“But I think that sensitivity is also a good counsellor when it comes to enforcing one’s interests.”
~ Johanes Rau
Recently I have had a heightened awareness of the benefit being sensitive can have in life. Throughout my whole life I have felt things very deeply, whether they were my feelings or others. Eventually, this became a very hard and cruel gift to manage. I began to believe that I needed to be strong and courageous which in my mind clearly was the opposite of all these feelings. I became very good at shutting off my feelings until nothing was left other than a deep sense of anxiety and guilt. Why these two feelings remained is hard to say, but they were there. I could check into them whenever I wanted, but also shut it off at the drop of a dime. People pointed out to me that I didn’t express emotion, that I didn’t seem to notice things, and ultimately I was rarely happy. I couldn’t even remember what joy felt like.
As I began my journey to heal, I noticed that many of the great people I admired also identified themselves as being sensitive. I realized this was one of the things I most admired in them, which lead to more guilt since I had so easily dismissed this quality in myself. I learned though, this was one of the reasons I was so lost. I constantly was dependent on others opinions and thoughts because I no longer had my own. In a busy life this is an easy place to get to. Feelings cause complications that we often don’t have time for, or at least that belief seems to be woven into our society. We want people to accept us for who we are, but we so easily disconnected from ourselves. This is an irony that has fascinated me. Many clients and friends have talked through these same things with me. They don’t know what they want. They don’t feel appreciated, which starts with themselves. They can’t understand why there is an emptiness.
The best way to start this journey is to begin feeling. Embrace your sensitivity and really relish in it. Here are some exercises to try:
Just sit and feel every part of your body. How do your toes feel? Are your shoulders tense? What does your gut tell you at this exact moment?
Focus your attention on your heart and just sit with it. Any thought or feeling that comes up may be painful, but so value added.
Reconnect with how it feels to trust yourself when making decisions. Think of a small decision you have to make. Breath in and close your eyes. Visualize making the decision and choosing various paths. With each one, see how you feel. Trust what your body and heart tell you.
Find something beautiful to look at or listen to. Just fully embrace the beauty and really sense the gratitude that arises.
Begin with these techniques to grow simple awareness and you will find yourself again.