Highly Sensitive? Learn To Harness These Five Superpowers

by Tanya Markul

Also published on Thought Catalogue.

I am not a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Au-contraire.

Sensitivity is my tree trunk, my flower stem, my nucleus. It’s my belly and my heart, and it’s my gently rounded cosmic edge. And I have found that it can either lead me to a wild field of flowers, or to my cold, damp little fortress.

Being highly sensitive is incredible. It’s beautiful. It’s raw. It’s so damn tender. But it’s also misunderstood, and a power that isn’t always easy to harness.

I’ve spent more than half a lifetime repressing sensitivity’s magic. Its pulse of intuition. Its surge of empowerment. Its call to service. Its ignition of creativity. Its glimpse at true beauty. And, let’s not forget its ability to heal.

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned about being highly sensitive is this: WHAT YOU RESIST, PERSISTS.

You can’t hide amongst the flower stems and petals forever. A visit to your dragon will sooner or later become necessary.

When I resist my sensitivity, I take a B-line straight into the hands of my demons a.k.a. heart-numbing habits, self-destruction and self-sabotage. For me, this also means a lot more human-related misunderstandings. (And who needs more of that?!)

So I’ve learned to harmonize with my hyper sensitivity, and you can too, by taking this first step:

Out Your Highly Sensitive Ass

Understanding, accepting, and shouting from the rooftops that I’M A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON, has changed my entire life. For the better.

Prehistoric me, or closeted hyper sensitive me, was all too often confused, or guilt-tripping for feeling too intently, too intimately, too sensitively. I used to diluted my innate, sensitive superpower with weird delusions of who I thought I should be.

I’d get super stressed out in large crowds or having too many things to do. I’d get super triggered by loud music or injustice or violence on television… and I’d either react strongly or I’d withdraw. And I’d always feel bad about it.

I didn’t understand how to use this precious characteristic of my being so instead I’d stress out for feeling overwhelmed by stuff that seemed easily manageable by other people… why couldn’t I just be more easy going?!

What was wrong with me? Well, nothing.

When I gave myself permission to slide my feet deep into my sensitive shoes, I gave myself permission to be who I was. And well, when I (and we) do that, everything automatically changes. Life becomes lighter, more magical, and challenging in a glorious way.

Like Marianne Williamson said it, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Sensitivity is the clearing river, a blossoming wild flower, an anchor to Earth, and the compass branded Soul. It’s an ingredient the world needs more of. Starting now. With you. And me.

Don't mistake TUH

There’s nothing wrong with being highly sensitive. There’s just something more unconventional and uncommon about being highly sensitive.

I think you could also say that in today’s world, being sensitive is avant-garde, rebellious and revolutionary. Perhaps even a bit taboo, a wild flower off the wild wall.

That hyper sensitivity is for people like us, the middle of the night poets, the magic-makers, the status-quo challengers, the creativists and the dreamy-eyed misfits. And, well, I’m OK with that. Because being hyper sensitive is what I’ve been called here to be and do.

So if you’re wondering if you’re a highly-sensitive person, I’ve concocted this easy 60-second gauge. Take it now:

  1. Are you highly affected by the moods of others?
  2. Are you easily rattled by having a lot thrown at you?
  3. Are you aware of subtle changes made to your home, work or creative environment?
  4. Do you often need alone time away from stimulus, sounds, and other people?
  5. Do you feel that you process situations on a deeper level?
  6. Do you have a sound awareness of your thoughts and physical sensations?’

If you answered most of these questions with a quick YES, you’re most likely a highly sensitive person.

But note, highly sensitive people may have something in common with the following characteristics, depending on who you are, but being highly sensitive does not automatically make you or anyone else a: loner, an introvert, or a person with some kind of neurosis or low self-esteem issue.

It may however, make you a heart-felt bohemian, a tender dream-maker, a soulful leader, an intuitive teacher, an amazing dad, or it may just support your urban witchery and craft.

Being highly sensitive is a natural and healthy condition, and it has a number of unique gifts:

1. Stellar Intuition

Highly sensitive people tend to be accurately perceptive of what is happening beyond outer layers — below the surface of situations, in the creases of crossings limbs, the pauses at the tip of exhalations, in between the lines, and without narrated reasoning.

Keep harnessing this power: learn to trust your gut, your ears, your shoulders, and your heart. Pay attention to the subtle reactions of your body aka inner world, and tap into the ability to feel the Oneness of all things. You are a vessel for transmission, and of great insight. Feel when your body is pushed forward or back toward people, places and things. Become aware, observe and react accordingly. The more you do it, the more it will grow.

