Did you know that about 15-20% of the population is considered highly sensitive? It’s a significant part of the population so it can’t be considered a “condition. ” However, and the numbers of sensitive people aren’t large enough to make it common, so it isn’t quite understood.
Many people look at being sensitive as a defect or a hindrance because it doesn’t fit into societal norms of how one should act in public. On the contrary, sensitive people are more aware, more compassionate, more forgiving and often more driven.
Sensitive people believe things can be better and work hard to make it so. It is hard for a sensitive person to see suffering without trying to relieve the pain, to see heartache without expressing love and to see a challenge without problem-solving. The empathetic nature of a sensitive person is often invisible to most, and as such, is often ignored or misunderstood.
Sensitive people are often so giving of their time and energy that they forget to care for themselves. It’s an innate quality that can be difficult to navigate with outside influences establishing the expectations of how you should act.
“No matter who it is or how comfortable you are with someone, when anyone yells at you or talks down to you, you immediately erupt in tears.” –Lauren Jarvis-Gibson
To put things into perspective, here are 5 great lessons for sensitive people:
1. Embrace and control your emotional responses.
Sensitive people see the world differently and with that vision comes great power and responsibility. Because we feel what others are feeling, we often feel a moral obligation to help, and we react with bigger emotions and more rapid action. On the surface, this appears to be a good thing, an admirable trait.
There are many challenges with reacting to a situation in the heat of heightened emotion. The other person might not want help, we might not be able to provide the right kind of help or we might offer help that ends up doing more harm than good to them and us.
It’s not about the desire to help; it’s about understanding the true nature of any situation outside of the emotional connection that is felt. Take the time to think both logically and emotionally before jumping into action. Know the whole world can’t be saved no matter how hard we try. The responsibility comes in choosing our reactions wisely.
2. Listen and trust your inner guide to protect yourself.
Sensitive people have a strong intuition that comes from a heightened awareness of what is happening around us. Unfortunately, though, we don’t always pay attention to what our gut is telling us.
Because of our highly sensitive nature, we tend to be more trusting and more willing to take people at their word. There are people that will take advantage of that, and that is why listening to our inner guide is so important.
It is this inner source of wisdom that protects us and warns us to tread carefully when you feel uncertainty creeping in. As sensitive people, we are so focused on helping that we often ignore the warning signs our inner guide provides. Pay attention to your gut as closely as you pay attention to your desire to help others. Doing so will help you help yourself which better positions you to help others.
3. Stay focused on the things that really matter.
Because we are so aware and absorb so much of the energy that surrounds us, it is easy to lose our focus and take on other people’s problems as if they are our own. It’s important that we stay focused on the things that matter in our lives first and avoid over-committing ourselves to the point of overwhelming.
We are quick to say yes but upon contemplation, we might realize we are not the best person for the task at hand. This can lead to over-complicating and overthinking a situation to the point that it becomes detrimental to our responsibilities. The lesson here is to keep our priorities first, help when it makes sense and find other resources when necessary.
4. Being sensitive is not the same as being weak.
People who aren’t as sensitive as we are may interpret our ability to empathize and feel like a weakness. The truth is, it takes great inner strength to feel the constant joy, sadness and even heartache of those around us. This is not a burden we choose to carry but a gift in which we were entrusted.