For the better part of my life, I refused to be classified as highly sensitive.
I thought oversensitivity is an undesirable trait, because almost everyone made it seem as if it’s wrong. My emotional reactions appear to be constantly followed by “you’re too sensitive” or “it’s not a big deal.”
And I used to believe those people.
Regardless the intensity or the simplicity of the problem, I often choose to brush it under the rug. They’re right—I might be too sensitive, after all, and I shouldn’t be.
With age comes wisdom—thank goodness. Not long ago, I stopped believing what other people tell me and started shaping my own opinions on myself. The transition has been arduous but miraculous, needless to say.
As I’m learning more about myself, I’ve come to realize that yes, I’m highly sensitive.
Oftentimes, I take things personally. I’m easily and deeply hurt. Death impedes my joy, whether it’s in a book or in real life. I profoundly feel things and people around me—when others hurt, I hurt and when they glow, I glow. A criticism sits within me for days and a compliment for weeks.
I worry—sometimes too much.
I cry unreasonably—sometimes a little.
I feel problems before they approach my doorstep. I sense the earth itself on my chest when a loved one is in pain. Every so often, I wonder what to do with all the emotions inside me. I give the bulk of them to others and learn to live with the rest.
This is who I am.
Looking at my own naked self, I wonder why I haven’t accepted my oversensitivity before. I’m not the only one who has difficulty dealing with her emotional sensory. There are countless people out there who still take blame for their oversensitivity. Many of us struggle to identify this trait as common, beautiful, powerful.
And I’m not talking here about being excessively dramatic, making scenes, or having negative perspectives. I’m referring to pure sensitivity. I’m calling attention to heightened emotions that others might fail to process. I’m shedding light on the people who act rude or distant only because they’re scared to unleash their oversensitivity.
Being a highly sensitive person is not problematic. However, the way that the world addresses it is the real issue.
Why do we badly handle people with high emotions? Why do we accuse them of making a big deal out of things? How come we label their feelings as inappropriate or wrong?
Perceiving the world differently is a blessing. I know now that my highly driven emotions play a massive part in my experiences. I don’t need to keep them at bay or pretend I don’t have them. Nevertheless, I do need those around me to understand how I operate.
We all want to be understood. We want better ways of communication. More thoughtful ways of approaching our concerns, tears, and worries. We need validation, love, patience.
My feelings are a fire, and I don’t wish anyone to put it out. All I seek is someone to sit around it, feel it, observe it. This is how oversensitive people bloom.
Next time you’re faced with a highly sensitive person, think of ways to support their sentiments. Even if we’re part of the problem, we must remember to not push their reactions to the bottom. Aim for communication and understanding.
Sensitivity is not an issue to fix. It’s not a flawed trait. It’s who we are. It’s what keeps us going and in touch with everyone and everything. Oversensitivity is empathy. It’s depth, innocence, passion.
Accept who you are, appreciate it, and celebrate it, as I’m doing right now.