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:
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.”