I have always wanted to be a strong woman.
To me that meant no crying, no taking things personally and absolutely no being called “emotional” or “sensitive.”
So you can imagine my outrage during a recent argument when I burst into tears and my boyfriend reacted by saying, “Why are you crying? There is no reason to be crying. Stop being so sensitive.”
Stop being so sensitive? Excuse me?!
I was SO ANGRY.
I know I’m making him sound like a monster but he isn’t, not at all. We are just so completely different.
It turns out that I am a sensitive person. I take almost everything personally and I cry – A LOT. Seriously, like at least once or twice a week.
If I’m tired…I cry.
If I’m hungry…I cry.
If I’m stressed….I cry.
If I miss my family…I cry.
And if I’m really happy…I cry.
I used to hate these things about myself but I’m slowly coming to see that sensitivity enhances my life and is an integral part of who I am.
There are two aspects of being sensitive that I’d like to talk to you about today: heightened emotions and taking this to heart. Each of these can feel like a crippling defect in us but is actually part of what makes sensitive women so amazing.
Heightened Emotions – Good or Bad?
I’m pretty sure that crying all the time is a sign that I experience heightened emotions.
At first glance, this definitely seems like a bad trait right? I mean, who wants to be described as “emotional”? You might as well say, “Oh her, she’s really weak.”
At least that’s how I used to think. I have two older brothers and growing up I wanted to be one of the boys so emotions were not allowed. Crying even less so.
But guess what? As a sensitive woman if I didn’t feel sadness, stress or anger to the degree that I do, I also would not be able to love as passionately as I do; I might not be as loyal to my family and friends.
As sensitive women we experience all emotions to a greater degree than our less sensitive peers and that includes happiness and love. So maybe it’s time to embrace your sensitivity because it’s what makes you such a bright, loving person.
Taking Everything to Heart
I know that a lot of people think of this as a negative. We are constantly told, “Don’t take it so personally” or “It’s not about you, just ignore it.”
My biggest struggle with this was when I moved in with my boyfriend and began to build relationships with his young children. Deep down I knew that anything they said or did was not directed at me personally but at who I was in their lives; they weren’t speaking to Aileen they were speaking to Daddy’s new girlfriend.
Two completely different things…except it didn’t feel that way.
Many sensitive women can identify with this dynamic and most, like me, berate themselves for their sensitivity.
We agree with everybody that’s telling us not to take it personally but we just can seem to do it.
So. Bloody. Frustrating.
But guess what? That annoying little trait of ours – taking everything to heart – that’s what makes us such wonderful daughters, sisters, mothers and wives.
We are uniquely tuned into other people’s emotions. Have you every struggled because you’ve invited two people out for dinner and there’s a third person in the mix who you want to invite because you don’t want her to feel left out but she doesn’t necessarily get on with the rest of the group?
That anxiety you’re feeling over the whole situation, that’s your sensitivity at work. As sensitive people we are keenly aware of our own emotions and therefore more considerate of those around us.
That is not a bad thing! Frustrating sometimes, but definitely something to be proud of.
Sensitivity: good or bad?
As you can see I’m coming around to the fact that sensitivity might not be a bad thing after all.
If sensitivity is what allows me to care for those around me, love passionately and feel happiness this intensely then I’ll take the tears, the snide remarks and the odd shouting match with my partner. To me, that’s a small price to pay for being myself.
What do you think?
Until next time,
P.S. If you enjoyed this article, check out Brené Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability. You’ll love it!