Is HSP Sensitivity a Curse or a Blessing? (Part 1)

We know that we are different from the other 80% of the population. Our sensitivity creates different biological responses than our counterparts. As a consequence, we often perceive our world differently. Our senses are the tools through which we comprehend that world. When they are heightened, our view is more intense, brighter or more energetic. Since our emotions express themselves through that extraordinary lens, they can be misunderstood by that group of people who see things differently than us.

Dr. Elaine Aron’s DOES list for HSPs

Before we go into the benefits and challenges that HSPs have, we should look at the core characteristics of HSPs. These were first presented by Dr. Elaine Aron in her research through the acronym DOES. They are listed in the graphic to the left. In addition to these core features, it is imperative to note that new research has shown that not all HSPs react the same way in certain instances. Highly sensitive children who did not have their needs met adequately by their parents were found to be more susceptible to depression, anxiety, or shyness.

With these facts in mind, let’s get to the pros and cons of sensory processing sensitivity (the term for the trait of high sensitivity).



Empathy is key to success in our relationships. We don’t like to be spread thin, so we limit our relationships to a few special people in our lives. But the people with whom we have close relationships are drawn to us because we are cognizant of their needs. We listen to their wins with accolade and are sympathetic to their losses. We are conscientious and loyal to the people we love.


There are innumerable benefits an HSP brings to the workplace. And corporate America is finally discovering this previously unknown fact. Detail-oriented, out-of-the-box thinking, seeing what others miss, exceptional leadership, empathy with client/customer base, working well without supervision, creativity, conscientiousness, and taking great pride in creating a superb work product are just a few of our many contributions to the workplace.


Image courtesy of Aitoff (Andrew Martin) on Pixabay.

We are meticulous about health issues, diving into any health concern with research and determination. When we set our minds to it, we are tenacious in the areas of diet, exercise, and self-care.


This may be our most striking advantage. We are adept at recognizing and experiencing intense emotion. Not only in ourselves, but in others as well. Nuance and subtle energy are easier for us to sense and identify. This gives us a clear window into not only our own actions and motivations, but into others actions and motivations as well. Understanding human behavior is a definite advantage to living a fulfilled and compassionate life.


Due to our sensitive personality trait, we are touched by nature. We love and cherish the beauty that nature provides. We are in tune with pets and wildlife. We also have more spiritual awareness. All these things come with a deep empathy and respect.

Now that you’ve been briefed on the advantages and benefits of sensory processing sensitivity, tune in next post to see the flip-side. There are negative traits or disadvantages that show themselves in the overall trait of sensitivity. We’ll look at those before answering the question presented in the title.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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