Has anyone ever said that to you?
What about the following other statements?
“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
“You can never take a joke.”
“You’re so analytical.”
“You’re blowing this way out of proportion.”
I could go on, but I’m willing to bet that you said YES! at the very first statement. If these statements validate your reality as it pertains to the statements you’ve heard coming from friends or family about YOU, then welcome to the world of sensitivity. And I’m here to tell you…you are not alone!
This is and has been my world for as long as I can remember. From a child to a young girl I’ve seen and felt the world very intensely. Of course, I never knew until about 10 years ago, and I’m almost 60, that being sensitive is actually a “thing.” Like physiologically, emotionally, and biologically! I can’t tell you what a relief it was to find out that I was not “weird” or “flawed” in some way because I was “sensitive”.
I’ve tried to change how I was because it brought me troubles in my life, like being bullied as a kid, being thought of as weird or crazy by those I’m closest to, picking up every vibe when I walk into a room, especially the negative ones. It has caused me a lot of stress. But being sensitive is also what makes me able to write songs that touch people’s hearts, be artistic, and able to empathize with those who are hurting. Yet, I used to hate being sensitive, mainly because others rejected it until I realized that it was God who made me this way! For His purposes!
That is a wonderful thing! However, there are some pitfalls we need to watch out for, that are not God’s intent that being sensitive can open us up to. Of course, the remarks and judgments of others being the top one and then being someone who thinks and reasons so deeply that it’s hard to make a decision about things. We can get caught up in how we feel instead of using common sense at times. Feeling the actual hurts of others so deeply that you take on their pain. There are times when being around people actually hurts, for me. I lose sight of where I end and others begin, finding myself many times taking on the pains and heartaches of their lives. Not. Healthy. At. All.
I’m not saying having empathy is a bad thing, but when you start taking on the fears and hardships of another person, it can make you feel pretty crazy. The psychology world calls this “enmeshment.” I call it painful. I’ve had to learn to withdraw myself from people and situations that suck the life out of me where I find myself getting lost in that person or situation to the point of losing my peace.
Look at it this way, being sensitive is like being a sponge that someone throws into the ocean. I’m the sponge, the ocean is the world and life. You get the picture. I’m terrible at repelling things and setting strong boundaries for myself and my life and really great at leaning in and soaking up everything around me. But that’s not good for my soul or my relationships. I have to clarify, although many of these things do come from my sensitive personality, some were forged through traumatic conditioning and abuse. I never realized how deeply rooted these things were until about the last 10 years. It’s been a wild ride of discovery and pain, but very cleansing.
What I want to do in this post is to encourage my sensitive comrades out there and share a few things I’ve learned along the way to preserve my peace, my sense of self, and not compromise the truth of who I really am. So here we go!
- Discover/Self-awareness– Do some research about sensitivity and what it’s all about physiologically. You’ll be surprised how amazing you are!! Be a student who is constantly learning.
- Don’t buy into the judgments of others– I know there are times you just want to be like other people without all your sensitive quirks so you betray your own heart to fit in. Stop doing that! That’s why you feel so bad emotionally! Stop betraying yourself by believing what others say about you. You’re hurting yourself. Start to celebrate your gift of sensitivity. You were made like that on purpose and I talk about that in PART 2 of “You’re So Sensitive”. But stay here with me right now.
- Take a “time out”– Remove yourself from negative people and environments. That’s a challenge if those people and environments are where you live and work, but you have to make a pact with yourself to preserve your peace and sometimes that means taking a stand for it. No payoff, no matter what it is, is worth putting yourself in an environment that berates and invalidates you. You have to believe that you are necessary in this world even if others treat you to the contrary.
- Manage your expectations of others– Listen, all of us place mega expectations on each other that we can never meet, and then we wind up disappointed and filled with negative emotions. There are going to be people who don’t get you. Period. Stop trying to explain your motives or your feelings to people who may not see things like you. Or maybe they don’t even want to. There’s nothing wrong with you or them in either case. The world does not revolve around you and you have to give people permission to be who they are, which is no more or less than who you are.
- Extend grace…to others and yourself- Sensitive people can live in a very small world…their own! We have a tendency to think everyone is against us because they don’t understand us. But we’ve got to give people a break. Not everyone is like you! For years I took for granted that generally, all people think alike. Basic, general things are understood by all people. And although I still think that should be the case, it’s not. And we have to extend grace to people to be who they are and adjust your boundaries accordingly. While you’re at it, extend that same grace to yourself!
- You don’t need permission– So much of my life has been in search of the permission of others to be myself. I believe the reason for that was because I was so unsure of myself that I needed someone else to carry the responsibility. So, I would give my power to them. Wrong answer. This is such self-centered thinking. Take responsibility and stand in your power!
- Don’t take it personally-How others treat you is more about them than you. Don’t take it personally. As sensitive people, that is our go-to because….again we think the world is all about us. But, listen, when you learn to deflect comments and not take them personally, you really begin to walk in a new place of freedom and peace. Not only within yourself but with others too. Even those making the comments. 🙂
These are just a few of the ways that help me walk in peace. They may be different for you. These are the ones that the Holy Spirit revealed to me. Ask Him and He will help you walk the path He’s laid out for you.
In PART 2 of “You’re So Sensitive“, I’m going to elaborate on point #2 above about how your sensitivity is something God placed in you, on purpose and it will also help you to value yourself and how He’s made you!
Let Christ be glorified in all!
I hope you’ve been encouraged today. Please feel free to share this post on your social media platforms. Especially if it resonates with you or you know someone who will be blessed by it.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Artwork courtesy of Canva.com. Photos courtesy of Unslash.com