About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Oh, I how I loved reading this. Thanks so much for sharing, Kristen! I had never heard of the term “highly sensitive person” prior to this – I am intrigued and I would love to find out more! After reading your post, I did a quick google search to see if I could find the 27 question survey you talked about, and I am excited to say I think I found it !:) I have it bookmarked, and I hope to take the quiz later today! 🙂

    “The better I get to know myself, the better I give to others around me, the more effectively I use my talents and gifts to affectionately love on others in my circles….” – love love love this! AMEN. Discovering ourselves enables us to discover our purpose, and to continually joyfully discover God! Hmm! AMEN.

    Thanks again for sharing, Kristen! May we all continually joyfully discover ourselves, our purpose, and our God! Amen!

    Keep sharing! Keep smiling! Blessings to you and all of yours!:)
    ~ Bomi

    • I hope you were able to take it, Bomi! What were the results?!

      Also, I wanted to mention the book Sensitive & Strong by Denise Hughes and Cheri Gregory as a resource for helping folks navigate the HSP journey. I haven’t read it myself, but I have heard good things about it!

  2. Kristen,
    More proof we are kindred spirits…I, too, am a “highly sensitive person”. My husband asked me why I don’t take my laptop to a coffee shop to work on my writing. I tried, but between the startling roar of the coffee grinder, utensils clanging and banging, orders being called out, I quickly found myself on sensory overload and had to leave. Denise Hughes and Cheri Gregory recently released a wonderful book called “Sensitive and Strong” in which they explore this subject from a Christian perspective. It’s an excellent read! You are so right in saying that God designed us this way for a special purpose. The world could use a few more highly sensitive people in this callous society. Celebrating YOU! Just as you are!
    Bev xx

    • I totally get that, Bev. If I’m working at a coffee shop and can’t sit outside, then I have to have earbuds in to drown out the noise. #kindreds

      I’ve heard that book is a great resource! I have yet to read it, but I’m very interested in doing so!

  3. I can definitely relate, being an HSP myself. A neurologist once told me, “We need more sensitive people in this world. Don’t ever apologize for being sensitive”. Though we’re often misunderstood, especially by gregarious family and friends, God can use our compassion and quiet caring to serve others. I loved seeing this post this morning, as a confirmation that we’re not alone! (There is a book titled “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron)

    • Yes–I need to add that one to my book queue as well as Sensitive & Strong by Denise Hughes and Cheri Gregory.

      Love your words here, Elizabeth. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. I love this Kristen. It’s taken me getting into my 50’s to be happy to get to know myself. I think before now I’ve always been afraid of what I’d find!!

    • Ha! Yes–I’m sure that’s part of why I hesitated for so long, too. Well, that and getting over my inner enneagram 2 voice that likes to tell me it’s selfish to take the time to work on these kinds of things. God bless the wisdom that comes with age! Love you, Niki!

  5. I think sensitive people have more open hearts. often we go around feeling awkward or apologizing for things tho..i do know that God definetely moves in those whose hearts are more responsive. I think king David was one of these receptive hearts..we know he worshipped alot and loved God alot.
    while I don’t like being labelled by the world’s terms of things I do realize God works in some people easier then others.. others know God but stumble with on and off faith their whole lives..but us who are more sensitive often feel the spirit of God closer. Rejoice in how God made your soul , there’s a reason for everything

  6. Amen from another HSP. As my other HSP friends and I say it is mostly a blessing —to me as well as to others, but occasionally feels like a curse -(I am not denigrating how God made me, here, just saying how it feels when I am oversensitized, overwhelmed or burdened by others’ needs)…..I, too,was happy to see I was just a different “normal” not abnormal, grins.

  7. Thank you for sharing Kristen! So interesting.

    I wonder if this sensitivity can build over time? I’ve noticed in the last few years I’m more edgy at group gatherings and anxious to be the first one to leave. I’ve also noticed that too much noise or chatter makes me feel tense. Something I’ll look into!

    By the way, were there any tips on handling family events calmly? Our Christmas and New Year celebrations were wonderful, but I noticed I felt anxious a lot, which is very unlike me!

    Thank you for your encouragement,


    P.S. I’m a Colorado girl too!

    • As an HSP, I’ve found three things help a lot. The 1st is to stay rested, hydrated, and well-nourished with protein & veggies at my regular mealtimes not just sugary treats and snacks. Because just like a toddler, I have far less emotional resiliency when I am tired, thirsty, or hungry. The 2nd is to intentionally seek little oasises of calm in the midst of the chaos, and look for opportunities to engage with just one or a few people at a time. Going to another room to play a game, volunteering to wash dishes, stepping outside to get something from the car, or even just a few extra minutes in the bathroom can all help me manage the overwhelm. The 3rd might not matter to all HSPs but personally I’m less anxious when I have some control of the situation: driving instead of carpooling (so I can leave early if I need to), planning the activities (so I can suggest some quieter ones), doing the meal potluck style (so I can bring food I know I like), etc.

    • Sometimes “HSP”-ness is actually thyroid imbalance, so that may be something to get checked on.

