Nobody wants to be labeled. Yet, when qualities that were always understood to be indications of some kind of pathology are seen as part of the package of what it means to be sensitive – it can be life saving and life altering.
The danger comes from settling into the HSP label. Some allow the label to explain qualities of experience and discomfort and choose not to do the emotional, historical, or therapeutic work of healing core injuries.
Some sensitives are so adverse to experiencing more discomfort that they avoid therapeutic work. In this way, they may be well into adulthood without having done personal healing work with a professional. For some HSPs, when they find the term HSP and learn that many of their experiences are part of the world of the HSP – they allow their emotional discomfort, social alienation and deep inner turmoil to be explained by this term. They see the HSP label as a kind of end to their journey – rather than the beginning.
The chronic anxiety, self doubt and high level of inner criticism that claim the free will of many HSPs are all states that can be effectively addressed with therapy. Anyone who understands their HSP nature to mean that these traits are part of the given terrain, are misunderstanding the possibilities. While being an HSP may tend to tilt one in the direction of these experiences -these experiences are not indelible parts of the picture.
With knowledge of one’s HSPness one is able to step into the therapeutic process with a perspective that gives a fresh view on ancient pains. The HSP label allows one to move beyond previous misunderstanding and despair, finding new ways to care for the sensitive being.
Deep work – transformative work – is limited when one is struggling with chronic anxiety. The anxiety indicates that the system is not feeling safe. Whether this is anxiety is a result of childhood trauma and/or a result of living with a highly sensitive nervous system, addressing the anxiety is one of the first steps to gaining greater freedom in one’s life. This is the work to be done with a skilled therapist.