Being (high) sensitive (HSP) is not necessarily a recipe for happiness in this society. Nor is it necessarily a recipe for success in today’s world.
However, this does by no means imply that as a (high) sensitive person you can not be happy or successful in your life.
Remember, 15-20% of all inhabitants of this earth are (high) sensitive to a greater or lesser extent. So a natural and important question to ask is: what do these 1,5 billion (high) sensitive people worldwide need most to lead a happy and successful life?
In order to answer this intriguing question I started a quest: I wanted to find the single most important ingredient for being a ‘happy HSP’ – or for becoming one. Submerging myself in some of the HSP literature I came across a lot of interesting aspects which all seem to be relevant. Yet when testing them against my experience with (high)sensitive clients and friends, one ingredient outshone all others.
Which ingredient is it?
Is it

  • Lots of friends?
  • And adventures life?
  • A prestigious job?
  • A great career?
  • A healthy diet?

No, I’ll have to disappoint you. Although all of the above add to general happiness and success in (high) sensitive people’s lives, the primary ingredient for them to thrive is:
Recognition and acceptance for who they are, how they perceive the outer and inner world and what they need to thrive in life.
And looking a little closer, there are two forms of recognition:

  1. The form of recognition that is often perceived as the most important one starts with the realization that you (as a (high)sensitive person) are not alone in this world. That you are not the only one who is ‘different’ or even ‘off’. There are about 1.5 billion others who are very similar to you. This type of recognition is for most (high) sensitive persons a moment of great relief and joy. It can be so strong that it changes the feeling at your basis of who you are – and what you’re worth.
  2. The second form of recognition that is important for (high)sensitive people is the recognition of themselves as a HSP. The realization that sensitivity is a talent, not a lack. The moment a HSP accepts him/herself, they start to drop the habits that they many have cultivated to ‘keep going’, including the associated unhappiness, shame, apologies and alienation. Instead, they start looking for ways to create a life that is more suited for them, more comfortable and more balanced. Recognizing yourself as (high)sensitive can restore your self-respect and enables you to use your qualities once again.

hspfishrozeRecogniton. The two facets of the most important ingredient for a (high)sensitive person to be at peace with him/herself. If you start to implement ‘recognizing yourself’ in your life, don’t be surprised if your life changes slowly, but surely. And for the better.
How can you increase the amount and intensity of ‘recognition’ in your life?
There are many ways to do that. For me it started in 2003 when I came across one of Dr Elaine Aron’s first books, introducing me to the then-very-young- concept of ‘High Sensitive Person’.  For you, it may come through a conversation you have with someone or through an article you read, like this one, or through a training in your neighborhood or through your employer introducing the HSP concept.
Whichever way the information is coming to you is fine!
And when you start your personal journey to find out more about who you are, including your qualities and added value to your environment, guess what will happen?
Very, very likely you will start to gain (more) recognition from your family, peers, colleges and other people you interact with. Because as with most things in life, recognition and acceptance from others will come automatically once you have accepted yourself as the person you are.
And that’s all there is to it:
Recognition is the most important ingredient for a happy and fulfilled life.
What are you waiting for?
Let’s get started!
And let me wish you success, wisdom and laughter on your journey.
I am really excited to hear about your experiences so please let me know by sending me an email or leave a comment below.
‘3 natural phases to happiness of (high) sensitive persons’ (October 12th)
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Anke Weber Smit, P.h.D. is an passionate coach and approved healer with nearly 10 years of professional experience working with children, teens, adults, and companies. Anke’s mission is helping people with recondition the past and creating their future lifes. She has experience with treating (high) sensitivity issues, eating disorders, body image, relationships with others or with yourself, psychological abuse and anxiety. Anke is a honest, warm inspirational counselor, author and speaker who uses professional expertise, humor and personal recovery to help others to help themselves. For more information on her services, please follow Anke’s blog or visit her on www.ankewebersmit.com (Dutch)
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