Like many things in life, the way you talk to yourself can become a habit. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes easy to get into a habit of negative self talk, especially if you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP).
If you’re a highly sensitive person, you may: notice small details others do not, feel a strong sense of justice, feel more anxious about conflict, struggle to make decisions, and find yourself constantly being a source of emotional support for others. Understandably, this can all be very stressful for the HSP. Over time, you might absorb all the stress and get into a pattern of negative self talk.
The good news is, you can reroute this habit into a more positive one.
How the Negative Self Talk Train Starts
Highly sensitive people get into the habit of negative self talk because of their heightened emotional state compared to what we perceive as “normal” in others. You may wonder why you get overwhelmed so easily on busy days, when others seem to handle it just fine. Or perhaps you need to withdraw to recharge when others seem to be able to tolerate more.
Over time, this comparison can make you feel like you’re falling short. You may feel as if there is something fundamentally wrong with you. It can lead to thoughts like:
- “You’re way too sensitive. Why can’t you chill out?”
- “You’re taking this way too seriously. No one else cares.”
- “Other people are handling things so much better. You’re weak because you can’t do the same.”
- “You’re a bad friend/partner/coworker because you don’t want to spend as much time around them.”
Eventually, you begin to register these thoughts as objective truths. These thoughts become so commonplace, you simply accept them as a daily reality and your self-esteem takes a hit.
However, the actual truth is that your HSP qualities are not abnormal. It’s a natural part of biology. In fact, around 15 to 20% of people fall into the HSP category.
Recognizing the Strengths in Being an HSP
As mentioned above, qualities found in highly sensitive people aren’t abnormal. These are actually valuable survival qualities found in animals beyond just humans.
Often, HSPs are called shy because they tend to be cautious when entering new situations. This then gets them labeled as meek introverts. However, as many as 30% of HSPs are actually extroverts. And their caution and ability to examine situations based on small details is an innate instinct.
While some aspects of being a highly sensitive person can be a bummer (easily overwhelmed, misunderstood, etc.) it also comes with many strengths. HSPs display great compassion and empathy which makes them good listeners. They feel a connection to the arts, lead rich and complex inner lives, and generally offer a unique perspective on life.
When it comes to stopping negative self-talk, the first step for HSPs is to flip the narrative. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts like the one above, stop and restate the thought from a more positive angle. For example, if you begin thinking, “Gosh, why do I have to take things so seriously,” try restating it as, “I notice valuable details others may not and this offers a unique perspective.”
You can even try writing these positive thoughts down in a journal or on sticky notes you place around the house. The act of writing it out and seeing those words can help you overwrite your negative self talk habits. Daily positive affirmations are a small task that can have a huge impact. When you begin to think more positively about yourself, your self-esteem improves, and you’ll see improvements in other areas of your life such as work and relationships.
Are you a highly sensitive person struggling with negative self talk? You don’t have to navigate it alone. Talking to a therapist can help you create a concrete game plan in building your self-esteem and thinking more positive thoughts. Call me today to schedule a free consultation call and learn how you can get started.
Click here to learn more about HSP therapy services in Delray Beach, FL and Sandy Springs, GA.