A number of years ago, I was seeing a therapist who would regularly bring up the fact that I was sensitive. Every time she said it, I would squirm because it sounded like she was insulting me and calling me weak.
Needless to say, if there was anything I didn’t want to be called, it was sensitive.
Girl poets who put their heads in ovens were sensitive. Boys who cried on the playground were sensitive. People who didn’t speak up for themselves, who wouldn’t pursue their dreams and who couldn’t succeed were sensitive. And that wasn’t me.
Over time, however, I grew to love my sensitivity and regard it as a gift rather than a liability. Along the way, I also transformed my entire notion of what it means to be a sensitive person in an insensitive world. I discovered that when we try to hide our sensitivity and function like other people (the “insensitives”?) our best results often DO end up flawed and, as our constitutions wear down from neglect, we often DO end up weak (or addicted or depressed).
But, I also learned that when we embrace sensitivity as a precious gift and the source of our greatest contributions, we can surprise ourselves with who we really are and carve out a powerful existence based on our true selves and our authentic strengths.
If you are a person who has ever been called oversensitive or has thought that about yourself, consider looking at the term differently from now on – not as an insult but as a clue to your deeper nature – and try asking yourself some questions:
- If you spent more time alone and less time forcing yourself to be social, what would happen and how would you feel?
- If you stopped trying to be like other people and surrendered to being exactly who you are, who would you be?
- What if the thoughts and images of your imagination were projected outside yourself? What if you shared your experience of the world? What would be possible? Not just for yourself but for others?
- And lastly, what if you cherished your sensitivity and designed a life to nurture and care for it? What then?