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Why Highly Sensitive People Need Boundaries

Highly sensitive people, or sensitivity,  is again the focus of today’s summary in my series of self development articles. The term highly sensitive people (HSPs) and empath appear to be used by some writers interchangeably. I remain to be convinced that the two are the same thing. Indeed, I remain to be convinced that there is such a thing as an empath (my visual editor is of the same opinion – a red squiggly line appears under that word).

Believe me, I don’t intend that in either a derogatory or skeptical fashion. As far as I can see, the jury is out on that issue.

You can view all the previous summaries in the series by clicking on this category link. And here is a link to my Personal Development page for your convenience.

The series of summaries of self development articles works like this – I find an article on the web using the tag ‘self development articles’ and I summarize it for your convenience. It is intended as an aid to find worthwhile self development articles on the web and condense them for you. It saves you time!

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Today’s Article – Healthy Boundaries for Highly Sensitive People

Today’s article  Healthy Boundaries for Highly Sensitive People by Eileen Burns appeared on Medium.

Favorite Quote from the Author In the Article

highly sensitive people

 Summary of the Article

The author introduces the article in writing “Healthy Boundaries are a necessary part of being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong but is something Highly Sensitive People and those who are natural caregivers, nurturers struggle with.

She goes on to list 12 tips to assist HSPs in creating healthy boundaries.

Reading Time of the Article

3 minutes
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About the Author and Lesson(s) Learned From The Article

Eileen Burns is a Stress Management Expert, Healer, Coach owner of Stress Coach Training. She has 20+yrs studying holistic wellbeing, meditation, stress, healing.

The one obvious lesson is that the tips are useful. A further, almost hidden message, is the need to put self-love first.

My Take

These issues that highly sensitive people face are illuminating to me. Burns writes “Most highly sensitive people HSP’s are so used to reading, feeling and putting others emotions first, that they don’t know what boundaries are. They are more likely to get burnt out, exhausted, stressed and even anxious.

Illuminating because until reading about HSPs, I thought I was sensitive. But clearly I now realize that I have a built-in survival mechanism. I have empathy but a common sense realization that there is little or nothing I can do to alleviate the suffering of another (in most cases). I empathize but I am not an empath.

It troubles me that the more I read about HSPs, the more I feel the condition should be treated as a mental illness.

Burns also writes “As a highly sensitive person, an empath and nurturer from as long as I can remember, I found it more natural to read and feel how everyone else was feeling than identifying my own needs.

That for me underscores the real need to be selfish in order to  preserve one’s own sanity. Let me use Mother Theresa as an example. I feel sure that when she was living that she knew she had to put her own needs first. Simple, daily needs like food and clean drinking water. It was only when those needs were fulfilled that she was able to help others.

Selfishness is not bad per se. If you don’t take care of yourself, then how are you going to take care of others?


It’s a must read for highly sensitive people because of the wisdom found in the 12 tips.

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