Sensitive. From my research, it is derived from the French word sensitif which means, “capable of feeling,” and the Medieval Latin word sensitivus, or, “capable of sensation.” Pretty innocent, right? Today, however, sensitivity is associated with weakness, being easily hurt, and delicacy. And no one wants to be thought of in those ways, not when resilience and confidence are so greatly valued. But the truth is that I am sensitive. Most people are, to some extent, and we shouldn’t let this word hold so much power over us.
While I admit I am sensitive, I am rarely hurt by constructive criticism, sarcasm, or anything that is done playfully. In fact, I can never relate to people who are offended by something that, say, a comedian says— like, it’s just a joke, no need to get ‘triggered’. After some self-reflection, though, I have figured out that there are three categories of things that get me down: exclusion, indifference, and rejection.
Let me break down each one and how it makes me feel (yes, we’re talking about feelings, just call me your therapist):
When I feel like I am being avoided or forgotten, I’m left absolutely gutted. And it hurts the worst when it’s done, even unintentionally, by people who I think I’m really close with. Exclusion makes my brain, which already runs at 100 miles an hour, go in to overdrive. Am I not interesting enough? Did I make this friendship out to be more than it really is? Should I acknowledge that the exclusion bothered me or pretend like it never happened?
I care about people. I notice when my friends are going through a rough time, so why can’t they do the same for me? Granted, I think I am pretty good at hiding my emotions and I don’t initiate conversations about my feelings because, well, that’s messy. Maybe it’s foolish or impractical for me to expect my friends to know me well enough to know when I need someone to talk to, but a part of me thinks it isn’t. That being said, I am getting better at being less guarded and letting people in instead of waiting around for someone to notice.
Most people experience some form of rejection throughout their lives, but I may experience it more than most. As I’ve mentioned before, my first two years of college weren’t great, but something that made this time worse was the fact that I was denied being a part of the things that make me happy. I would audition for singing groups and plays, and would usually make it to callbacks only to be turned downed with, “There was a lot of competition this year and we hope you try out again.” Not having a creative outlet was really difficult for me, especially because I had been involved with these kinds of activities for the better part of my life. But I’ve faced rejection in other ways, too: rejection from friendships, leadership positions, and jobs. I get angry about being denied something when I consistently put myself out there, but I also begin to question and doubt my talents and skills. Am I good enough? What did I do wrong? And perhaps the worst thing about rejection is that it doesn’t ever get easier; it stings just as bad every time.
Like most of my posts, I’m not going to end with a cliché happy ending that’ll solve all our problems. But what I can say about sensitivity is it gives us an edge. Having felt something means you now have the ability to be more empathetic towards others. You can avoid doing things that could hurt someone else because you already know how it feels. I think it’s time we take power away from the word and accept that we are emotional, sensitive creatures. It’s what makes us human.
PS- What are you sensitive about? Let me know in the comments or message me 🙂