May 16, 2016

Learning to Love my Sensitive & Emotional Self.

melanie bernstein

“You are too sensitive.” “Quit being so emotional.” “Aren’t you acting a bit dramatic?”

Many of us grew up hearing these sorts of phrases, leaving us to conclude that having and expressing our feelings is a negative and shameful act.

Sadly, I spent most of my life not realizing what a gift this actually was. Instead, I would play along to the beat of the drum of those around me, not wanting to be hit with a comment about how inappropriate my feelings were, and thus never questioning what was behind those feelings or what might even be (gasp!) good about them!

However, after leaving the U.S. two years ago and moving to Costa Rica, I have met other travelers, wanderers and nomads, who not only accept me for my emotional self, but encourage more of it. They truly want me to be the “me-est” me I could be, which has allowed me to find that person I abandoned so many years ago.

Let me tell you—once you live a life where your true self (scars, vulnerability, darkness and all) is fully embraced by your community, it is hard to settle for anything else.

I returned to my home country two months ago, shocked that the pressure to conform to a societal norm is still very real and alive. This served as a constant reminder of how different I have become, and how I so desperately want others like me to experience the sort of acceptance I have come to regard as normal in my adopted home abroad.

For those of us who experience intense feelings and emotions, it’s so easy to judge ourselves for them—to have such hate for the strength of our sadness, anger and frustration. We wish that we could be more moderate, like so many people seem to be around us. What is vital to remember, however, is that for every inch of pain that we allow ourselves to feel, there is an equal inch added in the opposite direction. So, when we feel fulfillment, joy, creativity—it is on the same spectrum of complete intensity as the more challenging feelings.

This very realization and cultivation of such a gift is the driving force behind the spectacular life I have had thus far. In simply allowing my anger, frustration and sadness to come to light in healthy ways, my joy, passion and purpose have been allowed to roam free and have allowed my actions to become as dramatic as my emotions.

For example, I have been at the top of the corporate ladder and also a nomad in the jungle. I have been just as humbled meeting the President of the United States as I have been speaking with the homeless man who used to sell magazines outside of my local grocery store. I have rafted the most intense rapids in Africa, hiked volcanoes in Guatemala, rappelled from waterfalls in Costa Rica, and I have also spent days at a time in my house, watching movies or reading books because of the exhaustion that the dark side of my emotions can cause.

I am simply not moderate in any way, shape or form—and that is not a wrong way to be. It never was. And it is not wrong for you either, my friend.

We owe it to ourselves—and to the world—to be the truest versions of ourselves. If yours happens to come with extreme emotions, thank God for that each and every day.

Love and nurture that part of yourself, and then watch the magic happen.



Quit your Crying: The Blessing & Curse of Being a Highly Sensitive Person.


Author: Melanie Bernstein

Apprentice Editor: Pavita Singh/Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Author’s own

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Melanie Bernstein