Highly Sensitivity as a strength

If you hear or read highly sensitive, you might think just another hype or people asking for attention? Could be of course, I don’t know. I am not in favour of applying labels to people or certain behaviour. I can only say for myself that I recognize myself a lot in the so-called ‘highly sensitive’ person. When I first heard about it I related to many of the aspects. At the same time I felt resistance to the whole idea, since fully admitting that I am a highly sensitive person also felt like agreeing that I am weird and different or a way to ask attention for my ‘disability’. Nowadays I can fully accept and admit that I am a bit weird and I am often not so social. From resistance I went to accepting myself as highly sensitive person. This also brought me more understanding and compassion for my behaviour in the past. I can recall many memories still clearly in which my sensitivity shows.

When I received my first school rapport when I was 6 years old, the teacher had written: ‘Now you only have to talk a bit louder, Jacinta!’ I spoke too softly, whenever I spoke at all. For me a lot of people speak to loud! It hurts my ears. My yoga students often have said to me that they like my voice. Thankfully, I have learnt to speak louder and at the same time keep the softness in my voice.

I often remember when meeting up with friends that after a while I was done with socializing. While they often could have played or talked for many more hours, I had enough and wanted to go home to be by myself and in the comfort of my own familiar space. I recently realised that my best friends are all similar to me (also sensitive), therefore it feels easy to meet with them, knowing that they have had enough after a while too. If I don’t have enough alone time and therefore not being able to recharge my batteries I often become grumpy and have little patience for the people around me. I have also learnt that I am not made to socialize with groups of friends, I feel much more at ease and comfortable when meeting up with just one friend.  

Going from primary school to high school was a tough period for me. I went from a small primary school located in a relatively poor neighbourhood to a big high school with lots of kids. Quite often I would withdraw myself from all the noise, impressions and people by sitting for a while at the toilet and breathe deeply. I felt a sense of relief which I can still recall clearly.

In the first classes of high school I was still terrible shy. I remember a classmate stating to me while my friend is chatting to her: ‘You haven’t said a word today yet.’ I didn’t reply. I only thought, do you think I am going to talk now? You have made me only more aware of my weirdness and I feel even more awkward to start talking. I have outgrown my shyness mostly by now. I guess becoming a yoga teacher was a fast way to deal with the kind of fears associated with shyness.

I have always been a crier, even more now I have become a mother. I remember many times that I felt like crying but it was very awkward in that moment, for example in the middle of class at school when the teacher told me I didn’t do a good job. I swallowed a couple of times to hold back the tears to let them come out at another time. For me it is also easy to tune in with someone’s feelings, I pick up the subtle signals which can be helpful at times and annoying at other times. I would say It makes me a compassionate person and at the same time insecure, because I often pick up all the little signals which are not always positive in my confusing mind chatter.

I FEEL INTENSELY, both so-called ‘negative’ emotions as well as the ‘positive’ emotions. One day I can feel overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude and joy and the next day I can feel deeply sad. I have learnt to surf the waves of these emotions, they come and go. In the past I had built a wall around me for me not to feel the negative emotions so strong, but at the same time I kept the joy and happiness out as well….. Luckily I have learnt to slowly break down my wall and feel freer in experiencing my emotions which is wonderful and at the same time scary and vulnerable.

Yoga is such a wonderful way for me to free all the emotions that can get stuck and calm down my overactive mind. Emotions are e-motion or energies in movement. Through movement, mindful breathing and meditation I can use my sensitivity as strength instead of weakness. In the yoga studios you often meet similar sensitive people who are also drawn to this powerful mind body soul practice we call: Yoga. While teaching yoga I feel like I can truly be myself and tune in with the bodies and souls in front of me. Every time this is such honour, pleasure and joy.


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