Why do we need highly sensitive people?
HSPs make up approximately 20% of the population. They are people whose nervous systems are highly sensitive to external stimuli. Books like Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person explain this unique trait. Many sensitive people are introverted, a characteristic which is receiving more attention due to Susan Cain’s book Quiet, which explores the nature and gifts of the quieter members of our world.
Modern culture is predominantly an extrovert culture. Extroverts are outgoing. An extrovert culture promotes the seeking of rewards, prestige, and power. Although extroverted characteristics are most often associated with non-sensitive people, interestingly, as many as 30% of HSPs are extroverts, balancing their interest in the world with a higher need for rest and rejuvenation.
Highly sensitive people can be introspective which affords them with an insightful perspective that can be practical and useful.
These are some of the gifts they can bring us:
- highly sensitive people often see what others do not. Our extroverted world is very fast; however, speed often means mistakes are easier to make. Sensitive people notice when the energy around them feels wrong and that includes when mistakes are being made. They have the potential to protect us from the mistakes of moving too fast.
- sensitive people are often deep thinkers. They may notice important overlooked factors in a particular situation. They can observe what is working and what is not, the connects and disconnects that can lead to eventual problems. They are able to notice pitfalls and potential land mines in our plans and strategies saving us needless headaches.
- highly sensitive people are holistic thinkers. This means that they offer an antidote to our fragmented society. Fragmentation increases the disconnection between different parts of a group, company, or an entire society. Holistic HSPs see and act as bridges between different parts of social or economic ecology to ease and improve problem-solving.
- HSPs have a capacity to handle complexity because of their energetic sensitivity, deep processing and introspection that makes them ideally suited to helping an overloaded world to manage its complexity better – as long as their need for rest is respected.
- HSPs are sensitive to all the various forces at any given point in time. They often work from a longer time frame which enables them to see current, emerging and dying forces at the same time. This ability to notice makes it possible for HSPs to set priorities from a big picture and a longer-term perspective.
- HSP are transpersonally oriented. Their empathy and sensitivity can reduce polarization between different groups or parts of organizations by locating common interest and common ground.
HSP’s are very sensitive to potential consequences of actions and therefore provide an important balancing function in a fast-paced world and fragmented society making them valuable people in our homes, companies, and communities.