I’ve been told this far too many times.
“You’re just being too sensitive. Don’t worry about it.”
This is a VERY LOADED statement, in my opinion, because it assumes:
1) Being sensitive is wrong or bad, and you shouldn’t be sensitive.
2) Just stop worrying about it right there on the spot. As if it’s that easy to do, if you’ve been a worrier for a long time!
It’s bull$^&*!!! Total bull.
Well, here’s what I’ve learned about this one: that I can’t “be too sensitive” – it’s kind of how I’m wired.
There’s seems to be genetic links to natural sensitivity and anxiety.
Actually, I’ve learned that it’s quite a gift – because I’ve learned I can intuitively pick up on signals from other people pretty well, notice things that others may not, or don’t want to pick up because they’ve shut down their sensitivity.
It’s also why I’ve chosen to help others with their well-being.
Because I really do care, in a big way. It took me a while to realize this, once I accepted the fact it’s OK to be sensitive, and started learning how to deal with my sensitivity the right way.
When I get into trouble is when I take those signals, which are just signals, and create a story around them that has to do with me having done something wrong, becoming self-conscious, letting my ego personalize it.
This is often what happens when we have social anxiety. We pick up on someone else’s mood or dissatisfaction with their lives, and we think we’ve done something wrong.
We are predisposed to being sensitive in our biology (which easily leads to system overwhelm and thus anxiety); and then we take our interactions with others and turn them into a story of why people don’t like us, are judging us, etc.
That’s social anxiety in a nutshell.
When we reject our sensitivity, we are rejecting a huge part of ourselves.
When we reject ourselves, what we are NOT doing is self-accepting, and this leads to a whole heapin’ mess ‘o problems.
So what’s the solution?
It’s to allow those overwhelming, overstimulating sensations and intuitions to be there, but to not get caught up in our thoughts that will inevitably pour in like a raging river.
To allow the sensations to be there, while not getting hooked in the first place to the negative stories our mind tells us, if possible, or to “unhook” once we’ve been hooked.
To realize that we were just trying to protect ourselves from being hurt again, and though thought patterns served us for a time.
Easier said than done for sure. But well worth the work to develop this skillset of mindfulness and awareness.
In fact, I’ll be focusing on awareness alone for two modules in my Dissolve Your Social Anxiety home-recovery system.
And then it will still be an important process throughout the course, and hopefully for the rest of your life.
There is a great site on high-sensitive called “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron.
Here’s a great article from it called “Why We Are Sometimes So Emotional” from a recent newsletter of hers.
In that article she talks about “sensitive little boys that cry easily”.
That was me for sure, I remember in 7th grade when I had made a stuffed duck in “home–ec” class, and it turned out to be pretty ugly.
But I still liked it. I brought it to another class, and a kid behind me made fun of it.
I started crying and was teased for the next year about it as a “cry-baby” whenever this guy and his buddy saw me.
I practically forgot about that story until now!
I still get teary-eyed all the time at TV shows, commercials and the like. I used to chastise myself for this, but now I accept it as part of my humanity and it allows me to feel more compassion and understanding for other people.
I’ve certainly learned how to be tough, especially after living and working in New York City for 10 years.
But for quite a long time I learned to mask my sensitivity, to my own detriment. It’s good to know how to be tough and direct in the right situations, but bad when you lose your vulnerability and use it as a defense mechanism.
This leads to quite a bit of suffering, and it’s a hard way to live.
Can you relate to either being highly sensitive and/or learning to hide or mask it?
This is going to sound strange, but I think I’m very lucky actually.
To have learned this about myself, and live with it as a strength. I feel it makes me more expansive and flexible.
And even stranger to you probably, is that I think you guys are very lucky, too.
To have your social anxiety and life issues, deciding enough is enough, and trying to do something about them.
Some people are too scared to admit their problem in the first place, let alone seek help for it.
You may not realize this, but what I’m teaching here isn’t just about social anxiety.
It will certainly help you dissolve your social anxiety, but also how to solve other challenges in life that arise.
I get excited when I think about people expanding and evolving beyond where ever they are stuck, especially when it comes to social anxiety.
It’s really a beautiful thing.
I see you guys are very courageous and resilient.