Posted in Life Lessons

On Sensitivity

For years, I have hoped I was just a late bloomer when it came to the development of objectivity; for a realistic viewpoint of the world and its suffering that would not break my heart. All sorts of heartbreak: abandonment, violence, exclusion, bring me to tears. I have long wished that I could live like everyone else seems to: observing with a more realistic perspective without the emotional burden I carry around. You know, seeing life as “it is what it is,” without the urge to cry all the damn time.

I’ve wished to be just like everyone who appears to walk through life without constant tears in her eyes caused by witnessing things I cannot change.

But that’s just not me. As the Elephant Journal usually does, this essay spoke to me and helped me embrace my sensitivity: Understanding the Sensitive Heart {go ahead and read it… it will open in a new window and you can just pop right back over here}.

When hurt, my heart bleeds black and blue and I can feel your bruises too. I can hear emotions hiding in the shadow of false bravado. I can see when eyes truly twinkle or blink back a tear.

It’s exhausting to feel all of the time, so I am hanging out in low gear. It is a space above an imaginary watermark. It’s not an easy place to be.

So yeah, I feel all of the sad things. I feel more than enough for me, so I’ll go ahead and feel for you too. I have feelings I usually can’t identify, but they no less cause tears to come to my eyes. I want to help everyone who hurts. My heart belongs to the mistreated. Abandonment puts my heart in a vice – just listen to me talk about the grateful eyes of the dogs I have saved and fostered.

But I’m finally starting to understand that all of those feelings that I thought separated me from the world, really keep me connected to others and connected to myself. It is not something I can control or desensitize. Sensitivity comes at a cost. A sad story on Facebook about an abused dog can cause me to lose 30 minutes in the morning to sobbing and mopping up my face before work. I fear loss because of the time it takes to recover. I worry that my emotions aren’t strong enough to stand up for me in difficult relationships and situations, so I avoid conflict at pretty much every single opportunity.

Because I feel so deeply myself, others’ emotions are easier to see too. The shame on the face of the homeless. The vacancy of the lonely. The celebration of a professional success. The pride of small braveries. I guess now, my sensitivity is not something I so much want to smother, but instead harness in order to honor the feelings of others’ and my own.

The truly great thing about sensitivity that at some times can be emotionally paralyzing is that you also feel all of the joyful things just as deeply as all of the sad things. And that is my gold.

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Oh yeah, and I joined Bloglovin’ today! So… you know: follow my blog with Bloglovin

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