During the research for my book about High Sensitivity (hopefully out in October), I discovered that the characteristics of (high) sensitivity and gifted people can overlap. Both are sensitive, feel emotions intensely, have a high level of consciousness and are creative thinkers and doers. You can find 4 astonishing similarities in the next blog article (online on May 24th), but for now I will focus on similarities between (high)sensitives and (highly) gifted people when it comes to happiness.
I think that (high) sensitive people are not more complex or nagging than less sensitive contemporaries. Yet, as with highly gifted people, having a loving and trustworthy partner, a harmonious family life and satisfying career may not be enough to prevent a (high) sensitive soul to feel discouraged, gloomy or even depressed.
I can only speculate – and give you my 6 most favorite reasons why ‘simply being happy’ can be a challenge for (high) sensitive people:
1) (High) sensitive people tend to judge themselves (too) hard
Many (high) sensitive people entertain a low self-image because of the harsh judgement of themselves. They not only judge their successes and failures, but everything about themselves. With their deep, conscious and complex manner of analyzing everything they hold all their behaviors and actions against their highest standards. Even if done unintentionally, this habit gives (high) sensitive fellows enough reason to blame and criticize themselves constantly – and often for no reason. No wonder this can be a major road block on the road to happiness.
2) (High) sensitive people tend to over-analyze
Besides analyzing themselves all the time, (high) sensitive people tend to over-think and (over) analyze everything that happens around them, on close range, at a national or even global level. This can be utterly demanding, especially when their thoughts leads them to conclusions which annoy, shock or frustrate them. Such conclusions weigh them down, but they can’t help but keep thinking, no matter how draining the experience is. In the process of weighing pros and cons this person might quietly withdrawing him or herself from social interaction, to a point that might end in mental imbalance. While the (high) sensitive analyst often gets the answers to most questions plaguing him or her, these answers can be universally unpleasant and can bring them down with negativity and render them hopeless. And thoughts like ‘the world is a disappointing place occupied by wrong people’ really don’t add to anyone’s happiness. So sometimes the (high) sensitive thinkers do good to embrace the old saying of ‘Ignorance is bliss’. Because being able to see right through anybody or anything and identify the true situation – where’s the point in over-analyzing?
3) (High) sensitive contemporaries aim for bigger things
They have a hard time being content with what they have in life because their creativity. Intelligence and figurative thinking seduces them to imagine bigger things. They are always questing for a bigger purpose, a deeper meaning and a revealing pattern. Some (high) sensitives are distracted so much by their vivid and intense imagination, that it becomes (temporarily) impossible for them to enjoy what is right under their nose. Because, compared to the startling world in their imagination, ordinary life is very boring. However, nobody can find short- or longer term happiness with such thoughts swarming their minds because you cannot feel happy when you cannot accept the world you are living in, at least to a certain extend.
4) The challenge to find like-‘minded’ people
One of the greatest sources of happiness is human contact. You can share your worries which makes them easier to cope with. You can share your ideas which helps you develop and shape them. You can share your happiness, which makes it even more real and invigorating. For (high) sensitive people it can be difficult to find others with the same depth of character to help share their worries and ease their burden. With the right people around them, however, stress can dissolve in an instant. Regrettably it is often difficult to find a person who can indulge in a deep and meaningful conversation. This might be a result of the materialist and consumerist society we have crated. Yet having a meaningful conversation with like-minded people who understand their views and ideas on everything including personal life is a great source of happiness and balance in a (high) sensitives life and well worth searching for.
5) (High) sensitive people can develop psychological issues.
Just like with highly gifted people, (high) sensitive people can develop psychiatric disorders or symptoms that appear like a disorder. Is it conceivable that disorders like bi-polarity, social anxiety and ADHD are by-products of a (high) sensitive soul in distress? I cannot confirm this, as there are countless hidden mysteries of the human mind, waiting yet to be revealed. Fact is that (high) sensitive people are inclined to constantly judge and sum things up by asking unrelenting questions. It is easy to picture that this is not a healthy course of action if performed too often.
6) Happiness is the mind that settles- and that’s hard work for complex (high) sensitives
A happy person is content with how things are. He or she is satisfied with whatever is and doesn’t long for more or different. The happy fellow doesn’t seek to alter what is; he or she just accepts it and acts accordingly. These are not the most natural characteristics of a sensitive soul. The (high) sensitive person is not easy to please and can easily think of the happy person as smug or even lazy. It doesn’t help that (high) sensitives can also have social quirks and insecurities preventing them to ‘just blend in’ in a ‘happy’ company that feels superficial to them. They are idealists and striving to discerning the good from the bad – and subsequently to improve the bad. This can be a major frustration in today’s society. It can cause much unhappiness to (high) sensitive people. But if sensitives give up on humanity, this can be the cause of enormous unhappiness. So calming their rich inner analysis and take just one step back from their ideal world helps (high) sensitives to re-gain a daily doses of happiness.
- Do you recognize yourself in these barricades to happiness?
- Is happiness something that is not for you, only for others?
- What is your secret weapon to be happy in spite of being (high) sensitive?
Please ‘share’ your opinion in the Comments field below!
‘Is there a biological cause for High Sensitivity?’ Find out on the HSP congress in The Netherlands, 13 October! Here’s how you save 10% on your registration. I will launch my book, a practical guide and travel report on HSP on this congress!
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Do you like this article? Be sure to read: ‘5 astonishing similarities between (high) sensitive and highly gifted people.’ Online May 24th.
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I’ve found your website in search for an answer of why I’m often so unhappy with life. I think it’s a shame nobody’s commented on this yet because I relate 100% to every point you’ve made here.
Especially with the points one to three.
I always over think and over analyze every little things and routines/ordinary life is so boring for me after a while. Since I always yearn for new experiences, I’m never really ‘happy’ with anything and this gets me down a lot.
But your article helped me realize this problem and hopefully I’ll be able to work on this from now on.
I really am interested in your book but I can’t seem to find out if the English version of it has been released yet?
Thank you again for this article!
I’m so happy to hear that you find my tips helpful and inspiring. As to the book: I’m working on it and kan keep you informed of the progress! All the best to you on your journey, you deserve it!