What do Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nicole Kidman have in common?
They may be Highly Sensitive People, or HSP, the 15 to 20 percent of the population who are very bright and creative with a finer-tuned nervous system. Click here to see if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person. As I say, “they have an on-going tug-of-war between their head and their heart.” They process incoming information and subtleties in their environment, including sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, more deeply than the non-highly sensitive person, the “other” 80 percent of the population. The trait of high sensitivity has both a psychological and physiological basis.
Some of the diverse group of “famous” individuals that — in my opinion — might appropriately belong on the list of those who exhibit the characteristics of high sensitivity would include the likes of: Albert Einstein, Carl Jung and Charles Darwin, to political leaders: Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt and Princess Diana. Highly sensitive scientists and inventors include: Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Alva Edison and naturalist Jane Goodall.
As I say in my talks on the trait of high sensitivity “HSP doesn’t always equal nice.” Darker HSPs include: Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden …
Of course, many actors and actresses exude HSP traits including: Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland, to today’s celebrities such as Mandy Moore, Adrien Brody, Glenn Close, Eddie Murphy, Joaquin Phoenix, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Kline, Winona Ryder and Elijah Wood, to name a few.
The list of “famous HSPs” would also include many comedians including: Woody Allen, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin and Mel Brooks. The “King of Late Night” Johnny Carson was in total control during his show – but once he stepped away from the spotlight he was shy, caught off guard, and more like a deer with his eyes caught in the headlights. I worked with Orson Welles (HSP) for many years on the Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time” campaign. One day, going to a recording session, as Orson was getting out of the limo a homeless guy rushed up to him unexpectedly – and it took about a half hour for Mr. Welles to regained his composure and be able to work.
Famous writers on the list might include: Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, Virginia Woolf, E.E. Cummings, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, Kahlil Gibran, D.H. Lawrence, Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Tennessee Williams, to Deepak Chopra, Dr. Pat Allen and Judith Orloff.
Highly Sensitive artists include: Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Georgia O’Keefe, Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Frank Lloyd Wright, among many others.
Then there is famous photographer Ansel Adams and maybe even basketball super star Michael Jordan. There is a long list of highly sensitive famous film makers including the before mentioned Orson Welles, also Sir. Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Michael Moore. Another great visionary creative talent on the HSP list would have to include the amazing creative force of Walt Disney.
Then there are singers/song writers and poets like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Elton John, Alanis Morissette, Neil Young, Jim Morrison … Other famous singers and musicians would include: Céline Dion, Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand, going all the way back to Mozart.
Singer/song writer Jewel in her famous “I’m Sensitive” song, sings:
“So please be careful with me, I’m sensitive
And I’d like to stay that way.
I have this theory, that if we’re told we’re bad
Then that’s the only idea we’ll ever have…”
As I close many of my HSP talks, I say “So be careful, be sensitive and stay that way.” Set healthy boundaries, find ways to protect yourself in this less than sensitive world. Discover how to calm your finely tuned nervous system. Consider sticking to a regular set routine, one that would include proper diet and nutrition, exercise, meditation, prayer or other calming spiritual practices. Keep a daily journal to work through issues, taking regular breaks, and very important, getting enough rest and sleep. As I write about in my chapter on Highly Sensitive People in the book Chopped Liver For the Loving Spirit understanding and being aware of your trait and temperament can lead to a most fulfilling life — the names mentioned above are great examples.
You can also visit www.HighlySensitivePeople.com to learn more
Please note: This is one person’s opinion based on years of observations of Highly Sensitive People. No medical claims or diagnoses have been made.