      Not saying anything negative about the positives of awareness of one’s immediate environment, but 1. sometimes a medical condition is responsible for over-heightened awareness/anxiety/edginess, and 2. if that’s the case and if the over-awareness is getting in the way of your life, then by all means see if it’s fixable!

      (personally, I landed an autoimmune disorder and that has turned me into a “HSP” by the numbers, although we haven’t figured out how to fix the negatives of it yet [oversensitivity to environment being near the least of my worries right now!]. I wasn’t anywhere near as much of a “HSP” before, though; my introversion skyrocketed, my ability to be easily overwhelmed by crowds, smells, noises, etc. came into existence; so it’s not *always* just the way we are.)

    • I’m sure it can build over time. I’m 45 and honestly nothing bothered me in my 20s. I could handle the rush of a busy life..now in my 40s I crave silence and slower times.i don’t want to be in noisy coffee shops for tea with friends.. I prefer visiting in a place we can actually hear eachother. I think it builds over time as we mature and are aware of life around us daily..loud and distracting .

  8. Kristen,

    The better we know ourselves we can more effectively use the talents He has gifted us with. I tend to be somewhat highly sensitive. A lot of noise & to many bright lights get on my nerves. This world needs more sensitive people like us & less aggressive. distrustful & hatred ones. We would do well to model as Jesus did & love others-showering them with kindness & compassion. That is what makes us Highly sensitive people who we are. My prayer for 2020 is finding God & getting to know Him better. More of a prayer life. Then I want to show this world His love & kindness. I don’t apologize for who I am. My phrase I use is “God made me this way. Talk to Him about it”. He is the one who wove my DNA.

    Blessings 🙂

  9. Love this, Kristen! I haven’t taken a test, but I can definitely relate to what you’ve described. This is my favorite:
    “The same fingers that flung the stars in the heavens wove your DNA into being. You were made on purpose for a purpose. God’s hands purposely designed you as you so you could best complete the hand-picked purpose He’s designed for you.“
    I so need to remember this.
    Jennifer, I do find that I am becoming more sensitive as I get older. Maybe the world is just getting noisier. We can’t even go to a movie theater anymore. The volume drives us out.

  10. Thank you for writing this, Kristen! My daughter is a HSP and when I learned that it became a game changer for me! Turns out after we discovered that about her, my husband is a HSP also. I now know how to help her with things like scratchy clothes, crowds of people, and unfamiliar situations.

    • Hi Melissa! I would love to know some of your techniques you use to help your daughter. My son changes clothes it seems like 100 times because he says they are “itchy”. At first I thought maybe he was being a little dramatic, but now I’m wondering if he may be a HSP too.

  11. Thank you. I needed to read this today and I almost deleted it! My highly sensitive personality is even more amped up in recent years and as a musician, this has caused me to stop enjoying and making music which was once my life! Too much noise, too much loud talking, even the smaller sounds that, I believe Bev referred to in the comments, are overwhelming when I’m trying to write, even at the library. I pray that the positives outweigh the negatives of my sensitivity in 2020 for me and all of you too. (My word of the year is “free “.)

    • I am also a highly sensitive musician and have found I am more and more overwhelmed by the extraneous noise than I ever used to be. Trying to learn the new balance for my career.

  12. Wow! It was only in the past week that I came across HSP information! I took the test that you linked and I scored a 23! Just this past Wednesday I watched an audio cast about an HSE (Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur) program. It’s too expensive for me right now to justify spending over $1000 for a 7-month course. I really wanted to do it as it sounded awesome. The woman who provides/sells these courses has consulted with Dr. Elaine Aron and over the years created this special course for HSPs who are having difficulty getting their businesses up and running successfully. Like me. Struggling to get noticed. Still struggling. (I recently launched my new re-vamped blog and Etsy shop). This post here was very timely! Wow! And I checked out Dr. Aron’s books to see if reading them (instead of spending $$$ on a course) would be just as helpful. I don’t know yet, but I will also check out the “Sensitive and Strong” book from a Christian perspective. All my life I’ve struggled with trying to fit in as an introvert. And I’m not apologizing for being an introvert. 🙂 And I’m 64, almost 65 when I discover I’m an HSP! It took most of my married life (44 yrs) to get used to a loud and extroverted in-law family. And a husband who is very talkative, loud, and gets angry easily. Thank you SO MUCH for posting about this subject today. It has given me more confidence to be the woman God made me.

  13. I’ve known for a long time I was different than most people. It wasn’t until I was in Christian Counseling that my counselor addressed this issue with me. Actually I thought I might be crazy but once he explained it to me ,I felt so much peace that this is how God made me.
    Thanks you for sharing your thoughts and perspective on this.

  14. Definitely an HSP here!!!! Thank you for this article!!! Going to research this now!!!

  15. Hi Kristen, my heart jumped as I read your mention of the Highly Sensitive Person. Yes and Amen. It’s so good to know we are not alone! Cheri Gregory has a great website/blog about being Highly Sensitive with many great and helpful/encouraging articles. I highly recommend this! https://sensitiveandstrong.com/ https://sensitiveandstrong.com/start-here/
    And, here’s a link to the Sensitive and Strong book site that includes another HSP Quiz — https://sensitiveandstrongbook.com/quiz/