Posted by: silverliningsblog | December 2, 2018

The gifts of sensitivity

butterfly-1127666_1280Have you ever been told you’re “too sensitive?”

The statement implies there is something wrong with you, when the reality is, you’re only “too” much…for them.

So ultimately, that means that they are less sensitive than you. And that you are more sensitive than them. And is that really such a bad thing?

Defining sensitivity

Being “sensitive” means your nervous system is finely tuned, and you are more easily aroused than most others. Everyone feels best when they are neither too bored nor too aroused. For the sensitive person, this range of “feeling ok” is simply more narrow, meaning you can tolerate less stimulation than others can.

Discovering the downside of sensitivity

If you are a sensitive person, chances are you’re already well aware of the downside of sensitivity…everything from food allergies and skin conditions to sensitivity to noise and criticism.

Some examples from my life you may be able to relate to:

  • I was the child in our family who felt what everyone else was feeling…and would have emotional meltdowns when it became too much.
  • I was the kid in school who was bullied and struggled with self-esteem because I was “too soft” and “geeky” and thought the unkind things others said about me must be true.
  • I was the partner who my ex-husband dubbed “Goldilocks” because I didn’t like things too cold or too hot, too bright or too dark, too loud or too quiet.
  • I was (and am) the friend who needs to eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, caffeine-free diet, because my body is sensitive to many foods.
  • I’ve never liked librairies, antique shops, or second-hand stores, because I can feel other people’s energy on the objects (and when I don’t know the source, that makes me uneasy).
  • I am very uncomfortable in crowds, and can’t stand the feeling of being trapped.
  • I hate itchy materials, like wool and clothing tags.
  • I get overwhelmed by too much noise or stimulation.
  • I can’t watch horror movies, news, or violent anything.

For most of my life, my sensitivity seemed like a curse. No one seemed to appreciate it, least of all me. It seemed to set me apart, to make me different, when all I wanted was to fit in. To be “normal.”

In more recent years, I’ve come to accept and even embrace that I’m not “normal,” certainly when it comes to sensitivity. As Elaine Aron defines it in The Highly Sensitive Person, I am definitely highly sensitive. And as Judith Orloff describes in The Empath’s Survival Guide, I am also very much an empath (someone who feels other people’s feelings and energy).

If you suspect you may be sensitive and/or empathic, you may want to check out these quizzes:

It may help you understand your quirks and realize that you are, indeed, different (and that it’s ok to be!).

Appreciating the upside of sensitivity

Thankfully, there are many benefits to being a sensitive person, both for ourselves and for others:

  • We’re the “canary in the mine” who notices when things are wrong/off long before anyone else does. (We are wired with stronger survival instincts.)
  • We are better at spotting (and correcting) errors.
  • We can sense people’s moods and energy, which allows us to assess what is going on (and whether we want to stay in any given environment).
  • Our bodies tell us sooner than most people’s when something we’re doing or eating isn’t right for us.
  • We’re more sensitive to other people’s feelings and needs, making us better friends, parents, and partners.
  • We’re more conscientious and take more time to reflect on issues impacting others.
  • We’re typically more compassionate, caring, and giving than most.
  • We’re very intuitive.
  • We’re more attuned to nature, energy, beauty, music, the arts.
  • People come to us for advice, help and support.
  • We tend to be the thinkers, advisors, teachers, healers, and spiritual leaders of our society.

How to manage your sensitivity

If you are sensitive, it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you. You will need to live and do things differently than others, and that’s ok.

Some ways you can manage your sensitivity so that it works for you (and not against you):

  • Balance time spent with people with time alone.
  • Get lots of sleep and take rest breaks.
  • Meditate regularly.
  • Eat lots of vegetables, and avoid processed foods / common allergens.
  • Exercise regularly (walking and yoga are particularly beneficial).
  • Ground and shield your energy daily.
  • Clear your energy field every day (some ways to do this include smudging, using chimes, and using water).
  • Take baths / shower to reset your energy (especially after an encounter with a difficult person).
  • Swim or sit by water (water produces negative ions, which balances you).
  • Get out in nature daily.
  • Avoid negative people / complainers / energy vampires.
  • Practice setting boundaries and saying no (“no” is a complete sentence!).
  • Journal to process your thoughts and feelings.
  • Find high-vibrational / supportive friends.
  • Use essential oils to balance your energy.
  • Use crystals to protect your energy (especially amethyst and black obsidian).
  • Use salt lamps (especially near electronics).
  • Take regular days off, and a retreat at least once/year.

Honour your sensitivity

If you’re a sensitive person, honour who you are and the amazing abilities you have. Instead of focusing on your frustrations (or the frustrations of others), focus on your unique gifts and the many ways these gifts enhance your life and the lives of others.

You are definitely not “normal”…you are very, very special and gifted! Embrace it!

Big hugs from one highly sensitive person to another. 🙂

Share your thoughts!

I’d love to hear from you…please share your ideas and insights below.

Resources for further learning

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IMG_1956a_5x7Karen Strang Allen is an empowerment coach for single women and mother of two. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great, turn their heartbreak into a breakthrough, and create a life they love, so they easily attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.


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