Have you ever felt “I don’t belong here?”
You might have, perhaps in a few social gathering
or some kind of groups.
Here, I am talking about the persistent sense of
“I am not here”. Or in some case,
“I don’t want to be here.”
There are a number of people who feel this way.
Certainly, I have.
Many of us had the unstable childhood
or have experienced some kind of
childhood trauma. We didn’t feel safe.
There are also Highly Sensitive People
who might feel this way “I don’t belong”
or “I don’t deserve to be here”.
HSPs are extremely sensitive
to all kinds of stimuli; sound, scent,
light, sight, violence, touch, taste,
chemical, caffeine, smoke, medication,
temperature, pain, dust, vibration, etc.
We are very sensitive to the slightest
change of environment, people’s needs
and emotions, relationships, etc.
We also tend to think everything thoroughly.
Wanting to make a good decision,
sometimes we need more time to make up
our mind before taking actions.
Some highly sensitive children grow up
with a warm supportive environment
with their family members and caretakers.
Others grow up with the unsupportive
environment or even experience mocking,
bullying, and abuse.
We may become a victim,
an endurer or an over-achiever,
constantly seeking approvals.
The book “Highly Sensitive Person”
was written by Dr. Elaine Aron,
a research psychologist in New York.
Until she published this book,
HSP has not been seen as
a trait that we are born with.
They were sometimes mistaken
as “neurotic” as the functional
Only recently, I made a peace with
this idea that I am one of HSPs.
While growing up, of course,
I did not know about HSP at all.
When I read this book, it brought me
tremendous relief and understanding.
It eased all the pain of so many memories
of being very uncomfortable
with the certain events, or daily stimuli.
To this day, I get affected and exhausted
especially the sound, scent,
and people’s energy. I do get physical
I need a lot of quiet downtimes alone.
It certainly affected my relationships.
It all made sense after I read Dr. Elaine’s book.
I started revisiting and reframing
all my experiences in the different light.
Dr. Elaine Aron describes HSPs in details
providing numerous research and interviews
she had done with her husband and her colleagues.
Not all the HSPs are introverts.
Not all the introverts are HSPs.
Nevertheless, I think HSPs and introverts
can be seen differently at the workplaces,
the schools, in all sorts of relationships, etc.
15-20% of the population and many species
on the earth are highly sensitive.
They most likely play the role of
noticing subtle changes
so that the species can survive.
For some difference in processing
the stimuli in the brain,
they take everything in the deeper level.
We are born that way.
We are “canaries in a coal mine”.
In human’s case, we HSPs tend
to think and feel deeper.
They feel other people’s needs and
feel urged to offer help.
We are not the ones who die first like
“canaries in a coal mine”.
We’ll let you know the danger
is near and we must do something.
Since we sense human needs
naturally and have this urge to rescue,
sometimes we become people pleasers.
If it turns out to the positive direction,
we serve the humanity a great deal.
Since we need the extra cushion to
be safe and comfortable,
we could think of and invent something
new that no one sees yet.
We tend to be a one who sees
and tries new things.
We get startled easily and we are
the ones who try to help immediately
if someone falls.
HSPs notice the details of everything
around them. Many of HSPs
are highly creative and artistic.
Many of them become the researchers,
artists, judges, analysts, doctors, nurses,
and monks, etc. Many also become healers,
therapists, and spiritual practitioners.
We are not defects. We are different.
In our aggressive society though,
HSPs often suffer from astigmatism.
Being perceived as “shy” “introverted”
“too fussy” “hard to please” “odd”,
we start growing the sense of shame and guilt.
We take those judgments seriously
to our heart too since we want to
be accepted and loved so desperately.
HSPs feel the sadness and joy deeply as well.
Over-joyed or over-saddened, sometimes
parents see them as “difficult” or
We start asking
“Is there something wrong with me?”
“Why am I different from others?”
We start developing the sense
“I don’t belong here.”
“I don’t deserve.”
Susan Cain speaks beautifully
in her TEDx Talk
and why we want to see these seemingly
“different” people who may not be
quite appreciated in this world of over stimuli.
The world needs us (and diverse population)
in this modern society. Diversity is empowerment.
While we have many countries
where children are not
receiving enough education,
we have other issues in some countries
like USA and Japan.
In Japan, there are numerous
who refuse to go to school now,
or they choose not to go.
Parents are trying to find the solutions
or totally heart broken.
A big portion of those,
10% of school age children in Japan’s case,
might have different sensitivity from others.
Just being in the school system that forces
all the children to learn at the same
pace and with the same material
with everyone else, the energy
they get drained out must be
enormous particularly if they are HSPs.
Self-care is extremely important for HSPs.
We must say “what we need”
to blossom to our best.
We need to restore in the quiet
space alone to recover so that
we can work to our full potential.
We need to have boundaries to be
a happy family member and a love partner.
Many HSPs work and function
very well in a group and corporate
settings as well.
When others understand HSPs’ needs,
they not only work better but thrive.
We tend to perform much better
in a quiet safe environment.
It’s extremely difficult to take strong
chemical scents in the hallways and buildings.
The noise of machines and traffic are
draining to us to the degree
that we have to wear noise canceling earbuds, etc.
Some of us do much better in a cubic
rather than an open space
since we feel everyone’s energy.
If we happen to see violent scene
or pictures, it haunts us for a long time.
We may stay up through the night.
The sense of safety, fear, and anger are
all protecting us and supporting
our mechanism to survive.
They all reside in Root Chakra.
There are still a lot of people
who don’t know that they are HSPs.
They don’t know why they can’t
sleep at night.
Knowing and understanding HSPs
will give so much relief for their families,
friends, and co-workers.
If you know someone you think
who may be HSP, please read
Dr. Elaine’s book “Highly Sensitive Person”.
If you think your children are
HSC (Highly Sensitive Children),
reading her book will bring you
relief, and benefit.
Our wellness is
Together we can make our lives
so much more fruitful and joyful.
Here is Dr. Elaine’s
that you can take in 20 seconds.
Even for non-HSPs, modern life
with constant high stimuli causes
Here is the relief.
The easy version for restful sleep you can do without any yoga experience.
My YouTube Video for Viparita Karani (A yoga pose to relieve Insomnia).