Being highly sensitive is one thing, but what if you’re also a high sensation seeker (HSP / HSS) at the same time?
If you’re just high sensation seeking, yet not highly sensitive – you probably enjoy things like rollercoasters and bungee jumping, no sweat. Going to clubs, big social events, seeking novel and varied experiences are your jam. You probably love to travel and meet new people all around the world. You may like big challenging goals and love taking on exciting, creative projects. You enjoy little to no consequence after, other than a cool story to tell at the end of it all.
As an HSP / HSS, you’re drawn to all those things too and seek them out with the same fervor but then… There are after-effects. Right off the high, you may become frazzled, feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and floaty, like you’re not in your body. For me, a tell-tale sign is when even dealing with mundane minutiae feels overwhelming.
You then feel the need to hide from the world and drop certain commitments and projects because you suddenly realize that you just DON’T have the time and energy to do it all. So you retreat. After a resting period, which is the time you take to build yourself up again to a state of calm and well-being, there’s a nice plateau… but before you know it, BAM you’re bored AGAIN, and you need your hit of stimulation!
And the cycle goes on. Needless to say, finding that optimal level of stimulation is a real challenge – where you’re not too bored, but not overwhelmed, without sliding into either extreme. It takes a lot of tenacity to ride out those cycles and to incorporate those insights going forward. Especially when you’re surrounded by half-completed projects, obligations that suddenly feel like bad ideas and oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said/done/spent money on that..
On those days, it’s helpful to remind yourself what the gifts of being an HSS / HSP are, to know that it IS worth riding out those cycles and using that sense of self-awareness to regain focus, and to keep on going despite the erratic energies.
Gifts of being an HSS/HSP:
1. It gets you out of a slump. Being an HSP sometimes means that you might tend to retreat or withdraw, but being an HSS at the same time gives you that drive to get you out of that hidey-hole you find yourself in, to take on the world again. Having that attitude of get up and go is invaluable.
2. Sensitivity to what’s new. Being an HSS and getting bored easily, and being driven to seek novelty might mean that you are more able to discern new trends and spot the latest innovations. These are covetable and marketable skills that are useful in many jobs and careers – fashion, design, communications, social media…
3. You get more out of each experience. I’ve found that HSPs tend to take away the profound more in each experience – you have breadth, AND depth – I think that’s a pretty rare combination!
4. Penchant for seeking out novelty makes you more open and accepting. Being exposed to a wide variety of experiences broadens your mind and your perspectives. You probably have a wealth of knowledge and street smarts that other people might not have – and the potential to turn this knowledge into something useful for the world. The average person really isn’t as fired up with passion and desire to constantly improve themselves and seek out the new. Think about it: you probably have so much to share, so many stories to tell that could be of benefit to others!
I’ll talk more about how I deal with my HSS/HSP temperament in a later post, but if you find yourself in a sticky spot, remember:
- Feelings are not facts.
- It is possible to rein in your energies and to master them.
- It is your temperament, but it doesn’t define YOU. Self-blame or despair is not productive because you are definitely made this way for a reason – there’s nothing wrong with you, nothing to fix!
It’s definitely a rollercoaster but I think what we collect in terms of life experience is invaluable – it’s all a matter of where we direct this fire!