There is such a contradiction to being a highly sensitive person and being an extrovert. If there are ever two opposite states, then this is exactly it!
Highly sensitive people make up about 15-20% of the population and you can read some of my other posts on the trait of being a highly sensitive person here and here.
When I first started exploring the possibility that I could be a highly sensitive person, it was really challenging for me to figure out if I was REALLY a highly sensitive person because I knew that I was an extrovert.
Back then, most of the literature and the information available on high sensitivity really focused on the introverted nature of highly sensitive people.
Since then more research has been done which shows there are also extroverted people who are highly sensitive. Around 30% of HSPs are extroverted.
I’ve since identified some of the main struggles that really showed up for me during this time when I was trying to figure out that balance between being highly sensitive and extroverted and that is what I want to share with you in the post.
I’m still a work in progress, and I haven’t yet found all the answers, but I’m a lot better in honouring these two sides of me as a highly sensitive extrovert.
Watch The contradiction of being a highly sensitive extrovert on my YouTube channel.
A story of opposites
The two biggest opposites of this conundrum that we have of being extroverted and sensitive are:
- highly sensitive people need time on their own to process the world
- extroverts enjoy being with other people because that’s where they get their energy from
Over-stimulation vs Under-stimulation
You might have noticed this constant battle of needing to balance being overstimulated by the world and the activities, with being under-stimulated in terms of the level of engagement that you have with other people.
For highly sensitive extroverts then, it’s really about finding the balance between spending your time with people where you get energized and spending time on your own.
If you don’t know that you are a highly sensitive person, you most likely won’t make much effort in spending time on your own.
As extroverts, we like talking to people and we like exploring new things and so, we don’t realize that we still need that time to retreat from the world and process all of the things that we’ve assimilated and engaged with during the day.
Until you are able to understand that it’s this delicate dance that you need to do you are going to struggle to find that balance between honoring your people-need and your alone-time need that you have.
Explain your sensitive extrovert nature to others
It’s also important that you tell your partner or your friends that you are a highly sensitive person as well as an extrovert.
When you are clear about your needs, it’s easy for you to take a break when you need to, without having to explain yourself.
Being open in your communication with your loved ones in this way, can help you find that balance.
Pushing too hard
I like the analogy of highly sensitive extroverts having one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.
As a result, we don’t always listen to our bodies, and it can take a long time before we realize we need to take a step back and practice some self-care.
Effective self-care is something that is intentional, instead of waiting for a moment that feels right to do some self-care.
The better way to do it is to make self-care an intentional conscious practice that you build into your daily routine.
We can take better care of others if our own cup is full.
Highly sensitive people especially need self-care because it takes us very long to recover and recuperate if we crash and burn.
And, we crash and burn easily because we get overstimulated easily!
On top of that, as an extrovert, you are always looking for that stimulation and interaction with people.
If you don’t have strong boundaries, if you don’t know when to say no if you don’t know where to draw the line your self-care can fall flat on its face.
Including self-care in your daily routine is something that can be difficult to achieve, and if you have similar struggles, read this post on HSP self-care blocks.
Take an active role
I think it’s very important for us as highly sensitive people to take an active role in our own lives.
We cannot expect the world to change how they are and how they treat us, change has to come from within.
When we begin to heal, when we take responsibility for our own well-being and when we begin to practice compassion for all of these different facets of who we are that is when we can begin to fully step into our power.