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On Being Sensitive (Hint: It's a Good Thing)
Once upon a not that long ago it was easy to take me down in any argument — no matter how impassioned I was, no matter how firmly I believed to be right. One sentence, one fell swoop: “you’re being too sensitive.”
I saw it as my burden, my cross to bear, if you’ll excuse the dramatics. I knew it to be true and that was why it stung so much. For most of my life I associated the mere word “sensitive” with weakness, with being a crybaby, with being a brat. It was embarrassing. I was ashamed to have any association with it as I grew into a shy, withdrawn adolescent and then even still into adulthood.
Now I know that not to be true. Or rather, for that not to be where it ends with being sensitive in nature. That is such a small facet of it — and a negative viewpoint to take of that small facet, at that. Now I know that the quality of being sensitive extends to much more dynamic channels: being thoughtful, artistic, and intuitive, to name a few. It took a lot of reflection and observation for me to understand in full what it meant to be sensitive and for me to be okay with it.
By the way, if you’re wondering at all: Yes, my difficulty handling the S-word totally made things that much harder for myself. Upon hearing the word “sensitive” to describe me in any context used to be a hot button trigger that launched me from a calm state of being to utter shock and outrage. “Case in point!” they’d cry when I’d wheel around in near-hysterics, “AM NOT!” I’m exaggerating. Slightly.
It took literally years for me to be okay with being associated with that idea. To accept that being sensitive to the world around me helps further my career as an artist; it is an enhanced way of experiencing life, and it’s awesome. Hearing words of support from fellow tender-hearted creatures like HelloGiggles writer Amelia Olson have also helped immensely:
Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy-washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all–look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.
Thank you, Amelia. And yet, I still get kicked in the teeth with cheap shots like, “she’s just really sensitive,” in cases when other behavior calls for a scapegoat. Sure, I may be responding sensitively to a situation, but that doesn’t excuse others’ rude behavior. But it isn’t seen that way. Sensitivity is an easy excuse. It’s an easy target for blame and all but completely washes everyone else’s hands clean from responsibility. I am tired of it. I hear it constantly, too, about various people. A person is too emotional, too fragile — “it’s her fault for being so sensitive,” no, it’s your fault for being so careless. Quit the blame-placing. Take some ownership for your actions.
What’s sort of twisted, sort of funny is the tender-hearted kids are generally much tougher than they let on, too. It’s true. That heightened awareness to the world around them isn’t a hindrance, it’s an enrichment.
I know there are people out there who are put down all of the time for being sensitive, emotional, careful, cautious… I sincerely hope these words reach that audience. To these like-minded humans: you are awesome. Yes, you are sensitive. Own it. You’re probably super intuitive and mindful and a great gift-giver. I say that lightheartedly, but there is definitely truth behind it. Please continue to be as acutely aware of situations, others and their feelings as you so wish.
Please don’t let the critique of angry people dull that part of you. Like Olson put it: “Don’t let someone steal your tenderness.” For crying out loud, the world needs sensitive people to help keep the world from being so rotten. Don’t back down, your awareness and your care is of utmost value.
Image via Yarruta at Dreamstime.
#Real #LunaLuna #RenéeAubern #HelloGiggles #AmeliaOlson #FeelingSensitive? #FeelTheFeels #SensitivePeopleNeedApply
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