Think about the most successful person you know. How would you describe them?
For most of us, the true winners in our lives are defined by their creativity, their problem-solving skills and their ability to connect with other people – no matter how different their backgrounds might be. It may surprise you to learn that these are all qualities of highly sensitive people.
Highly sensitive people make up a significant percentage of the population. These are the people in your family who are always the first to notice when you’re feeling down before you’ve had the chance to say anything. Sensitive people are also the first to see emerging problems among co-workers, which can make them incredible mediators.
Despite its significant strength, there’s a trend in our society to hide sensitivity as though it was a bad thing. For far too long, sensitivity has been viewed as vulnerability, weakness, or something that needs to be overcome. However, the truth is that subtlety isn’t a bad thing. In fact, your sensitivity could be your biggest strength.
All you need to do is figure out how to use your sensitive side to your advantage.
Why Deny Your Sensitivity?
As mentioned above, researcher Elaine Aron found that approximately 20% of the population is highly sensitive.
Sensitive people are more likely to feel the full extent of their emotions, which means that they can often experience things like overstimulation and emotional reactivity. However, those with strong sensitivity also benefit from something else: emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, control and express your emotions in a safe way. With emotional intelligence, it’s also possible to empathise with others and understand their perspective in a way that non-sensitive people just can’t grasp. To have both emotional intelligence and a sensitive personality takes careful regulation and a commitment to managing your emotions. However, once you begin to understand your feelings on a deeper level, you’ll find that you can start to embrace emotions like fear, vulnerability, and grief as a catalyst for change.
Emotionally sensitive people know how to listen to their feelings and use them as a compass towards more profound growth and development. However, you may find that to unlock your true potential; you first need to engage in a journey that allows you to accept your sensitive side and appreciate your emotions for what they are.
The Benefits of Sensitivity: Why Every Team Needs a Sensitive Side
As the world around us continues to change, with increasing focus on technology and artificial intelligence, real human emotion is more valuable than you might think. While social conditioning continues to tell people that they need to be tough and that feeling emotions is a weakness, the truth is that your feelings are your allies.
Here are just some of the reasons why highly sensitive people are fantastic to be around.
They’re Emotionally Aware
Too many people today go through life with no thought of how their actions affect the people around them. However, sensitive people don’t just feel their own emotions; they feel the impact of their efforts on the people they love, and the people in their professional life. When you’re aware of how your activities affect others, you’re less likely to do something that would harm another person – even accidentally. This makes a sensitive person a highly reliable and trustworthy member of any team.
They’re Filled with True Passion
When you’re surrounded by passionate people, in either your personal or professional life, it’s much easier to feel dedicated to whatever you’re doing. Highly sensitive people have a much richer emotional world, which makes it easier for them to truly commit themselves to whatever they’re doing. Passionate, sensitive people give everything their heart and soul, which makes it much easier to get behind them when they’re leading you or work with them as part of a team.
They’re Extremely Creative
When everything is going wrong, and it’s hard to find a solution, a sensitive person is exactly who you need to help get you back on track. Emotionally sensitive people use their feelings and EQ to guide them in making more informed, creative decisions. A sensitive person will be more inclined to think outside of the box and find solutions that the standard person simply wouldn’t be able to see. In times of trouble, sensitive people come through.
They’re Great Leaders
Sensitive people can be fantastic leaders because they know how to understand the needs of their followers, keep them motivated, and ensure constant sources of inspiration. Sensitive people can respond to even the slightest changes in their teams and know when they need to make changes before problems have a chance to grow out of hand.
They Know When to Take Risks
Finally, sensitive people who know how to properly manage and understand their emotions can use their feelings as a compass, guiding them towards the right decision. This means that many sensitive people have an easier time making difficult choices because they’ve grown to rely on their gut instinct. While a sensitive person might agonise over a bad decision, they’ll never do something on a whim – their emotions will guide them in everything they do.
How to Use Sensitivity as a Strength in the Workplace
As the digital revolution leads to a more automated and robotic world, it’s the sensitive people that will continue to provide the empathy, creativity, and intuition that companies genuinely need. The abilities of compassionate people will never be replicated by technology, which means that there will always be a place for these people in high performing teams.
The question for many highly-sensitive employees, is how can they properly embrace their sensitivity in the workplace?
Have Confidence in Your Communication Skills
As mentioned above, many people with higher sensitivity have a lot of strength when it comes to things like “Emotional Intelligence.” A high EQ means that these sensitive people can understand and recognise emotions in both themselves and the people around them. Though sensitive people may need help in areas of self-management to limit problems with overstimulation, your hyper-awareness of emotions may mean that you need help acting on those emotions more constructively.
However, whether you’re motivating co-workers or leading them, your sensitivity will be a gift that helps communication to happen more smoothly. Highly sensitive people communicate well because they don’t just hear people’s words, they understand their tone and gestures too.
Be Prepared to Speak Up
Highly sensitive people can sometimes feel nervous demonstrating their sensitivity in front of others. However, because you’re more attuned to the world around you, there’s a good chance that you’ll be more likely to notice the things that other people miss.
As a highly-sensitive person, it’s up to you to speak up if other people have missed the important details that you’ve noticed. Although it can be nerve-wracking at first, your focus will help you to thrive in any workplace.
Embrace Team Situations
As mentioned above, people with a great deal of sensitivity are exceptional team members. These people have a rare ability to take people’s thoughts and feelings into account when making complicated decisions. For instance, when your team members are worried about the implementation of a new policy, you can talk through it with them – spotting many of the hidden benefits.
Sensitive people also are best-suited for collaborative and highly supportive environments. Just remember that you’ll need to take all the opinions of your co-workers into account before you make any choices about a team’s future.
Make the Most of your Creativity
Sometimes, it can feel like a huge burden to be so affected by the things that are happening around you. However, your intuitive nature will help you to tap into your inner creativity. You may be the person responsible for always carrying a notebook around or making notes in every meeting.
Remember that being in tune with your inner world and the worlds of people around you can lead to exceptional innovation and fantastic breakthroughs in your profession. Take advantage of this wonderful creativity.
Be Prepared for Stimulating Environments
As a highly sensitive person, you’ll also need to learn how to cope with more difficult situations – specifically when you’re surrounded by things that might stimulate your emotional side and lead to feelings of overwhelm. When you’re presented with high-stakes interactions, try to prepare as much as possible. Anticipate questions and think through your responses in advance.
Particularly in the cases of job interviews and negotiations, consider creating an outline with the high points that you’ll want to cover most. Whatever you do, don’t go into awkward situations with the decision that you’re just going to “wing it.”
Highly Sensitive People Don’t Need to Be “Fixed”
If you believe that you’re a sensitive person, your first response may be to feel as though you need to do something about it. Sensitivity is often treated with disdain by people don’t understand it, but the truth is that it can be a powerful gift. While it’s true that you may need more help managing your emotions at certain times, sensitivity itself isn’t something you need to fix.
The best way to accomplish great things as a sensitive person is to embrace that side of yourself, and realise that you’re not “broken.” A few other things you can do to make the most of your sensitive side include:
Seeking out Kindred Spirits
People with high levels of emotional intelligence and sensitivity often feel isolated and alone. However, the truth is that you’re surrounded by people like you. Seek out people who practice mindfulness and know how to flourish with their sensitivity. The most successful sensitive people are the ones who know how to relish their strengths as a sensitive person and take advantage of their strong relationships with emotions.
When you surround yourself with people who understand you, you’ll begin to learn how to manage your sensitivity, and take advantage of its superpowers too.
Look for the Positivity in Every Situation
Your mind is a powerful filter that changes your perceptions of the world around you and moulds your emotions. If you constantly convince yourself that the world is a dangerous place, then your mind will push you to hunt for signs of danger. As a highly sensitive person, this means that you may be more likely to see negative aspects of an environment than others when you’re feeling scared or nervous.
The good news is that you can turn the situation upside down by pushing yourself to focus on the positives instead. By immersing yourself in positive thoughts, you’ll be more likely to see the wonder and joy of the space around you.
Show Yourself Compassion
One of the things that makes sensitive people so unique is how compassionate they are. These are the people who often see putting other people’s feelings and thoughts ahead of their own as second nature. However, although sensitive people are very attuned to others, they can be their own most prominent critic. Most sensitive people will judge themselves more harshly than they would ever judge others.
Part of learning to embrace the strength of your sensitive side involves knowing how to control your inner critic. Embrace the power of deep thinking by listening to your dangerous thoughts without judgement, and challenging them with other, more positive ideas. Showing yourself the same love as others isn’t vain, it’s an integral part of good self-care.
Tune into Your Sensitivity
It’s time to overcome the idea that sensitivity should be squashed, once and for all.
People who embrace sensitivity as a strength can accomplish incredible things. By learning how to listen to the messages that your body sends you every day, you can analyse situations and respond to challenges in a way that other people could only dream of.
Though it’s important to seek support for the times when you’re feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed, as you begin to understand and embrace your sensitive side, you’ll recognise just how powerful it can be!
It’s just about being you…the best you.