I always knew I was emotionally sensitive, but it wasn’t until becoming a mom 10 years ago that I truly discovered my energetic sensitivities.
As I’ve deepened into this superpower and learned how to protect my energy, I’ve been attracting more and more sensitive souls into my psychotherapy practice.
In particular, I’ve noticed that many people who struggle with anxiety are also highly sensitive. The noise and energies of people around us signals a threat response in the brain that can lead to feelings of overwhelm, panic attacks, or even obsessive compulsive behaviour.
It doesn’t take much for the brain to make a connection to the location of the panic or overwhelm, which then leads to fear, avoidance, and, for many, depressive symptoms including isolation and limited motivation. For highly sensitive people or empaths, the ability to see, hear, or feel another can be both a blessing and a curse if not managed properly.
There are some things I’ve noticed as I’ve worked with and learned to mange my own sensitivity that I feel compelled to share to empower us to embrace our gifts and recognise just how much the world needs them.
Being sensitive in a world where we are taught to stuff or numb our pain is hard. Our open expression of emotion can be threatening to others, especially those who are disconnected from their feelings or are acting in ways that are harmful to their bodies or the environment.
Many of the young people I’ve worked with feel different. I did, too. This is so hard at a time when what we want more than anything is to fit in. Even as adults, we all crave belonging. But, I urge you not to deny the truth of who you are—this only causes more anxiety and the world needs you at your best, beautiful soul.
Our sensitive constitutions won’t let us ignore things like the tension in the room that signals unspoken conflict and disconnection, just as much as we couldn’t ignore a toxic substance like cigarette smoke in the air. No, like a canary in a coal mine, our intense moods and physical symptoms signal the danger others may not yet be able to perceive.
As I’m learning, we can be deeply affected by universal changes due to lunar cycles or the collective consciousness. We feel deeply wounded by unkind words or betrayals of trust because we can’t fathom intentionally hurting another. And so our hearts won’t let us tolerate injustice.
Now more than ever, our voice, our sensitivity is needed.
The quest for power is poisoning all environments. In our deep caring and respect for all, our message is one of collaboration, of mutual respect, and raising one another up, rather than competition, discrimination, and degradation.
I’ve noted that most of the young, sensitive souls I’ve met are more mature than their peers. They have strong values and express compassion for world issues. But we have to protect our bodies, minds, and spirits from assaults from the outside world and you may be surprised what can trigger your sensitive nervous system.
It was a shock for me to realize my brain was interpreting my young son’s high energy and noise as a threat. But the great news is the daily practices I have discovered not only help reset my nervous system, they also feel amazing and have awakened my creativity.
The pace of daily life is hectic and stressed. Our wise bodies crave slowness—activities and environments that bring peace, including mindfulness, meditation, soft music, essential oils, being in nature, and pure foods. I like to call these things “natural highs.”
A lot of healers also recommend salt lamps, homeopathic remedies, and smudging to help clear and calm our energy. While some people like to imagine they are in a protective bubble, I find the image of water washing over me as I sit with deeply wounded clients helps to keep me connected while it cleanses their pain, ensuring I do not become consumed by it.
After several years of going for Reiki treatments and doing chakra clearing videos, last year I honoured my desire to get attuned in Reiki and this has been a wonderful addition to my “coping toolbox.”
If you have been feeling different or embarrassed by being “too sensitive,” I want you to know you are not alone, and you are not crazy.
If you are trying to hide your tears, hang in there. Your difference is what makes you beautiful. Your tears are transformative. Your gifts can help others. As you learn to accept and celebrate yourself, you will find people just like you, as I have, from all over the world. We validate and support one another and by sharing our struggles. We see that we are more alike than different.
Instead of thinking something is wrong with me because of the intensity of my emotions, I have learned that my pain and physical manifestations are normal and make sense in the context of what’s happening in our physical and spiritual world.
There is not something wrong with us, but rather a lot of things wrong with this world that we live in. We need to guard our sensitive souls by offering ourselves compassion in times of sorrow, whether for our own struggles or the tragedies in the world.
Then we must remember that there is also so much beauty, so many acts of kindness, and opportunities for joy. We can collect and deepen into these experiences and share what is on our hearts, using whatever creative expression lights up our souls.
The world desperately needs your song, sweet canary.
Together we can change this world for the better.
Author: Nicole Schiener Manary
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren