I feel deep sadness when I see sad things, even if they’re only make-believe, on a screen.
Watching something bad happen to a child or an animal can be physically painful to me.
Being in the room with someone who is passive-aggressive makes me unbearably uncomfortable like there’s a ticking time bomb, and I’m holding it in my hand.
Loud noises scare me. My reaction to being startled is over the top. It seems dramatic, and to others, it probably is, but it’s my nervous system’s response.
Large crowds can make me feel intensely anxious like I’m being buried alive.
Harsh lighting pierces my eyes.
One stray hair in my shirt can drive me straight out of my mind.
The cars on the opposite side of the road feel way too close as they pass me sometimes.
When the person I am with is annoyed, I see and feel it. Same for when they are mad, sad, glad…
I can sense the pain someone is carrying below the surface and it makes me want to reach in and pull it out; to release them from it.
I never want to say anything that will make someone feel embarrassed, guilty, ashamed, or judged, even when I write, so I’m usually cautious with my words. I watch for the reaction, not for approval but as an act of care, ensuring that what I’ve said has landed in the way I intended. If it hasn’t, I will do what I can to fix that.
I get easily flustered walking into a large group of people, especially if they all look at me—too much attention coming at me, all at the same time.
Small talk can make me feel uneasy, and if I’m with someone who doesn’t carry any of the conversation, oh man, all of my senses kick into overdrive.
Feeling like I don’t have a choice in something triggers me in all sorts of ways that can range from paralyzing fear to explosive anger.
On the flip side,
I feel extremely happy witnessing happy events as if the happy event is happening to me too. Look at my face when something really good is happening to someone else, and you will see me beaming.
Simply observing acts of kindness invokes a deep sense of pride in me.
People coming together as a community will give me the chills.
There’s a strange beauty, for me, in a funeral procession. I feel a sense of sadness for the loss of life, but also a warmth, seeing all of those people come together to express their love for the departed.
The sights, sounds, smells, and feelings I experience in nature often bring me to tears.
I am highly sensitive, a trait I tried to hide for a long time. When you are the only sensitive in the bunch, you quickly learn not to show it. It presents as a weakness.
I’ll never forget going to the movies with my parents and my little brother to see E.T. I had just turned 6. At the end of the movie, when E.T. had to go back home, tears filled my whole self. I remember trying so very hard to contain those tears, but I couldn’t avoid the spillage. I hid my face as a few streamed down. I didn’t want anyone to see me crying. Why was I the only one that was crying? I felt alone and very embarrassed.
I became so good at hiding my sensitivity that I became insensitive in certain settings. I didn’t know how to protect myself and my energy, so I just shut down, as much as I could. Defense mechanisms and numbing agents took the place of healthy, energetic protection and boundaries.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered there are others like me, and there is actually a term– “Highly Sensitive Person” – HSP. Learning that my sensitive traits were not me having something wrong with me, and that others experience what I experience was life-altering. When you realize you are not the only one, you can start to accept those things about you that you thought were faults and start treating them like gifts.
I cry freely when I feel understood, even when it’s just me understanding myself a little bit more.
I use my empathy to help others feel supported and less alone.
I use my sensitivity to connect with others.
I put my sensitivity to work to help others help themselves.
I protect my energy so that it’s ready for me when I need it.
Without my sensitivity, I would not be able to do what I do.
Without my sensitivity, I would not be me.
I've come to recognize my sensitivity as the gift that it is.
Embrace what makes you feel different. Therein lies your gift to the world.
If you feel the need to hide it because you're the only one with it, spend some time making friends with it. Learn more about it.
Know that you are not alone. There are people who feel like you do and experience things as you do. Find them. Seek them out. One of the benefits of our hyperconnected world is finding your people, no matter where they are. Your people (your soul family) will help you feel understood. They will help you realize the power of your uniqueness and then accept it. They will support you like no one else can. In turn, you get to support them too.
Stop hiding. Stop denying. Get to know yourself. Discover who you are. Take baby steps if you need to, but please take the steps.
Don't forget to be kind to yourself. It's not easy unbecoming so that you can become who you truly are.
Until next time…