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“HSP connection” is a term referencing the ability for people with highly sensitive physiology to naturally understand and relate to each other’s way of experiencing life. This type of connection is needed for HSPs to be able to experience true reciprocity in relationship and to maintain balance in their lives.

Every person with high sensitivity needs at least one highly sensitive friend. Children with high sensitivity need to spend time with other highly sensitive children, and in some cases people with highly sensitive physiology (HSP) may find true happiness with a highly sensitive partner.

“To be able to pay attention to someone and care about them is a profound gift, and not one that most people have.

As people with highly sensitive physiology, we have been given this gift at birth. For most of us, noticing and caring is not something we have to work at. What we long for however, is to have someone notice and care about us with the same skill and depth that we give to others.”

HSP Connection - The HSP in Love

The Importance of Reciprocity

Reciprocity is a fundamental concept in human relationships and plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy and positive connections with others. It refers to the mutual exchange of benefits, favors, or support between two individuals or groups, where both parties are equally invested in the relationship. Reciprocity can strengthen trust, build a sense of connection and mutual understanding, and create a sense of obligation to help others in return. It helps to establish and maintain a balance of give-and-take, creating a sustainable and rewarding relationship that benefits everyone involved. Without reciprocity, relationships can become one-sided, leading to resentment, conflict, and ultimately, the breakdown of the connection.

Feeling Is Important

People with highly sensitive physiology feel a lot. Evolution has designed us this way. Our heightened awareness and sensitivity helps to ensure the safety, health, and well being of the group as a whole. That’s the evolutionary purpose of highly sensitive physiology. The group can be just two people, a family unit, a social group, or even larger groups like teams, cities, states, countries, or humanity as a whole. We are designed to notice and to care. It’s in our genes.

This ability to notice and to care is valuable. It’s a major part of the emotional currency in any relationship. It’s a major part of reciprocity.

In this video, we can see it even being extended across species:

Emotional Accuracy

Expanding on the idea that noticing and caring is valuable, here’s a new term relevant to the topic of high sensitivity:

“Emotional Accuracy”

Having highly sensitive physiology results in a certain degree of accuracy in terms of perceiving and understanding what is going with others emotionally. This ability is rooted, at least in part, in the mirror neurons of the brain[1] and results in a better, and sometimes far better than, average assessment of what’s going on emotionally in any given situation.

Of course there are blindspots and mistakes, but generally speaking, people with HSP have a nuanced sense of the emotional experience of others.

Do you find that you have “emotional accuracy” when assessing what’s going in with people and situations? If so, do you have blind spots?

Have you had the experience or frustration of other people being emotionally inaccurate with you?

The Little Details

Is there anything as nourishing, precious, or satisfying, as when someone notices something subtle about who you are, what really matters to you, or what you need to take the next step in your growth? Being skillfully paid attention to is perhaps the greatest gift that one human being can give to another.

As a person with highly sensitive physiology (HSP), being around people who don’t have the same physiology can feel like they’re not really paying attention and aren’t able to reciprocate.

For example, I once stayed with a good friend for about a month and a half while going through a breakup. After a few weeks, we were having dinner together one night in his kitchen and I told him something I had noticed about him while living with him. He visibly staggered and said, “Wow, you just spoke to my deepest view of life. No one has ever said that to me. I feel deeply seen.”

For those that are interested, here was the insight: There is no separation between the “animal” and the “divine.” There is a split in the collective unconscious which holds that we must transcend our animal-ness in order to reach a divine state. However, in clear awareness, one can see that the animal kingdom is an expression of the divine and that there is in fact no split, no need to reject the body in order to “reach the divine.”

The thing is, what I said to him was not something he had ever talked about. It was just something I noticed from being around him for a few weeks. The awareness just sort of organically arose. I now know that my insular cortex was hard at work integrating all the subtle information I was taking in about him while staying at his house.

When It Doesn’t Come Back

HSP Alone

Without other people who are highly sensitive in their lives, HSPs can end up feeling frustrated and alone.

Having deep insight into others can be fun, useful and rewarding. However, it gets painful when others aren’t able to do the same in return. Reciprocity suffers and relationships can break down over time.

The beginning of wisdom for people with HSP is to understand that other people don’t have the same tool box in terms of emotional awareness, or “noticing and caring.” It’s not that that non-sensitive people don’t care as much. The point is that they can’t. Evolution has designed their bodies to approach life in a different way.

A Different Design

People come in all kinds of different designs. If we need something from a high shelf, we ask a tall person to reach it for us. If we need something from a tight space, we ask someone with a small hand to grab it. This is a part of life and part of the joy of our interconnectedness. If we want our community to win an athletic competition, we need an athlete who is the best at that particular sport.

There’s no shame in claiming one’s power as a person with high sensitivity. The physiology bestows certain abilities. There’s no arguing that.

As people with highly sensitive physiology, we have been given this gift at birth. For most of us, noticing and caring is not something we have to work at. What we long for however, is to have someone notice and care about us with the same skill and depth that we give to others.

The HSP Connection: Finding Reciprocity

What is the HSP connection? HSP connection is simply recognizing that people with highly sensitive physiology need to spend time with each other.

There has been a lot written about “love languages” and “men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” However, I have yet to see any literature addressing the importance of sensitive physiology as a dimension of relationship health.

The fundamental principle is the capacity for true reciprocity may be severely limited between two people who don’t share the same physiology. Accepting this and letting go of unrealistic expectations can be a great relief.

Having at least one relationship in one’s life where there is a true “HSP connection” can be a well that nourishes and facilitates the other parts of the person’s life. The challenge then, becomes finding other people with highly sensitive physiology and incorporating them into one’s life.

This website of course is built to address that challenge, whether the need is for friendship, connecting with other parents, or looking for a romantic partner.

This website may help you develop HSP connections in your life. However, here are a few things you can start doing right away:

  • Start noticing who in your life might have highly sensitive physiology, or be an “HSP.”
  • If you’ve thought of your sensitive physiology as a problem, up until now, start trying on the idea that your body is designed by nature for a specific approach to life.
  • If you can’t immediately find anyone in your life who is an HSP, you can join this site and connect with other HSPs online. And while online relationships can be helpful, we strongly encourage real world, face to face relationships. You can develop those over time.

To put it simply, sensing what’s going on with others, and caring about it, comes naturally to the person with high sensitivity. Nature has designed highly sensitive physiology to work this way. For this reason, a person with HSP tends to make a good partner, parent, friend, or even co-worker.

A Note about Highly Sensitive Physiology

Highly sensitive physiology can bring with it certain health and wellness challenges. In addition to facilitating connections and relationships between highly sensitive people, HSPconnection is also focused on publishing extensive resources addressing the various challenges associated with highly sensitive physiology.

Sources

  1. Bianca P. Acevedo, B., Aron, E., Aron, A., Sangster, M., Collins, N., & Brown, L. (2014) The highly sensitive brain: An fMRI study of sensory processing sensitivity and response to others’ emotions. Brain and Behavior, 4, 580-594.

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One Comment

  1. Madeleine March 29, 2024 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Very true observations. I connect with this as an HSP that has mostly dated non-hsp’s it’s a challenge to feel truly connected, not impossible but definitely more difficult.

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