Actors are often thought of as confident, outgoing people. However, many actors are actually highly sensitive. Being highly sensitive means that you are easily overwhelmed by stimuli and you feel things deeply. This can be both a blessing and a curse for actors. On one hand, it allows them to connect with their characters and understand them on a deep level. On the other hand, it can make them very emotional and vulnerable.
What is a highly sensitive person?
You may have seen the term “highly sensitive person” (HSP) thrown around a lot lately. But what does it actually mean to be a highly sensitive person?
Simply put, a highly sensitive person is someone who is more affected by environmental stimuli than the average person. This can include things like bright lights, loud noises and strong smells. Highly sensitive people are also more prone to feeling overwhelmed by too much stimulation or information.
So why are some people more sensitive than others? It turns out that it may be largely due to genetics. A study published found that about 20% of the population has a gene that makes them more sensitive to their environment. Read Dr. Elaine Aron’s thoughts HERE. To learn more, you can purchase Dr. Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.
[Dr. Elaine Aron is a clinical psychologist who has written extensively on the topic of high sensitivity. She is considered an expert on the subject and has helped to create a better understanding of what it means to be a highly sensitive person. Dr. Aron has also written about the importance of self-care for HSPs and how they can learn to thrive in a world that isn’t always designed for them.]
Does being a highly sensitive person mean you’re weak or fragile?
No, being a highly sensitive person does not make you weak. In fact, HSPs are often quite strong and resilient people. They just have a different way of processing the world around them.
HSPs are more in tune with their emotions and the emotions of others. This can make them seem more vulnerable than other people, but it also allows them to be more compassionate and understanding. HSPs are often good at reading people and picking up on subtleties that others might miss.
While HSPs might not be as thick-skinned as some people, they usually have a deep well of inner strength to draw from. Many HSPs are successful actors, artists and writers because they can tap into their emotions so easily.
Actors who say they are highly sensitive
Some of the most successful actors say they are HSP, including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Viola Davis. They have all spoken about how their sensitivity has helped them in their careers. Lawrence has said that she uses her sensitivity to connect with her characters, while Streep has said that it gives her a greater understanding of human nature.
Despite the advantages that being an HSP can bring to an actor’s career, there are also some challenges.
Challenges for actors who are HSP
The challenges of being a highly sensitive actor are mainly due to the emotional intensity that is required for many roles. This can be extremely draining for HSP’s, who often have trouble “turning off” their emotions after a performance. Additionally, HSP’s are often very introspective and self-critical, which can make it difficult to maintain the positive attitude and energy level required for success in the entertainment industry.
It can be hard for actors to turn off their emotions after a performance because they are so in the moment during the show. For some, it’s like a high that they come down from and can be hard to adjust to the everyday world. It can be especially hard for those who are highly sensitive persons as they tend to feel things more deeply. They may need some time to decompress and process all of the emotions they felt during the performance.
Characters who are highly sensitive
Now here’s something interesting! What is it like to PLAY a highly sensitive character?
Some famous film and television characters who are highly sensitive people include Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, Monica Geller from Friends and Temperance Brennan from Bones. These characters are all portrayed as intelligent and successful, but they also have a deep emotional side that is sometimes hidden from the world.
Some other HSP characters include Eleven from Stranger Things and Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.
Whether it’s the girl-next-door or the tough guy, Hollywood actors have a way of making us believe they are the characters they portray on the big screen. But what happens when an actor is tasked with playing a highly sensitive person?
Take for example, Jennifer Lawrence — in the movie Silver Linings Playbook, she plays Tiffany, a young widow who is dealing with her husband’s death. While Lawrence is not a widow in real life, she did an amazing job of portraying a highly sensitive character.
Or how about Ryan Gosling in The Notebook? He plays Noah, a man who is deeply in love with Allie (played by Rachel McAdams). While Gosling is no stranger to playing romantic roles, he did an exceptional job of portraying a highly sensitive character.
It is clear that being a highly sensitive person has its advantages and disadvantages. However, it seems that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for actors. They are able to use their sensitivity to their advantage by accessing emotions more easily and being able to understand the subtleties of human behavior. This allows them to create richer and more believable performances. So, if you’re an aspiring actor who is highly sensitive, don’t be discouraged — your sensitivity might just be your biggest asset.
Extra Reading on How Do You Recognize an HSP?
Comments: DirectSubmit / NYCastings