In two words: trust yourself.

2. Energy Whisperers

Highly sensitive people can often feel the remnants of an experience, conversation or presence when entering a group, conversation, or room. Being able to sense stagnant or left-over energy pockets creates an opportunity to learn how to cleanse, release, increase or decrease vibrations. In other words, to become aware of subtle energetic, flowing Universe around us.

In one word: feel.

Keep harnessing this power: become aware of how you become aware of your unconscious behavior, and how you consciously react to the space that you are in.

3. Powerful Empaths

This goes beyond just the cordial sentiments, but getting as close to being able to walk a mile in a person’s shoes without ever putting their boots on. To feeling another’s beating heart ache, sing and laugh in your own chest.

In one word: breathe.

Keep harnessing this power: give your heart permission to break-open again and again and again, in order to expand in every direction.

4. Naturally Magical

By magical, I mean having the playful openness to experience, feel, see, and taste the impossible. To courageously attempt to replicate what exists beyond the ordinary, and we do it through our bodies, voices, expressions, words, stories, and our art.

In one word: create.

Keep harnessing this power: keep exploring your whole body. Keep using your hands. Keep feeling the beat of your heart. Don’t overlook what comes easy to you. Open up to what makes you shine.

5. Super Sexy

Yes. It’s true. Highly sensitive people are super sexy. Why? Mostly because they see through their hearts, love through their hands, and create with a hopeful light.

In three words: stop holding back.

Keep harnessing this power: give yourself permission to move, create and engage in life intuitively, and with your entire body, and all of your senses. Allow yourself to become enlivened and so very open.


I’m a highly sensitive person with grounded feet, a body of water, a heart of fire, and a head of hair full of wild wind.

I’m a highly sensitive person, and I’m learning to accept and fall deeply in love with all that means.

I hope that by being here, you’ll claim your highly sensitive nature, and start to unleash the power of YOU even more.

To your magic!

Previously published on Thug Unicorn by Tanya Markul here.

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"Scary beginnings, sad endings and all the meaningful stuff in between. I’m ready to detoxify, love-ify, sanctify, practice, apply and fulfil with a conscientious and diligent attitude—the padawan’s ageless steps for living an authentic life. Are you with me? A 3-part pre-rebellious protocol writing prompt—”write” now: - What would I do if I wasn’t afraid anymore? - How would my body feel if I woke up vulnerable and brave? - What does it mean to stop giving unnecessary f*cks?" —Tanya Markul of Thug Unicorn by Tanya Markul #thugunicornbytanyamarkul #howlforyourlife #liveauthentically Read more: @kayharr73 @ladypantzz @thugunicorn @dharmaunicorn


  1. All of this: YES!

    “A visit to your dragon will sooner or later become necessary.” HA! Absolutely.

    It’s always comforting to not feel like the only one “I’d get super stressed out in large crowds or having too many things to do. I’d get super triggered by loud music or injustice or violence on television… and I’d either react strongly or I’d withdraw.”

    The outcomes are incredible when you finally begin to harness and unleash your sensory magic into this world.

    Thank you from the bottom of my sensitive heart!


  2. OMG. Yes. All of the above.

    I do feel it’s all a bit too much sometimes… and like you said so eloquently, after half a lifetime of surpressing that highly sensitive part of me, I am grateful to finally be stepping into it – with all the excitement and wobbles that come with it.

    • Tanya Markul

      Oooooooo — the excitement AND wobbles! We have to give ourselves permission to be messy and to claim our quirkiness in all its gorgeous colours. LOVING YOU HERE! Thank you for sharing! I see you! XOXO

  3. Thank you for this, Tanya. A timely tweet today. So nice to feel myself relax further into my empathicness by way of your reminder here that it is a powerfully gentle thing, and a gift.

  4. 63 years young here. Tears of gratitude stream down my face. For so long felt to odd for many. Over the last 6 years with the help of a wonderful Soul Sister, my courage, trust, boldness and clarity have come back. With that comes for me truth, protected, faith and understanding. Very proud of so many coming into themselves. Great appreciation for your work.

  5. Ooooo I love this part! “I’m a highly sensitive person with grounded feet, a body of water, a heart of fire, and a head of hair full of wild wind.” Yes yes YES!!!

  6. Karen Patterson

    Thank you It is wonderful to know that I am not alone. I have always felt things so deeply and it took me a long time to realise that others did not feel the same way. I am stepping into my wild, sensitive nature, embracing it more and more everyday. I am learning to trust in me. Thank you beautiful Tanya. Your words weave magic.

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