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High Sensitivity
and the Undervalued Self

Many people who are highly sensitive undervalue themselves, basically because they do not understand why they feel so different and think they have an invisible weakness or flaw. High sensitivity is my term for what extensive research has found to be a completely normal innate trait found in 20% of the population as well as in most higher animals. Find out if you are highly sensitive.

Why the Highly Sensitive Tend to Undervalue Themselves

Although this trait can be a great asset, most highly sensitive people do not feel good about themselves, for a number of reasons. First, while no one performs well or feels good when overstimulated, the highly sensitive become overstimulated much more easily than others because of their greater awareness of everything going on around them. Thus, in situations in which they are being observed or tested, they may do worse than others and worse than they themselves expect. Unless they understand that they are highly sensitive, they will completely misunderstand these "failures."

Further, the highly sensitive are more affected by feedback. They observe and learn from their mistakes more than others do, and this requires them to care about their mistakes more than others. But sometimes they care so much that their overall self-worth drops drastically.

Also, being members of a numerical minority, the highly sensitive can be the targets of prejudice. They often hear, "Why are you so super sensitive to everything?" Unless they are raised to recognize their sensitivity is a gift, they absorb the culture's often negative view of it.

Finally, high sensitivity increases the impact of all emotionally tinged events, making childhood trauma particularly scarring. Being so affected by "so little" can be an additional source of shame. They often hear, "Why can't you just get over all of that and put it behind you?" But it is not so easy for them.

For more information on the Highly Sensitive trait, visit