Home > Coping, Life in general, Personal progress, Self-talk > The Good News of Being Over-Sensitive

The Good News of Being Over-Sensitive

Being a sensitive person is what makes us most human and reflects a high degree of intelligence and awareness. Some people, however, are overly sensitive (or hypersensitive) because it’s just one of their personality traits (i.e. they are biologically pre-wired to be so), or because of repeated negative experiences (or a combination of both). This extreme can put the beholder at a disadvantage and it becomes double edged. With more susceptibility to external influences compared to the average person, the hypersensitive feel experiences with an exaggerated negative force. This leads to some bad news and some good news to it.

First, here’s the downside of being hypersensitive?

Hypersensitive people are usually affected by criticism easily. They either may not know how to be assertive, or are fiercely reactive. Many times, they can plunge repeatedly in emotional tailspins. In some instances, over-sensitivity can manifest as paranoia and misunderstanding of others’ intentions as being hurtful or taking advantage. If left uncontrolled, oversensitivity can lead the person to social isolation. On one hand, and to avoid any possible hurt, the person may willingly choose to minimize interactions and even restrict forming new relationships. On the other hand, other people find themselves driven away to avoid tolerating the excessive and repeated displayed emotionality. This isolation can constitute a risk factor for compounding any existing initial anxiety or depression further. It is well known that hypersensitivity usually intensifies during times of stress, depression, and physical illness. So, does this mean that those hypersensitive are doomed to emotional distress? Not necessarily. There’s an upside to being hypersensitive. And if you’re one of those, then here’s the good news in case the above description put you in a panic mode.

Oversensitive people are not as weak as often is assumed. On the contrary: many just allow themselves to feel naturally; hence, are more in touch with their negative emotions (e.g. pain, anger, hurt, etc….). When well directed, this leads them to becoming more psychologically healthy than those who block their emotions. Another advantage of hypersensitive people over others is their high degree of empathy. They are the first to notice other people’s feelings and emotions. This renders them highly likeable, as they are kind, understanding, and least problematic. Furthermore, they are very caring, intuitive, and creative. The constellation of such traits makes them very deep, perceptive, and with a strong urge to be of service to others.

So how can you channel this sensitivity to your advantage?

–       First of all deal with your history (if any) of negative experiences. Talk to a specialist, vent it out, and, above all, truly forgive anyone who has hurt you before. Only then you can start afresh. And if it was your biological make up, then just accept it and make the best use of it. Keep reading.

–       Change your negative self-talk. All the disempowering noise roaming in your mind can have no bases at all. Monitor the way you’re thinking all the time. Exchange your thoughts with more empowering statements about your positive capabilities and strengths. It’s a matter of what you’re focusing on.

–       Be cautious in becoming an emotional sponge in absorbing other peoples’ low moods. Don’t confuse their negative mood with yours. Use your empathetic insight and communication skills to change any perceived negative mood in others.  

–       Learn to be assertive by being emotionally honest (if you’re not usually) with anyone who crosses your boundaries. If you keep swallowing up your frustrations, your sensitivity builds up at other minor incidents. Remove that block between your tongue and your heart in the pleasant manner you’re used to. Overcome that fear of being potentially disliked (you can’t be loved by everyone anyway).

–       Minimize your negative feelings when you sense these are spiraling out of proportion. You have a tendency to over-feel and you’re not bluffing. You’ll handle things better only when you remain in control of your feelings and thoughts.

–       Build your self-confidence. It helps to jot down your good attributes and strengths and resort to this list whenever you receive any criticism or negative feedback. Remarks from others definitely don’t define you. You’re the best judge of that.

–       Resist the urge to dig for what’s not working right. Do instead look for the good things around. And whenever you feel happy, stay there as long as you can. Be over-sensitive in that happy spot and capitalize on these feelings.

Doesn’t this make you feel better now? Just be reminded that over-sensitive people are often accused of being “soft skinned”. They are even labeled as “handle with care” by those closest to them. But those labels do not carry weak connotations at all. At least, and in moderation, as an over-sensitive person you can be other’s best company. You make others feel heard; and you can probably be the only one truly feeling the hurt of others in their dark moments. The above guidelines can turn things around for you when well practiced. Why not consider joining the helping profession and channel this oversensitivity the right way? You’d surely be a wonderful asset and amazingly succeed there. Give it a thought…..


  1. August 17, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Very good article and great food for thought. I am definitely passing this one on, Dania.


    • dddania
      August 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      Many thaaanks Iris 🙂 I really appreciate it 🙂 🙂


  2. Carol
    August 17, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Although it might be accredited as a “good” term, I think the expression Over-sensitivity is misused, because it implies that there is actually a threshold to sensitivity, when i can’t say that you can really put it on such a scale.. so i think Hypersensitivity is much better than over-sensitivity.. But that’s just me being critical.
    Although the “cons” of being oversensitive seem valid, I think we can even shift it otherwise; in a sense that, sometimes people actually DO have bad intentions, if not most of the times, (and this is not being pessimistic, this is actually spending hours analyzing people..at least around me) and sometimes having this alarm in a person’s head that tells him to be careful from the person in front of him is not such a bad idea.
    Also, anger can be very useful, at least in my case, I use it to excel in other things, work, art, thought…And well sometimes it sends a serious message to the other person, which is needed to set the boundaries.
    So mainly I agree with canalizing Hypersensitivity, and with It being co morbid with high emotional intelligence, but not by labeling it as a hinder to life achievements.
    And the rest that are above are just me being critical 😛

    🙂 🙂


    • dddania
      August 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      aaaand I love that critical analytical person in you 🙂 🙂 also your preference to term it “hyper-sensitive” makes sense. I like your reasoning & get your point 🙂 I wrote this article specifically to debunk the assumption surrounding those hypersensitive as carrying weak signs of personality. You probably have your “radars” on alert all the time 🙂 this makes your sensors over-active. & yes, now I don’t wonder about your source of emotional intelligence Coco 🙂 glad you’re joining the ranks of those psychologists 🙂 what a beautiful addition you make 🙂 🙂 🙂


  3. Karen
    August 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Very interesting article :)!


    • dddania
      August 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Glad you like it Karen 🙂 🙂 missed yah! 🙂 🙂


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