“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a ‘hot mess’ or having ‘too many issues’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”
― Anthon St. Maarten
I have been told 4 or 5 times this year that I take things too personally. This at a time when I am attempting to communicate with someone how their words or actions have affected me. I remember being told as a child ‘the trouble with you is that you are too sensitive’. I think I learned quickly to shut down my feelings and say nothing. I did that for over 40 years and in the last decade I have invested a great deal of money and time in learning how to re-discover, validate and trust my feelings and now they are very precious to me. I was still not talking about them, but using them as a silent guidepost to daily living. At the beginning of this year, I realized that my next step was to speak up about things that are important to me. By remaining quiet I was withholding myself and if I really wanted to have closer relationships with others, I had to be more honest and authentic in speaking my truth. Since I made this decision, these comments have been coming my way. The universe is encouraging me to stand my ground and heal the old wounds from the past. I realized that since my childhood I have carried a certain shame around my feelings and ideas. Now is the time to be more fully who I am.
Those who believe and say that we are ‘too sensitive’ are really saying they are uncomfortable with feelings and do not want the relationship to be on that level. Without realizing it, they are also saying ‘I want to be free to live my life the way I want to and if that affects you in some way, you are being too sensitive and should not take it personally’. That gives them liberty to do whatever they please while others are expected to remain quiet and unaffected? Their thinking however is a fallacy, because every thought and action we put out into the universe affects other people. We are not islands in the sea but intricately connected to everybody in our lives. Whatever we think and do has a ripple effect throughout the universe.
This is what I have learned and know firsthand about feelings:
- They are our guiding star. They are our compass and lead us to people and situations that enhance our lives while warning us when to stay away.
- They remind us that we are human and we never want to forget that. A human who does not acknowledge his/her feelings is robotic, capable of rationalization, denial and explosive behaviors.
- They allow us to feel pure joy, passion and deep contentment as well as jealousy, sadness, anxiety and fear. They tell us we are alive.
- They allow us to know ourselves better – to understand the messages we are giving to ourselves and the story that we write about our lives.They connect us to ourselves in a way that we can trust. They allow us to live with inner peace and compassion if we honor and respect them.
- Feelings are not always rational but then life is not rational either. We may know intellectually that certain feelings are irrational but the feelings remain and need to be dealt with. If they are not expressed in some way they will be ‘acted out’ or eventually cause sickness in the body.
- They help us feel empathy towards others as we strive to live our lives authentically while at the same time respecting the feelings of others.
- They help us deepen the relationships we have with people as they acknowledge and respect our feelings. If people cannot respect them after we have met them with this level of honesty, then we don’t need them in our lives. This is a two way street, in that we also always try to respect and honor the feelings of others.
We have to be careful not to delude ourselves and fall into automation as we search for something we cannot name while all the time destroying the very things we are looking for, as we recklessly barge through life.