I can sense the anxiety radiating off of a stranger sitting 15 feet away. The uncomfortable dreariness which gathers in the atmosphere before someone breaks bad news to me weighs heavily on my soul, baring my ability to live in blissful ignorance.
I can’t be lied to, either. That sinister glint that you think I didn’t see flash through your eyes, I couldn’t have missed it if I wanted to.
Trust me, sometimes I wish I had.
Being highly sensitive (along with a dose of overly analytical and astutely observant) is a uniquely complicated state of being. I feel everything, good and bad, whether or not I want to.
Other people’s energy has always affected me deeply. When I was younger, subtle slights that most people wouldn’t have noticed would weigh heavily on me for days. It didn’t help that I was never able to perfect my poker face. My displeasure always slipped through in the form of a quivering lip or watery eyes. A mild quip said in jest, could induce raging tears to spill from within me. Lesser taunts could do the same.
Navigating social relationships was especially hard. I could usually tell when people weren’t being genuine, but my desire to have friends trumped that tiny voice in my head, so I often surrounded myself with people who I knew didn’t have my best interest at heart.
Despite my best efforts to be happy, I felt like I was always falling short of what was expected of me. I just couldn’t pretend that everything was alright if it wasn’t. I cried daily, sometimes multiple times a day.
On top of that, my sensitivity was interpreted as a sign of weakness or immaturity. I felt like something was wrong with me. Needless to say, I spent years of my formative years wishing away this aspect of my personality.
It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized that being in touch with my emotions wasn’t a curse, but a gift.
Those same exhausting characteristics that can make me feel pinched when I’ve only been prodded also allow me to recognize on a deeper level what others are feeling. It’s made me a more compassionate, empathetic person.
Knowing first hand how words can feel sharper than jagged knives, I think before I speak. I’m also more intuitive. I know when someone isn’t really “just fine.” I also know when people need space, even when they say they don’t.
My highs are just as extreme as my lows. When I experience happiness, it radiates through every cell in my body.
I also get to revel in other people’s happiness. The same way people’s sorrow or discontent affects me, so does their triumphs.
If you’ve thought “wow, that sounds like me” at least once so far, then you may be a highly sensitive person was well. I know that it can be tiring at times, but please, don’t do what I did and not appreciate this wonderful gift.
You are perfect. You are wonderful. You’re just how you’re supposed to be.
Contrary to what society would have you to believe, there is beauty in feeling.
Humans are not meant to journey through life like emotionless robots, unyielding to bad days, and rude insults. Sometimes people bruise our egos. Sometimes people hurt our feelings, or make us angry.
Personally, I will never be a person who can pretend that things don’t affect me, or that I’m perpetually on #teamunbothered. If you anger me, I will seethe. If you hurt me, I will cry. When I’m bursting with joy, I will probably cry too.
Crying balances my jumbled emotions — those that are mine, and those that are not, which ebb and flow through me during the course of a day. After a good cry, I feel centered and calm, like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. When I try to hold things in, the opposite occurs. I become stagnant — a slave to the negative emotions that I’ve trapped inside of me.
I’ve now made it a priority to allow myself to process any and every emotion that I feel without judgment or regret. Feeling things on a deeper level than most is simply the way that I was built, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Experiencing a full range of emotions doesn’t make anyone any less of an adult. It makes us human.
This doesn’t mean that we should just burst into tears at any given moment or go off on someone when they disrespect us. There is a time and a place for everything, and the fact of the matter is that the world we live in doesn’t always make time for us to outwardly process our feelings.
Our feelings are not meant to be shared with everyone; not everyone can handle them. Some people won’t care to handle them. But most importantly, not everyone is deserving of them.
But we always owe it to ourselves to feel what we need to feel. Even if that means crying in a dark closet for five minutes. Even if that means being so happy, we’re literally skipping on the clouds. Even if that means making someone mad or uncomfortable.
There is beauty in pain, in joy — in feeling, and I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I feel it all. You shouldn’t either.