WHY HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE NEED A LOT OF ART
I share a trait with 15 to 20 % of all people. Women, children, men. And apparently animals as well.
You recognize us at parties. We’re the one in the corner, talking to the kids. Or outside, having a wonderful 1 on 1 with the family dog. We’re the one quietly trying to move out of the circle of gleefully gossiping women.
We are the ones who remain seated in the movie theatre. Long after the movie has ended. Because we need to compose ourselves before re-entering the world.
We are the ones unable to speak after that gloriously beautiful concert.
It’s not because we don’t like you. Give us some time. We’re processing. There are no words yet. Don’t go all intellectual and analytical on us. We still are the music. We’re still living in the world of feelings, emotions. We hear the silence in between the notes. A whirlwind of impressions that needs to find a clean shelf in our mind. Somewhere.
Just let us be.
If you open the door to our room without knocking first, expect hunched shoulders and wide open eyes.
If you call us we might not pick up the phone. This does not mean we don’t love you. We screen every call. It just feels a bit overwhelming. As is that small red button in our Whatsapp. 79 Unread messages.
If you’re rude to us we will stare at you. This does not mean — not by far — we agree. We are not your doormat. At all.
It’s just we are baffled by your rudeness. We are literally lost for words. Give us three days and we will come up with the best, in-your-face stream of words.
We would lose every debate with Donald Trump.
Don’t think — not even for one measly minute — we’re fragile... Because we are very powerful. We are everywhere. Many artists have it too. Alanis Morissette, for instance. She’s not fragile. At all. There are many brave artists who dare to reveal what’s most precious to them. Who dare to step into the world without protective layer.
Open. Vulnerable. Exposed.
If we work in a large office space — people coming and going — we are exhausted at the end of the day. You might think no one witnessed the fight you had with your colleague.
Wrong... we felt it. We feel everything that goes on. Even maybe when it happens on the next floor. We are sponges.
We are the Highly Sensitive People. If you never heard of it, Google it. Study Dr. Elaine Aron because you might be the proud owner of the so-called HSP trait.
Or... chances are you know one. Your dear friend, your son, spouse, colleague... We’re all over the place.
Is it complicated to be sensitive?
Well, yes, sometimes it is. But more importantly our sensitivity, vulnerability and creativity are phenomenal traits we share with artists and creative souls all over the world.
We have great imagination. A curious mind. We are problem solvers by nature. We are most likely the ones picking up the discarded blouse on the floor of the busy clothes store. Our emotions are profound. With unprecedented depth.
Yes, we are easily overwhelmed. We feel more. See more, sense more. What we hear goes directly to our heart. We’ve got our work, family, friends. A business maybe. We need to market ourselves. Show up.
So many expectations.
In a world filled with stimuli, our keen eye for detail and quality sets us apart. Yes, I’m aware this sounds a bit like an advertisement for the Sensitive Soul. But so often it’s the outspoken people who get all the attention.
We simply long for silence. For depth. We long for real. Honest. And true.
And that’s where art comes in. Because there is one thing that is always real, honest and true.It is art. Not just the art made by real artists. It’s our own art. Art as an expression of who we are. With art we visualize our feelings. Art is a reflection of our soul. Art heals, entertains and calms us. It soothes and energizes us. Art comes natural to us. We need it to feed our heart, soul and body.
And here comes the downside of our HSP traits. We’re also seriously perfectionistic. Creating our own art is scary. We sensitive peeps have set some pretty high standards for ourself. We fear we are not good enough at it.
How can we get the multitude of ideas in our head on a sheet of paper?
All we can see is how flawed it will be...
I work a lot with Highly Sensitive Soulful Women. I know they desire a creative life. That’s why we work together. Take the huge step from thinking to acting. They already read every books on creativity available. Devoured every Elizabeth Gilbert post about creative living.
If you’re a sensitive person you recognize this: Feeling the deep need to create.
Buying a fancy box with beautiful pencils. But after one whole year they are still somewhere in your drawer. Hidden under your almost perfectly... unused sketch book.
Might this be happening in your head?
“I’m NOT the CREATIVE artistic TYPE. Not like those wildly successful women who share their perfectly beautiful art on Instagram.”
“I’ve been told only REAL ARTIST make art. I don’t want to feel the shame of yet another failed attempt...“
“My art will NEVER be GOOD ENOUGH. I can’t draw. Not even a stick figure. I’m not kidding you. My Kindergarten teacher told me I had to be color blind!“
“Sometimes I sneak into an art supply store and watch the paint and those gorgeous colored pencils. Yes, I do DREAM about creating. But HOW do I start?“
Because if that’s the kind of chatter that goes on in your head, it means you Most Definitely need to make art. Find a course, get those pencils out of your drawer. Use your trait.
You belong to the 15 to 20% in the entire population who does see that one single green leaf on the black dirt.
Draw it, write a poem about it, photograph it, sing about it.
Use your sensitive superpowers to create beauty.
In a world where rudeness rules it is your art that inspires humanity to tap into kindness and silence.
I wrote this article for Huffington Post in 2016. You Find the Article Here.