Lately, it seems as though the world is bursting with highly sensitive people – those who feel deeply, love deeply and are highly in tune with the emotions of others. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this type of personality – in my experience, highly sensitive people tend to be some of the most intelligent, caring and empathetic people out there. They are wonderful in times of struggle but they are also occasionally a struggle to understand.
As someone with a personality that veers on the aggressive side, I’ve found interaction with highly sensitive people to be a challenge. When you’re constantly gunning for what you want out of life, you’re bound to bump heads with a few people along the line. The problem is, when you bump heads with someone who values maintaining the peace above all else, you may not even know that you did so. In a world of people who are highly in tune with the emotions of others, here are a few struggles those of us who are not natural empaths face.
1. You say what you mean and you assume that others do the same.
You are direct in your approach to problems. If you’re upset with someone you are honest with them about what is bothering you – and you assume that other people do the same. It is thoroughly confusing to you when you learn that someone has lied about how they’re feeling in order to maintain good graces – you find it hard to understand why they don’t simply want to resolve the issue through direct communication.
2. If an issue is not raised directly, you assume it doesn’t exist.
You like solving problems, so if and when they arise, you deal with them as quickly as possible. You are okay with temporarily disturbing the peace if it means you can resolve the issue – but you have to actively remember that other people don’t feel the same way. More than once, you have been genuinely shocked to learn that someone is mad at you… because they didn’t say anything about it.
3. You have a one-track mind when you’re gunning for what you want and subtleties don’t always make the radar.
When you see something you want, your whole world narrows in on how to get it. You may fail to notice nuances that arise during that time – you are constantly assessing information as, “Will this get me closer to what I want? If so, it’s important. If not, it can wait.” You’re focused on what you want when you are in “The Zone,” and what’s going on around you doesn’t always make the radar unless it’s explicit.
4. You refuse to feed into passive-aggressiveness, which eventually gets you into trouble.
There are times when you know that someone is being passive-aggressive, but you aren’t interested in feeding into it. If they have a problem, they can raise it. Otherwise you’re going to take what they say at face value. In the long run, this gets you into trouble. Passive-aggressiveness is regularly used by almost everyone (even you’re guilty of it occasionally) and it’s insensitive to ignore it all the time. You just really don’t want to play those games.
5. You don’t see being alone as a problem – which others don’t always understand.
At certain points in your life, your goals have been more important than your relationships – so you’ve prioritized goals above them and maybe even lost a relationship or two as a result. That doesn’t mean that you don’t care deeply for people, or that you don’t want others in your life. It simply means that you stack your priorities a little differently than other people do – and that’s okay. You’re happy with the way you live your life, even if it occasionally perplexes others.
6. You don’t feel sorry for taking what’s yours.
When you see something you want, you don’t hang back, interview everyone you know about how they would feel if you got it and then decide what move to make. You just go for it. You know that time is of the essence and that we live in a competitive world. You feel badly for those who hang back and get dealt a tough hand as a result, but you can’t drive yourself into the ground trying to save everyone. You fight hard for what you want and you don’t feel guilty about reaping the rewards.
7. It’s not that you don’t care about others – it’s just that you express it in your own way.
It’s not that you’re a heartless or entirely selfish person – quite the opposite, in fact. When you love someone, you would walk through hell for him or her. You love people the way you do everything – enthusiastically, devotedly and single-mindedly. You may not pick up on the day-to-day nuances of how they’re feeling but you’re there when it matters – and anyone who knows you knows that to be unabashedly true.