I cry during sad movies. I cry during happy movies. I cry while reading emotional books, while singing moving songs and, sometimes, when I’m dreaming. For many years, I’ve shied away from this part of myself. I was ashamed, guilty for being so easily tossed about by the waves of life. But I’ve learned that being a sensitive person sensitive is much more than simply having a propensity to cry. It has to do with my depth of processing, the complexity and strength of my emotions. (And if you don’t know if that applies to you, you can take this nifty quiz)
It turns out, there are both strengths and weaknesses to being highly sensitive. Unfortunately, most people seem to think we’re just “too emotional.” Take it from me: Your highly-sensitive friends would appreciate it if you knew:
1. We feel things deeply
The majority of the time: We either love something or absolutely hate it (Or both). And because we feel those emotions so strongly, it’s hard to not share it in an overt way. Personally, I also have difficulty with lingering conflict. When I have a disagreement with someone, it’s nearly impossible for me to section that off and go about my business in other areas of life. I still feel the anger and hurt from that conflict, and a strong desire to resolve it. ASAP.
2. We are very nurturing
Because of those aforementioned emotions, highly-sensitive people are typically very intuitive and sympathetic toward others. We remember how it felt to be struggling with friends; finances; faith; etc., and we want to help. It can be hard to know what to say or what to do, but I can tell you this: We’re hurting right alongside you.
3. We are easily overstimulated
My family thinks it’s quirky that I sleep with an eye mask, earplugs and a sound machine. I agree, but I can’t help it! If I don’t block out the stimuli, I’ll lay awake all night listening for the slightest noise. It’ll drive me mad even thinking that I might hear something. Similarly, I don’t really like loud noises or background noises. I can’t say this is true for all highly sensitive people, but it certainly is for me.
4. …And that applies to people, too
Social settings are naturally stimulating, and that’s why highly-sensitive people often feel overwhelmed by them. The noises, the people, the thoughts going through our heads. It’s fun, but exhausting! Thankfully, most of my friends and family know this about me. They don’t take it personally when I need to duck out early.
4. We are very intuitive
Highly-sensitive people are usually incredibly observant. Because we are constantly thinking and processing, we are great at picking up on others’ needs. This means that we are pretty good gift-givers and we know our friends and family very well.
5. We can be self-critical
When your brain is constantly processing the world around you, a lack of self-confidence can be a real hindrance. I’m constantly fighting my urge to read into situations too much. I’m never not thinking, which means when I’m with others the thoughts can quickly spiral: “Oh, her jacket looks nice. I wonder where she got it. I should have dressed nicer. Now she’s looking at my shoes. Why did I wear these stupid shoes?! My friend is so much cooler than me. I bet she doesn’t even like me anyways…”
Basically: We have to be very diligent about staying grounded and rationalizing situations. Otherwise, our emotions can take over.
6. We’re perplexed by boredom
Since we are constantly thinking, there’s rarely a dull moment in the mind of a highly-sensitive person. That’s why I have so many lists– lists of random thoughts, songs for my future wedding, things to write, gift ideas for others, gift ideas for myself, places to travel– all stored on my phone. There’s no time to be bored when there are so many ideas and emotions flooding one’s brain.
7. Yes, we cry a lot, but we can’t help it
Some people have anger problems; others laugh too loud. Highly-sensitive people cry a lot. We aren’t using our tears to manipulate you. But maybe we will if you keep making fun of us for crying all the time 🙂 Crying is healthy. Jesus cried! Are you going to make fun of Jesus too?
8. You can’t always identify us
Remember what I said about the constant swarm of thoughts and emotions? Well, they’re often invisible to the world. Unless someone is incredibly anxious or upset, you can’t tell how they are holding up internally. This is true for all people, but I think it’s especially important for highly-sensitive people. If it looks like we are breezing through a difficulty or loss, we probably aren’t. We’re just hiding it.
Whether you are a sensitive individual or not, I hope this was enlightening to read. I for one, enjoy learning about the different ways that we humans operate. It is not only a great way to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, but also a great tool in learning how to better love others. I hope this helps you in that regard!