How many times have you heard some one say this about you? Makes me grind my teeth because they are using it as a putdown and dismissing what I am saying. I call BALDERDASH on that!!!!!! Funny, when it is turned on them, that is a whole different story. What is actually meant is “You silly woman, you are too emotional and get your feelings hurt too easily”. I finally have a comeback – “You say that as if it a bad thing. You’re too insensitive!” They have the wrong end of the stick about what sensitive truly means.
I checked the dictionary first to see what different ones said:
Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses; Aware of or careful about the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others; thoughtful, kind, understanding, feeling, kindly, concerned, patient, responsive, intuitive, receptive, attentive, perceptive, considerate, tactful, unselfish. There is also getting ones feelings hurt easily as well as easily offended. Plus one held to be endowed with psychic or occult powers.
I’d say the world has “got it wrong” in many ways. There are also Highly Sensitive People (HSP) and a good source is Psychologist Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person. I am one myself and it was a relief to find out I am. I just thought I was weird, part of marching to a different drummer and not fitting into society. I always felt oddment out.
I have also learned that sensitive can be part of feeling vibrations, spirits and sometimes, just knowing and feeling things. A friend of mine said she was about to go into a place and she knew and felt it wasn’t a good idea to go in. She may not have been able to say specifically why, only that it was very uncomfortable. She has learned to pay attention.
I realize now how important it is to understand being sensitive in a positive way. There are movies he watches and I can no longer sit and watch with him. He just finished 2 books about fighting in the Philippines and also in Korea – many times he wanted to tell me about it but I didn’t want to know. it would stay with me forever.
And yes, I do cry easily – at happy and sad movies, just for pure joy when I experience it and so many other things. What bugs me about it is that when I am mad, I start to cry and lose any credibility. I can also see both sides of a situation, not always handy when I was a Better Business Bureau mediator. It is hard to choose one side over the other, facts don’t always tell the story.
There are gifts to being sensitive – according to Therese J. Borchard.
1. Sensory detail
One of the prominent “virtues” of high sensitivity is the richness of sensory detail that life provides. The subtle shades of texture in clothing, and foods when cooking, the sounds of music or even traffic or people talking, fragrances and colors of nature. All of these may be more intense for highly sensitive people.
2. Nuances in meaning
The trait of high sensitivity also includes a strong tendency to be aware of nuances in meaning, and to be more cautious about taking action, and to more carefully consider options and possible outcomes.
3. Emotional awareness
We also tend to be more aware of our inner emotional states, which can make for richer and more profound creative work as writers, musicians, actors or other artists.
A greater response to pain, discomfort, and physical experience can mean sensitive people have the potential, at least, to take better care of their health.
Psychologist Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, estimates about twenty percent of people are highly sensitive, and seventy percent of those are introverted, which is a trait that can also encourage creativity.
As examples, there are many actors who say they are shy, and director Kathryn Bigelow, who recently won an Academy Award, has said, “I’m kind of very shy by nature.” The star of her movie The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner (who was reportedly shy as a child), has commented that “in social situations she can be painfully shy.”
5. Greater empathy
High sensitivity to other people’s emotions can be a powerful asset for teachers, managers, therapists and others.
There are also down sides to being sensitive –
1. Easily overwhelmed, overstimulated
The biggest challenge in high sensitivity is probably being vulnerable to sensory or emotional overwhelm. Taking in and processing so much information from both inner and outer worlds can be “too much” at times and result in more pain, fatigue, stress, anxiety and other reactions.
An intriguing neuroscience research study said people with nervous systems having decreased latent inhibition are more open to incoming stimuli. Which can be a good thing, or not so good.
2. Affected by emotions of others
Another aspect of sensitivity can be reacting to the emotions — and perhaps thoughts — of others. Being in the vicinity of angry people, for example, can be more distressing.
As actor Scarlett Johansson once put it, “Sometimes that awareness is good, and sometimes I wish I wasn’t so sensitive.”
3. Need lots of space and time to ourselves
We may need to “retreat” and emotionally “refresh” ourselves at times that are not always best for our goals or personal growth. For example, being at a professional development conference, it may not be the most helpful thing to leave a long presentation or workshop in order to recuperate from the emotional intensity of the crowd.
4. Unhealthy perfectionism
There can also be qualities of thinking or analyzing that lead to unhealthy perfectionism, or stressful responses to objects, people or situations that are “too much” or “wrong” for our sensitivities.
5. Living out of sync with our culture
Living in a culture that devalues sensitivity and introversion as much as the U.S. means there are many pressures to be “normal” — meaning extroverted, sociable and outgoing.
As with anything, there are gifts and drawbacks to being sensitive, whether one is highly sensitive or sensitive to things and people around you. What is important is being able to recognize what pushes your buttons of your sensitivity and knowing how to deal with it. So the next time someone says you are too sensitive – meaning getting your feelings hurt to easily – can use my answers or create your own. I would enjoy hearing about other answers to that crappy comment so we can educate the rest of the population. Being sensitive doesn’t mean you are weak; more the opposite, because you know yourself and it makes you strong!