Are highly sensitive people real

Highly sensitive: Confessions from someone who feels too much

Highly sensitive - this is how a "Highly Sensitive Person" experiences their everyday life

The other day I met a man for the first time. We went for a walk on the Elbe, he in jeans and a T-shirt, me with outfits for all climates. Depending on the wind and weather conditions, I put my jacket on and off over the course of the ten kilometers, put my hat on and off, wrapped a scarf and put it back in my pocket, and pushed the sunglasses alternately onto my nose and into my hair . Halfway there was a pizzeria, we ordered. When the pizzas came, half the wood-burning oven was hanging under mine.

Normally I would have let that go back immediately, but I didn't want to appear diva-like, but totally uncomplicated. So I cut the burnt part short and small, pushed the parts around on my plate and pecked the topping to simulate eating. It was noticed anyway. He was joking and I laughed at myself - but not apologizing for being who I am: highly sensitive.

Highly sensitive in the job? We have tips on how you can handle it better! Plus: This is how you can recognize high sensitivity.

Hermit, crybaby, bitch - just because I don't give a shit filter?

Yes, I've always been like that, but for most of my life I had no idea what was wrong with me. I just knew that it was more than I often heard: joke, hermit, crybaby, bitch. I noticed myself that I was exerting myself more quickly and therefore also more exhausting for others. I should pull myself together, grow a thick skin - I still haven't understood how to do that.

I am and will remain more frightened, more emotional, seismographically perceive moods and dangers, worry about everything and ponder why people find pleasure in things that are horror for me: Oktoberfest! Interrail! Theme parks! Shopping on Sunday shopping! Living on the edge of everyday life is adventurous enough for me.

Highly sensitive needs routine! Surprises are a horror for me

I often hate things that others would love and have a guilty conscience as to why I cannot "just" enjoy it: surprises, suddenly being pushed into situations and having to react joyfully in order not to disappoint expectations. Life surprises and overwhelms me enough with great beauty, art, nature, love and other wonders - but also with bad smells, ugly views, crowds, situations from which I cannot withdraw.

I miss the damn filter, the fading out and the belief in the good in people. Volume, impressions and emotions of all kinds flow up and into me. I cannot isolate myself from smells, noises and conversations. I'd rather stand alone on the train for eight hours than sit next to someone who is exhaling sweat and onion meat.

Others talk in one ear, out of the other - it goes on in my head for a long time and haunts my soul. I would never see a horror movie in my life, why should you traumatize yourself?

Finally there was a term for my quirks

I discovered myself in 1996 with the book "Are you highly sensitive?" the highly sensitive Californian psychologist and author Elaine Aron, who coined the term "HSP - Highly Sensitive Person". I devoured it and thought: Welcome home! Quirks and quirks, which I considered to be personal weaknesses, others had too.

About 20 percent of all people are HSPs, slightly more women than men. Modern life gets on their nerves quickly, but this is not a disease, it's a temperament. Don't panic, as an HSP you don't have to get a handicapped ID card. In earlier times I could have got great jobs with it - as a seer, oracle, healer or witch, for example. In capitalism, however, people are reluctant to be hired who do. The system works better when its assistants work properly, even with one another.

Highly sensitive people are not popular in our society

Women in particular who used to be kept away from and dependent on the job market as "too weak" have to be more objective, tough and cool than any guy if they want to make a career. In no case should you cry, have your days or just want to have some peace and quiet! Unfortunately, that is not possible in today's open-plan offices. I once worked in one, it was super chic and drove me crazy, constantly slamming footsteps on the wooden floor, overhearing all the conversations of colleagues, not even being able to separate yourself with green plants or be able to close a door except for the toilet. I was lucky that my writing talent gave me the opportunity to work as a freelancer and to be able to design my working conditions and spaces myself.

There are now a lot of books on sensitive self-awareness (especially published for women: "When women feel too much" by Sylvia Harke), internet portals, tests (e.g. at and therapies. The new gifted seems highly sensitive, the image is changing from a nerd to a fine spirit. As a side effect, wellness holidays, Bach flowers, protective jewelry, shamanism, meditation courses and coaching are sold.

Despite all the knowledge, it remains a tightrope walk between sensitive and oversensitive. Transitions are particularly stressful for me. I need more time and more rest to relax or to adjust to a new environment. I prefer to travel in the car because it is a shelter and free space in which I can move through the world at my own pace.

As an HSP, you should protect your borders, but also work on expanding them.

Karina L├╝bke, EMOTION SLOW author and HSPTweet

As an HSP, you should protect your borders, but also work on expanding them. Some things are just too great not to do for fear of being overwhelmed - for example, having children.

Caps as first aid measures

As a first aid I have a collection of cashmere hats (wool pikt!) And hoodies, because they gently shield my ears and head in an inconspicuous manner. If necessary, a beer will smooth the edges between my inner and outer world. Some days I want a T-shirt that says "HSP - please don't push!" wear.

And if nothing works for me anymore, I go to my bed. The eiderdown duvet is two meters square, light, fluffy and warm. The bed linen is fine, plain-colored maco satin made of cotton because it feels so good on the skin. In this safety zone I get ideas while I sleep, I can reset myself and even work.

Highly sensitive people have many strengths

Perhaps a new age of sensitivity is slowly beginning where sensitivity is not confused with weakness. HSPers are complicated and uncomplicated at the same time, we don't need any big gestures, little things that feel right are enough for us: fresh air, time for personal use, sleep, flowers, animals, music, food, pats. I appreciate being talked to me well, I hate being denied my right to feel the way I feel. There are enough reasons to protect and appreciate the sensitive people of society: We act like emotional flavor enhancers. High points experienced in our society are hotter, joy brighter, beautiful things more moving, low points more dramatic. We are creative trendsetters because we sense and download things that are in the air. We are empathetic and have a keen sense for moods and lies. We can "feel" other people and give them what they need before they even know what they are missing. Friends of HSP save the therapist. And highly sensitive doctors are a blessing because they diagnose things that cannot be shown in a blood count. Besides, what does "too" sensitive mean? For brutality, rudeness and injustice? I find it good.

And the man wants to go out with me again despite the pizza. Maybe even to a Christmas market. At least that could be fun.

Read more in EMOTION SLOW

You can find even more exciting texts and impulses for a more relaxed life in the current EMOTION Slow edition. You can order the magazine here.