered the term HSP.

Top 10 Survival Tips for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) | Psychology Today

Because it turns out, we are both Highly Sensitive People. It was why we both felt flawed and run down much of the time. It requires a different approach to life and to love than normal. We simply have a more sensitive nervous system. This creates some very big challenges for HSPs living in cultures where speed, aggression, high stimulation, and insensitivity are not only the norm but are highly valued. We HSPs tend to be gentle, smart, and highly conscientious creatures who prefer quiet environments. It can be extremely overwhelming for HSPs to live in our type-a culture, with so much responsibility and never-ending to-do lists.

Because of our sensitive system, we take in more sensory information including emotions and process it all deeply. This means we feel pressure, fear, sadness, anger, and pretty much everything, more intensely. Seeing others in pain brings tears to my eyes this was problematic, too, as my ex was depressed a lot, which is also common for HSPs.

Making a mistake used to devour me with guilt yep, this too wreaked havoc on my marriage, because who can be genuinely loving and kind when they are being eaten up by guilt? What relief I felt as I started to understand that all this is normal for many of us!


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And that I could learn to work with it, instead of letting it work against me. Why does this all matter when it comes to your love life? Because if you do not understand, honor, and learn how to work with this trait, it can sabotage your relationship. I'm also not alone: Approximately one in five people -- women and men -- can be classified HSP, or as a highly sensitive person, according to HSP researcher and psychologist Elaine Aron, Ph. That makes it highly likely you know and love someone with the personality trait. Below are a few things to keep in mind about your highly sensitive loved ones.

We're going to cry. When we're happy, when we're sad and when we're angry. That's because highly sensitive people just naturally feel more deeply and react accordingly. Not all of us are introverts. Introversion does not equal sensitivity.

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In fact, according to Aron's research, approximately 30 percent of highly sensitive people are extroverts. Decisions make us nervous. Highly sensitive individuals are notoriously bad at making choices -- even if it's just picking out where to go to dinner. This is mostly because we agonize over the possibility of making the wrong one.

Secrets to surviving a highly sensitive (HSP) life

What if the food is bad?! We notice that subtle change in your tone. If you normally end each text message with an exclamation point and lately you've been using a period, you better believe we'll pick up on it. Highly sensitive people are generally more intuitive when it comes to the tiny nuances of our environment and we're more affected by shifts in other people's moods.

Highly Sensitive People: Guide to survive overwhelming relationships

We're always willing to hear you vent. Don't be afraid to reach out to use us when you need a shoulder to lean on.


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Our overly-empathetic nature allows us to be excellent listeners when you need it, because when you feel pain so do we -- and we want to do whatever we can to make you feel comfortable. Highly sensitive people make excellent teachers, therapists and managers for this reason. Repetitive and loud noises are the worst. Loud chewing, a barreling train, boisterous co-workers: You name it, we're sensitive to it. That's because chaotic or overstimulating environments have more of an influence on HSPs , according to Aron.

Our workplace habits are a bit atypical. Working from home or in a quiet space is a dream for highly sensitive people -- especially because it allows us to focus if we become too overwhelmed.

Life as a Highly Sensitive Person

However, don't let our solo work ethic fool you. They're going to rise to the top ," Aron previously told HuffPost. Don't ask us to see that new slasher movie. That same high empathy we experience for others combined with overstimulation makes gory, violent films truly terrible for highly sensitive people.

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Criticism is incredibly distressing. As a result, we tend to avoid anything that may cause those feelings of shame. This may mean we engage in people-pleasing or self-deprecating behavior more than most of our peers. In other words, we're far from perfect.