Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) are individuals who possess a unique set of personality traits, including sensitivity to stimuli, heightened empathy, and emotional reactivity. Because of their sensitive nature, HSPs are more prone to experiencing emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, many HSPs have had troubled pasts, which can exacerbate these negative emotions. However, one tool that HSPs can use to reframe their past and reduce their emotional distress is self-compassion.

Read on to discover the role of self-compassion for HSPs and how to harness this to heal from a troubled and traumatic past.

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is the practice of treating oneself with the same kindness, concern, and support that one would offer a good friend. Self-compassion involves three key elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness involves treating oneself with warmth and care, rather than harsh criticism and self-judgment. Common humanity involves recognizing that suffering and challenges are a universal part of the human experience, rather than feeling isolated and alone in one’s suffering. Finally, mindfulness involves observing one’s thoughts and emotions with openness and non-judgment, rather than becoming overwhelmed or consumed by them.

How Self-Compassion Can Help HSPs Reframe Their Past

HSPs may struggle with self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy due to their sensitive nature and past experiences. However, by practicing self-compassion, HSPs can reframe their past in a more positive light and reduce their emotional distress. Here are some ways in which self-compassion can help HSPs reframe their past:


HSPs are often their own harshest critics, and may blame themselves for past mistakes or traumatic experiences. By practicing self-kindness, HSPs can learn to treat themselves with warmth and care, and to recognize that they are not defined by their past. For example, instead of beating oneself up for a past mistake, an HSP might acknowledge the mistake, offer oneself words of encouragement and forgiveness, and focus on the lessons learned from the experience.

Common Humanity

HSPs may feel isolated and alone in their suffering, and may believe that others cannot relate to their experiences. By practicing common humanity, HSPs can recognize that others have gone through similar challenges and that they are not alone. For example, a HSP who has experienced childhood trauma might seek out support from others who have gone through similar experiences, or might read about the experiences of others to gain a broader perspective on their own.


HSPs may become overwhelmed by their emotions and thoughts, and may struggle to cope with past traumas or negative experiences. By practicing mindfulness, HSPs can learn to observe their thoughts and emotions with openness and non-judgment, and to develop a greater sense of self-awareness. For example, a HSP might practice mindfulness meditation to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, or might keep a journal to track their emotional patterns and triggers.


Self-compassion is a powerful tool that can help HSPs reframe their past and reduce their emotional distress. By practicing self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness, HSPs can learn to treat themselves with the same kindness and care that they offer to others, and to see their past experiences in a more positive light. 

If you are an HSP who has struggled with negative emotions or a troubled past, consider incorporating self-compassion into your daily routine. With practice and patience, you can learn to reframe your past and find greater peace and acceptance in the present.

Do you want to understand more about the sensitive personality type? Riverbend Life Strategies is here to help you navigate the world through the eyes of sensitive souls. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment!