If I am hungry, you better leave me alone for a bit, because I get very hangry. I have nightmares for days after I watch a violent movie. Being in busy cities drains my energy. I seem to be way more sensitive to stress than others around me. I get so much more unsettled by loud noises, strong smells and bright light. I am very sensitive to pain, to the point that I can only feel my hurt toe and not hear/see/feel anything else… I could continue this list until it fills half this page, but I won’t.
I always felt like I was different, like I was so much more… sensitive than other. Sensitive in a bad way. Like ‘you are just way to sensitive, toughen up, girl. I stopped counting how often I was told to be ‘less sensitive’. But in all the time I spent on this planet, I did not manage to toughen up. I learned to hide my struggles better, but they never disappeared.
Being highly sensitive
Then, about two years ago, I first read about Highly Sensitive People (short: HSP). Psychologist Elaine Aron did a lot of research on people that seemed so much more sensitive than others. I recognized myself in almost all criteria she listed. Seeing all my ‘weird’ traits listed like that made my realize that maybe they all have the same underlying trait: being sensitive in general. And somehow, labeling myself as ‘highly sensitive’ made it so much easier for me to accept my challenging traits. For example: I am no longer fighting against feeling overstimulated in crowded cities. Instead I make sure to find a limit the time spend there to a minimum and then find a quiet place to recharge. More and more I am realizing it’s all about self care and listening to my body.
Why being highly sensitive makes me a good photographer
At first, I thought being highly sensitive was a negative trait. And in many cases it sure is challenging. When I am at a friend’s party with loud music, I can’t enjoy and all I can think of is how badly I want to leave. But, over the past years, I have learned to see how being highly also is a positive trait. Not in the least because I think being highly sensitive is part of what makes me a good photographer.
I forge a real connection with people very easily. Feeling connected makes it so much easier for you to open up to me, to show yourself to me and my camera. Furthermore, by getting to know you better, I know when you need some more encouragement and when you need a little break.
As an highly sensitive person, I experience things more intensely. When we are in a beautiful landscape with natural colors and sounds, I get so enthusiastic! And I have never been good in hiding my enthusiasm, so I hope to inspire you to fully emerge in the nature too.
I am very emphatic, which is a positive trait when it comes to working with people. I know when you feel nervous or uncomfortable, which ain’t strange when you know you’ll have a camera following you around. I can help you getting rid of these feelings, so you can fully enjoy the photo session.
Last, but not least, highly sensitive people tend to be very creative, due to their depth of processing. Many artists and musicians show the traits of highly sensitive people. It’s probably due to our vivid emotional lives and seeing connections and details that others might miss.
How about you?
Do you recognize yourself in the traits I mentioned above? On this website you can test whether you’d be categorized as an highly sensitive person. If so, I highly recommend you to read the book ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ by Elaine Aron because it helped me a lot to understand myself better. Let me know in the comments what are your thoughts on being highly sensitive and how it helps you in your daily life!