“And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weak or broken. But to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the characteristic of a truly alive and compassionate human being. It is not the sensitive person who is broken, it is society’s understanding that has become dysfunctional and emotionally incapacitated. There is zero shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being ‘too emotional’ or ‘complicated’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more thoughtful, caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your feelings, smiles and tears shine a light in this world.
Of course, that’s easier said than done, because it can be so confusing, right? … Why you get overwhelmed by run-of-the-mill tasks that others take in stride. Why you mull over slights that ought to be forgotten. Why subtleties are magnified for you and yet lost on others.
It’s like you were born missing a protective layer of skin that others seem to have.
You try to hide it. Numb it. Tune it out. But the comments still pierce your armor: “You’re overthinking things. You’re too sensitive. Toughen up!”
You’re left wondering what on earth is wrong with you.
I know, because I was in my mid-40s when I stumbled across the term ‘highly sensitive people.’ This led me to discover how delicious it feels to be one of thousands saying, “You do that? Me too!”
Since then, I’ve learned that many sensitive people feel isolated from others. They feel misunderstood and different, and they usually don’t know why. They just don’t realize that they have a simple trait that explains their confusing array of symptoms and quirks.
There’s even a scientific term for it: Sensory Processing Sensitivity. Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychotherapist and researcher, estimates that 15-20% of people have nervous systems that process stimuli intensely. They think deeply. They feel deeply (physically and emotionally). They easily become over-stimulated.
According to my research several successful historical figures were highly sensitive, such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, and Steve Jobs. I see this as great news, because it means us sensitive types aren’t inherently disadvantaged.
But when we don’t realize how to handle our sensitivity, we end up pushing too hard to keep up with everyone else. We try to do what others seem to handle with ease, and try to do it better than them. And this leads to problems.
For a time, we do a first-rate job of using our natural gifts: we’re creative students, conscientious employees, and devoted family members. But when we hammer on beyond our limits, doing so can eventually take its toll. It shows up in things like unrelenting health conditions, muscle tension we can’t get rid of, and being endlessly fatigued or on edge for no good reason.
If you resonate with any of this, here are 10 actions you can take to stop struggling and start thriving:
1. Quit searching for someone or something to fix you.
Sensitivity is a temperament trait, not a medical disorder. So nothing is inherently [Read more…]