I can’t stand chaos. I hate loud environments. Art makes me cry. Bright lights hurt my eyes. Were you just maybe kind of a little bit rude in that email you just sent me? I’ll have a bad taste in my mouth about it for, oh, probably about a week (*cough* a month) now.
To address what you are no doubt thinking: No, I am not a frigid, antisocial, boring buzzkill. In fact, if I do say so myself, I’m actually quite fun and outgoing when I need to be. I am, however, a very deep processor, extremely aware of the emotions of myself and others, and an avid appreciator of little things in life that often go unnoticed—in other words, I am a textbook example of what is referred to as an HSP, or a highly sensitive person.
If you, like myself and 20 percent of the population, fall into this category, you likely often feel isolated because you’re unable to enjoy (or even simply tolerate) certain tasks and activities in the same ways that your peers do. The good news: this isn't because you're disdainful or just plain difficult. Recent research has shown that these reactions are actually due to a slightly different chemistry in the brains of HSPs—notably, increased blood flow in the areas that process emotion, awareness, and empathy. So while your aversions may be difficult to accept at times, it’s important to understand that this is truly just the way you’re wired, and you honestly probably aren’t quite as weird as you think.