What It Means To Be Highly Sensitive


A blogpost for the highly sensitive…

In getting to know myself better, it turns out that I am highly sensitive. I used to ignore that. I wanted to be tough, be one of the guys, and I tried to never nag about anything. When I was around 25 years old (not so long ago ;), I discovered that this really didn’t fit me well, the ‘always be strong, and never listen to your body’-act. And since I stopped doing that, I think my sensitivity has increased 10-fold. That’s not really something new, I always had that in me, but I didn’t allow it to come to the surface.

One of the downsides of allowing myself to be highly sensitive is that my body tagged along. Now that I listen to what my body has to say, it speaks volumes to me, and not always in a good way. More than ever, I experience severe muscle ache after dancing (my favorite thing to do, so that is very often) and exhaustion after too many social visits. I used to just not listen to these signs, and apparently you can just ignore them that way. Now that feels unthinkable…

On the positive side, It turns out I am a very good listener (a good characteristic for a coach!). Furthermore, it is easy for me to feel what other people feel and to offer them what they need at a specific moment. That comes in handy in networking situations, or when you teach groups of people! My existing friendships have changed since I realized my high sensitivity, and I’ve experienced ‘friendship at first sight’ a couple of times (the feeling where you know right away that you really like a person and that you’ll become good friends). It feels like my life has become more ‘true’ than it used to be. It feels more real and authentic. That’s also the reason why my coaching company is called ‘Echt Ellen’, which translates into “truly Ellen”.

When people talk about high sensitivity, it is always portrayed as something negative, because it can really take a toll on you. I do recognize that, but I really want to emphasize to good sides too. Being highly sensitive, if you find a good way of ‘regulating it’ can really add to your life and it makes you a special kind of person. I enjoy it more every day, and I really hope that other highly sensitive people can start to appreciate it as well!

So, tell me, what is the best part about being highly sensitive? What do you value most about it?

Ellen is a passionate and practical happy living expert. She teaches subjects like ‘Consumerism’ and “Social Innovation’ at Tilburg University and has her own coaching company to help people find their sparkle again. As a life-coach, she tickles people into changing. As a teacher, she invites students to think outside the box. As a person, she is always trying to find ways to live more consciously, happy and light. And she gets really happy if she can share this with people! Her articles are about her own life, about the way she sometimes succeeds and sometimes fails in changing small things (that eventually might make a big difference). She will share with you her lessons learned, mistakes made and successes achieved when it comes to happy living. You can find more information about Ellens coaching company on her website and you can find more articles written by Ellen (in Dutch) on her blog.