When I was a kid, I was always angry and hard-headed, passionate and had a temper that was hardly controllable. My sister was the opposite and seemed to cry very easily and was accused of feeling ‘too much’ and being too ‘sensitive’. Our family, as a result, gave me credit for being ‘tough’ and what looked like to them, as being able to take on life’s challenges better. We grew up and I never cried, balling up my emotions, and was rewarded with praise and the false sense of security made me think I was doing something good for myself. I was always taught that feeling, being emotional, in any capacity, specifically crying, was a bad thing. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is seen as being inferior by my co-workers and friends, romantic partners and everywhere I looked and lived in.
So I sit here, at the age of 30, and everything I’ve known has been completely obliterated. I can proudly call myself sensitive and a body of water and fire that is emotionally ruled and guided by my heart. It turns out that my sister, being able to emote and be true to her feelings early, was able to gain personal freedom and deal with heartache and probably some of the roughest challenges anyone I know has faced, coming out the other end, completely aware of her emotional intelligence and seeing it not as a hinderance, but as the main catalyst, keeping her healthy and generally happy. My journey has taken a different turn, as I have learned to accept that emotions are apart of the human condition but still thought that being labelled as ‘sensitive’ wasn’t the best way to walk around in life. I assumed being sensitive made me weak and someone who had no handle on life’s curve balls much less how to overcome them. Being sensitive to me meant that I exposed myself to all the hurt and pain that life had to offer, leaving me completely out of control and broken. I was mistaken.
Being sensitive is not being weak. It is the part of being human that allows you to be in tune to your soul, gives you permission to follow your instinct and have faith in yourself even when the odds are stacked against you. Being sensitive allows you to look at people as being flawed but still beautiful, as being more alike than we are different. We are able to be more empathetic and put our ego aside when we are acting, speaking and feeling from a sensitive mind and heart. So why, if it makes us so much more aware and better people, is it still such a stigma in our society?
I don’t really have an answer for that because I’ve discovered that as I go further and further into my journey, more questions seem to arise than answers. I’m no longer a bag of quick fixes or hap hazard solutions, I’m more a student of love and learning by accepting my imperfections, and being labelled as sensitive, has been one of my first lessons. If I wasn’t sensitive, I couldn’t be as creative as I am or take the risks I’ve taken. If I wasn’t sensitive, I wouldn’t be so inherently aware of all of my mistakes, flaws and the things that don’t make me weak but just make my footprint different then those walking behind, beside and in front of me.
Now does being highly vulnerable and hyper sensitive to the world around me open me up for disappointment and heartache? Absolutely. Do I walk headfirst into a fire, knowing very well of the dangers of getting burned? Yup. Being a sensitive person, and therefore a vessel for light and life, is just as much as a burden as it is a gift. People that have accepted their sensitivities and soft spots will tell you that they encounter people on a daily basis that can be considered mean spirited and what I call, ‘light leeches’. These people aren’t motivated by anything internal, and live off of the spark and light of the people that seem to carry what they lack. The people in their lives are meant to act as ‘light hot spots’, simply there to serve and to give everything until they are sucked dry of their gifts. I used to be this girl. I considered it an honour to help someone, to serve as a source of motivation (and still do), but I could not distinguish the difference between a relationship with a healthy give and take and a relationship with a light leech. By the end of these bad relationships, I was drained and I had nothing left to give to anyone else much less myself and I felt like I had been left for dead, gasping for air.
Being sensitive, dragged me out of that rubble and I realized that in order for me to be good to anyone else, to contribute to the relationships that lift me up, I need to give to myself first. So as I travel and move forward and slowly pick up the pieces of my soul and start to shine from the inside-out, I know that being labelled as sensitive is not only an honour but a gift that I try to embrace every day.