PROS & CONS OF BEING A HIGHLY EMOTIONAL PERSON

ON TRUSTING IN THE PROCESS OF LIFE (even when you’re in denial)
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PROS & CONS OF BEING A HIGHLY EMOTIONAL PERSON

 

Photo by Guilherme Romano

 

We often hear about the downside of being emotional… the need to “suck it up” in a culture where “boy’s don’t cry” and sensitivity is taken as a sign as weakness.

No wonder we feel embarrassed.

Instead of paying attention to (or vocalising) when we feel loneliness, betrayal, fear, danger, alienation, etc., we swallow our instincts, sometimes ignoring our emotions altogether

In my teens, I covered my sensitivities with Eminem lyrics and rebellion. One day, I attended school in a t-shirt that had “Just Don’t Give a Fuck” printed across the front. My teachers were so used to my antics by then, they just rolled their eyes.

The truth was, of course, I gave loads of fucks.

So many, in fact, that I swung to the other extreme. Apathy and disconnection kept me safe. They became my new identity.

It wasn’t until much later in life (after dealing with cancer at 23 and confronting the non-linear nature of my sexuality) that I realised that beneath layers and layers of bravado was a sensitive girl doing everything she could to fit in and feel normal. 

Glennon Doyle calls sensitive people the canaries in the mine. She says boldly: 

“You need my sensitivity because I can smell toxins in the air that you can’t smell, see trouble you don’t see and sense danger you don’t feel. My sensitivity could save us all. And so instead of letting me fall silent and die — why don’t we work together to clear some of this poison from the air?”

Maybe our inability to adapt to the world is not because we’re crazy but because we’re paying attention.

Maybe it’s not insane to reject the world as it is. Maybe the real insanity is surrendering to the world as it is now.

What if sensitive people, she asks, were put here to create a gentler, saner, safer, more vivid place in which folks with wide-open eyes and tender hearts might survive and thrive?

Emotionally sensitive people have a whole lot of “pros” on the other side of its cons:

  • Pro: We have a huge amount of empathy. We relate to anyone and everyone and have the capacity to truly care and help people
  • Con: We become emotionally invested in many issues, opening ourselves up to being taken advantage of.  World issues weigh heavy on us (war, sex trafficking, child abuse, violence, corruption, inequality, to name a few) and we struggle to separate global problems from our personal reality
  • Pro: When we’re happy, we’re contagiously happy and its as if the whole world smiles with us. We inspire others and know true euphoria and connection 
  • Con: When we’re sad, we can become a black hole sucking everyone’s energy with our negativity, spiraling into major downers (and depression) when we don’t prioritise ourselves (which can often since we tend to put other people first)
  • Pro: We can love. Really love. Unconditionally and with conviction. We can find genuine connection with every living thing and feel the purpose of our place in the universe. Totally zen. We’re alive, this moment is all that exists, and we know that’s what its all about
  • Con: When we become disconnected we fall hard. Cynicism, detachment, all of humanity’s woes become our woes. Anger, guilt, shame. We become victims of ourselves. The ego or “smaller self” takes over. We deny ourself love and struggle to receive
  • Pro: We’re ruled by our emotions so heart, sense of integrity and personal truth is our “north star”
  • Con: Since we’re ruled by our emotions, its an ongoing battle with fear based logic until we fully surrender to our heart. A scarcity-mindset will always be our kryptonite
  • Pro: We’re sensitive to our environment and music. When we surround ourself with good vibes, we fly 
  • Con: When we hang with “energy vampires” or listen to dark music, our whole frequency goes down, down, down
  • Pro: We pick up on the emotions, energy and vibe around us – we are a canary in the mine! Which means we know bullshit when we sense it. We can be of service when we listen our inner voice, even when the world is playing another tune
  • Con: When we don’t have boundaries and confidence, our intuition becomes skewed and we abandon our sense of self to placate others
  • Pro: We can read people. We know what to say to bring comfort and guidance to people 
  • Con: Our judgement becomes misguided when we have suppressed emotions and traumas… when we haven’t fully processed and integrated our “shadow side” and sensitivities

Ultimately, emotions and sensitivity is a form of Connectivity.

They are a window into our deepest self as well as the intangibles of  other people. It’s a form of insight into the interconnection between things. 

According to Gallup, Connectedness is a strength exhibited by people who embody this ethos:

Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force.

 Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives.”

 

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