We are the loners.
We are the feelers.
We live deeper than the surface. We can’t help it. From an early age, maybe even from birth, we noticed everything—every sound, every glance, every change in tone, every shift in energy.
Imagine that, if you are not a Feeler. Imagine feeling every. Single. Shift. In. Energy.
All. Of. The. Time.
The energy changes. Like, when my parents fought. When the kids in school were cruel because I came back to sixth grade chubby. When my grandpa died. When my boyfriend cheated.
Push. Pull. Up. Down. Fill. Drain.
Everyone feels—of course! We are all human. I am referring to those of us who need to almost constantly recharge from basic human interaction. A night out dancing at the bar is fun, sure, but is followed by a day of intense alone time, because too many people talked to you, who had too many feelings, and instead of filling you up, they sucked you dry.
Instead of getting a rush or a sense of fulfillment from interacting with people, we often feel like part of our energy or essence has been sapped, and the only remedy is time alone, or with someone very close to us, who does not tap that energy.
Ask yourself this: when you break up with someone, do you want to stay home alone or with one or two close friends, or do you want to go out and party, lose yourself in a crowd? I am, and am talking to, the first group. I have spent my life wishing to be, and usually dating, the second group.
Oh, how I envy that second group.
Of course there is overlap. Some traits carry over. But these are the things I have found to be true of the Feelers.
We are extremely sensitive to noise. I have slept with ear plugs for almost a decade, which is always fun (and sexy!) to explain to new men. I shared an office with my aunt once, a fellow Feeler and general Over-Sensitive. I was about 30 seconds into my crunchy Wasabi peas before I realized she was about to punch me in the face.
But it’s true. I wake up when the heat comes on. My hearing sensitivity borders on echolocation. I know people who can’t stand other’s chewing, nail tapping, insert vaguely annoying habit here. Be kind to them. Imagine a drop of water hitting the center of your forehead, every six seconds, for 10 hours. That is what our sensitivity feels like.
We are deeply empathic. I don’t just mean we feel sympathy for people when their girlfriends break up with them, or compassion for hurricane victims in Southeast Asia—everyone feels that. Again, human. We actually feel the emotions of the people around us. So, when we are heartbroken and crying with a Feeler, trust that they are likely truly feeling your heartbreak. When we are nervous wrecks and venting, our Feeler friend is a nervous wreck with us. This is why it is often draining for us to spend a lot of time with others:
It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s that we need to make sure we can love you the way you deserve, with a full reserve.
We have strong intuitions. That means different things for different people. For some, it may mean strong gut feelings—hunches, or “just a feeling” we have that something is right or wrong. Some people are incredibly in tune with the people around them, and can gauge moods with startling accuracy. Some people can know things are going to happen with varying levels of clarity—not quite precognitive, but again, “have feelings.” Still others, our energy workers, channel energy through their bodies, their hands.
We’re criers. We cry when we are sad. We cry when we are confused. We cry when we are angry, which is extremely frustrating and unfair. Imagine being so mad that it is exploding outward, except instead of an eloquent and enraged speech about feeling wronged, it is a tearful, hiccuping mess that portrays the speaker as an angry child, despite the articulation attempted. When this is used against us, it is a guarantee that we will never trust that person again—we are vulnerable. We don’t necessarily like it. But it’s how we’re wired.
We want to know why. Why are things this way? Why are these the rules? Why do we treat these people this way, and these people this other way? Who decided these rules? Why aren’t they different? Why don’t we make them different? How do we start? We need to figure it out—and if we can’t, we will get to the bottom of whatever it is.
We know that the system is broken. Which system? All of them. The political system. Healthcare. Education. Senior care. The DMV. The DOT. Social welfare. Pick a system. It doesn’t work. Usually because someone is being taken advantage of, whether through bureaucracy, red tape, greed, or plain ole political nonsense.
We are outraged. We have a burning desire to change the world, to make it better. We want to make our voices heard. We are teachers, social workers, counselors, writers, nurses, huggers, lovers.
We are the creative. We feel pain, beauty, loss, anguish, joy, and everything in between, in the extreme. We see the world, in its glory and in its grief. And we make the world—from deep beneath the surface, we work to make it a little better, a little brighter, one feeling at a time.
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Photo: Inner Discomfort, courtesy of elephant archives