There are some people who are described as being overly sensitive and highly empathic. And while this does lead to many benefits, there are also many challenges that arise from being this way. They can feel like sponges that pick up anything and everything that is going on in an environment.
For others who are sensitive, but perhaps not to the same degree; they can be people who take everything to heart. One word, look or a certain tone of voice and one can feel emotionally overwhelmed.
If the world was suited to this kind of person, it would make their lives a lot easier. And yet in a lot of cases, it is more suitable for people who feel numb and cut off from their feelings. Here, one is not in touch with their feelings, let alone sensitive, they are unable to feel.
So even though both of these extremes carry challenges, to feel numb is more suited to the modern day world. This is not to say that this is an absolute truth and sensitive people have no place or that they can’t thrive. What it typically relates to is the corporate environment and to areas where people are out of touch with themselves.
In these types of environments, it is not always seen as abnormal to be emotionally cut off from oneself and that masks are being worn; it is often seen as normal and how life is. Based on this, one could come to the conclusion that being sensitive is a bad thing and something that needs to be changed in some way.
Two Types Of Criticism
This could lead to some kind of self harm and one could feel a sense of shame for being this way. As they don’t match up to what most people are like, they could come to conclude that it would be easier to be like other people who are not sensitive. And while being like people who are not as sensitive might be easier in some instances, there are many benefits that one would lose.
To be critical of oneself is one thing and it is another to receive criticism from others. One could receive all kinds of labels from others and if they are not sensitive themselves, this would be easy; because they are unaware of what it is like to be sensitive.
And if one has not experienced something or they are not very empathic themselves, it can be difficult to really understand what another is experiencing. Some of the things that others could say is: one is too sensitive; that what they said was only a joke; they need to grow up; that they shouldn’t take things so personally; that they should just let it go and not get so worked up.
Now, these viewpoints that come out of another’s mouth can sound logical and one might even agree with them, but that’s about as far as it goes. If it was as easy as internalising these views and becoming less sensitive, then one would surely do just that.
However, it is not as simple as this and so no matter what another person’s mind comes up with or what one thinks themselves, it’s not necessarily going to make any difference.
The Other Option
There are going to be some people who were sensitive at one point and then gradually ended up becoming insensitive. And this can cause them to be critical of people who are sensitive. These people could remind them of what they have denied within themselves
Perhaps they resorted to alcohol, food, drugs or some kind of muscle building to tone down their sensitive side. So they went from being overly sensitive, to feeling very little in the majority of cases.
Or one could go from one extreme to the other; sometimes feeling num and other times feeling extremely sensitive. This could depend on what is going on in this person’s life for example.
For the people who are overly sensitive, it could impact every area of their life or it could just include certain areas. One might not be able to handle any kind of feedback from others; whether it’s negative or constructive and given with the best of intentions.
Relationship break ups could be another area that wipes this person out and leaves them completely overwhelmed. To be in places full of lots of people, loud noises or big crowds might be another hot point.
People who are loud, forceful and or controlling could cause problems. One might do their best to avoid all conflict or confrontation and have difficulty standing up for themselves. To watch the news or to be in situations where people are suffering might be too much to handle.
Now, there is going to be as number of reasons why someone is overly sensitive. For starters, their nervous system is different to someone who experiences life differently. One thing that can cause someone to have no control over their arousal level is when they have trapped emotions and feelings.
And as they are trapped in one’s body, it can affect ones nervous system and cause one to have a heightened level of arousal; either at certain times or as a way of life. These could be from ones adult years and go right back to when one was a child and a baby.
So this could be due to an event that was extremely traumatic or to an accumulation of minor events that caused pain for instance. And as these have remained in one’s body, one has very little choice in how they feel; it is then an involuntary reaction and not a conscious choice.
This is not to say that one will lose their ability to be sensitive by releasing these trapped emotions and feelings. But it could mean that their arousal level will settle down and their nervous system will mirror this change. So although one will still be sensitive, they might no longer be overly sensitive. It could also result in one forming better boundaries to protect their sensitive nature.
One can be assisted in this process by a therapist or a healer who will allow one to face their feelings and emotions and gradually release them.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.