Elaine Aron (who coined the term Highly Sensitive Person) uses the acronym DOES to capture the main characteristics of an HSP.
DOES stands for being Deep processors, prone to Over-stimulation, demonstrating Emotional reactivity and Empathy, and being sensitive to Subtleties.
I have my own – additional – version of DOES.
D is for Deep, just Deep. HSPs don’t just process deeply, we do everything deeply. Analyse, appreciate, care, feel, hurt, love, think, wound. I’m sure you can think of many other verbs.
O is feeling Out of sync. HSPs often struggle to fit in with majority groups and organisational cultures. We can feel like we don’t belong, when actually we don’t want to – at least not to those particular ‘tribes’.
E is for Energy. It could also be for Exhaustion. HSPs tend to have issues around their energy – having enough of it, managing it and knowing how to nurture it. I’ll be writing another blog post about that soon.
S is for Standards. HSPs often have higher standards than other people, which can be a source of mutual frustration. It can show up in the time we give things (more than most). And in our expectations and disappointments. In our defence, we’re unfailingly the hardest on ourselves!
Do you recognise any of these characteristics? Or are there others that come to mind for you?
You might even have your own acronym for being the unique HSP that you are. Cool!