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10 Signs you might be a Highly Sensitive Person.

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Have you ever been told “Oh you are just too sensitive”, or “What’s wrong with you, why are you so emotional?” or even “Why do you take things so personally?”. You may even have thought to yourself, ‘yes they are probably right and there must be something wrong with me, I must be defective in some way’.

As a Highly Sensitive Person myself it has taken me most of my life to understand this aspect of myself and overcome many of the challenges of being Highly Sensitive. I have learnt to value the gifts it has brought me. In fact my journey has been one of embracing them fully and becoming more empowered and resilient in my life with Emotional Freedom Techniques.

What is a Highly Sensitive Person?

The term "Highly Sensitive Person" was first coined by psychologists Dr. Elaine Aron and Dr. Arthur Aron in the mid-1990s. Elaine Aron published her book, "The Highly Sensitive Person," in 1996, and interest in the concept has continued to grow since then.

Highly Sensitive People are thought to make up roughly 20% of the general population.

While highly sensitive people are sometimes negatively described as being “too sensitive," it is a personality trait that brings both strengths and challenges.

As an intuitive healer and holistic therapist I have worked with many people who are sensitive or highly sensitive to stress, traumatic experiences that others would consider “minor” and to their environments.

I help them not only to navigate their world with their sensitive traits but also to help them to heal their negative experiences, negative beliefs about themselves and empower them to live full lives bringing their gifts to the world.

Most Highly Sensitives and Sensitives are also extraordinarily sensitive to beauty in their environment, being the ones who stop to smell the roses while their non sensitive companions are trying to hurry them along.

They value the journey much more than the destination. They also have an unwavering desire to take care of others, their environment and make the world a better place. Many long for a peaceful world and to bring peace in whatever career they choose. They are often found in the in the arts or healing and therapy professions where their gifts can shine.

Here are the top 10 attributes of a Highly Sensitive Person:-

You may recognise yourself here or a loved one whom you may have found difficult to understand. Many parents have reported how they now have a deeper understanding of their child or children who proved to be Highly Sensitive based on Dr. Elaine Aron’s research criteria.

1. You feel emotions deeply and you either can't hide how you feel or you suppress your emotions to avoid conflict or displeasing others.

2. You are always aware of what other people around you are feeling and you have a strong tendency to please others.

3. Your feelings are easily hurt by criticism or even a look and your keep thinking about what happened, what you did wrong and what you should have done instead.

4. You easily slip into feeling anxious or depressed and then tend to spiral down finding it hard for you to move out of it.

5. You want to be helpful to others but often to the detriment of your own needs.

6. You are affected by too much stimulation and get easily overwhelmed. In order to deal with this overwhelm you need to find a quiet or darkened room for privacy and relief.

7. You feel you are very different to your family members who are much less sensitive, busy and industrious where you are quiet, imaginative and creative.

8. You are a perfectionist, and you will over strive to make sure everything you do is perfect.

9. You have a mission to bring peace to the world, to make the world a better place and you may be drawn to humanitarian or environmental causes.

10. You feel your sensitivity is a weakness and you wish you were tougher and more thick skinned.

In working with hundreds of other Sensitives and Highly Sensitives these are some their stories they have shared with me over the years ( *their names have been changed for confidentiality).

Sam’s Story:-

“When you first mentioned that I could be Highly Sensitive I wasn't sure that was me until you read out all the attributes. I felt so emotional as you had summed up my whole life, especially not fitting into my family who were always busy and action orientated.

I turned to recreational drugs to help me cope with life and to help me feel calmer and try to fit in, when I knew I didn't. Drugs helped me to escape the reality that I was different and I could never fit in. I now understand myself so much better and know I'm not alone.

I now realise with your help that my sensitivity as a man is not a weakness and I can use my sensitivity as a gift to follow my creativity. I am now on the path with the techniques of EFT to be free of my addiction and to live a full and and creative life!"

Jenny’s Story:-

“After working with you I rediscovered my own artistic passion, I have felt a new lease of life. I was stuck in an office job I hated with people who didn't understand me and who cared little for nature and the environment.

I feel like I experienced so much trauma growing up and not being understood, being pushed into the academic field instead of following my heart and real passion. Now I am healing these past traumas and finding forgiveness for others and for myself. I love my life now and I feel more hope than I have ever done before”

Rachel’s Story:-

"I now understand why I developed so many debilitating health conditions by going against the grain trying to fit in and get approval from others. I would put everyone else's needs before my own and it took its toll on my health and on my life.

I listened to everyone else but my own soul. When I discovered with your help that I was a Highly Sensitive Person and Empathic the penny dropped for me and realised how I had been living my life for everyone else. I was able, with your help, heal my health issues and step into my own confidence.

I didn't realise how strong and feisty I was and I could use these strengths to make a difference in the world. I love animals and want to care for them in a gentle, holistic way. I realise my true gift is an animal healer and excited now about how my life could be now".

Adam’s Story:-

"I have always hated being “sensitive” and was teased so much as a boy both at home and school. I would take everything to heart and dwell on it for months at a time.

When I read the attributes of a Highly Sensitive it was as though you were describing me. Now I understand my attributes and worked on healing the traumas of the past of being bullied, not being seen or heard, and feeling less than, I wouldn't trade me for anyone.

I now see my gifts and focus on these, giving time to myself when I get drained from too much stimulation. I'm much more confident in sharing being a sensitive man and I'm learning to embrace being a sensitive in an often insensitive world".

Learning how to understand your emotions and work with the challenging aspects of being Highly Sensitive Person is not only possible, it can result in a new more enlightened understanding of the world around you.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a simple yet powerful way to work with our emotions especially for us who are sensitive and feel emotions so deeply. Instead of reacting in ways which cause us and others pain or suppressing our emotions, EFT allows us to fully feel our emotions and release them in healthy ways, gaining greater insight about the situation and ourselves.

To learn more about EFT I have created a free digital handbook and video (see below) you can download to learn more about this remarkable technique in helping you take control of your emotions instead of your emotions controlling you.

To explore High Sensitivity in more detail and take a detailed Self Assessment devised by Dr Elaine Aron here is her website:-

In the next article in this series I will be sharing all about the benefits of being Highly Sensitive and how being Sensitive or Highly Sensitive be a great contribution to our world.


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Carolina Kerridge,

LLB (Hons), Holistic Therapist, Cert. and Accredited Advanced EFT Practitioner. I am also Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner, Holistic Coach and Meditation Instructor at Heartstream Wellness Centre and Clinic, Richmond, New Zealand.

I specialise in working with Sensitives, HSP's and Empaths in navigating the world. Helping them with relationships chronic illness, anxiety, trauma, addictions and negative emotions. I seek to empower others to live confident, fulfilling and enriching lives.

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