Have we met? If so, you might have said the above to me. It's highly likely. After all, I've been hearing this phrase my entire life, or some variation of it:
You're so sensitive!
Don't be so sensitive!
and my personal favorites: Get over it. Chill out.
Believe me guys, I'D LOVE TO.
I realized recently that while I do a lot of joking about feeling a lot of feelings, I've never actually addressed the fact that I am oh so sensitive.
The issue of sensitivity has plagued me forever. I kid you not when I say that one of my earliest memories involves being called out on it. The scenario: watching TV in the living room with my parents and brother. No idea what happened, but I remember getting upset about something my brother had said (thanks a LOT, Jay) and whining to my parents about it. I was immediately told not to be—you guessed it—so sensitive. (In response, I threw my beloved sheep blanket over my head and pouted.)
So it was with utter delight that this evening I opened my new issue of Women's Health and found an article that begins with: "Ever been told you're just 'too sensitive'?"
I like the article in particular because it addresses the bad and the good of being sensitive (yes, there are some good things about it!).
Emotions are also a good source of data, which means that sensitivity can make people more insightful and open-minded, says David Caruso, Ph.D., coauthor of The Emotionally Intelligent Manager. And those who carry the gene linked to sensitivity are better at making complex decisions, especially ones that could result in either big gains or losses.
Sensitive people could be more aware of and empathize better with other people's feelings, says Mary Rothbart, Ph.D., a distinguished professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon.
And then I got to the BAD.
Of course, you can't act on your sensitivity all the time. Getting wound up and crying at work, for example, can come across as manipulative, dramatic, or weak ... Sensitivity-spurred behavior can also be hard on relationships ... When sensitive people experience rejection, they can become super-solicitous, anxious, withdrawn, angry, or sad—to the point where they become annoying or even unbearable. As such, they tend to go through more frequent breakups.NOOOOO!
Annoying or even unbearable? Moi?
Alas, I agree with it all. But whatever. I'd rather feel a lot of things really intensely than feel nothing at all. Being emotional/sensitive is not the same as being weak. I really am a lot tougher than I look when I'm sobbing (or pouting underneath a blanket). I swear. Just ask me, and if you're lucky I'll get overly defensive and possibly sarcastic! Oh. Shit. (But the good news is, I'll never, ever get uncomfortable if you cry around me!)
I'm really not that unbearable. I promise.
And you guys? For fuck's sake, quit telling me I'm so sensitive.