In case you're new to this space or just don't know me very well, I'm cluing you in on one of my most distinguishing characteristics today.
I'm a sensitive soul.
I'd probably even categorize myself as a highly sensitive person.
This actually happened to me the other night. Some friends offered to me what
they considered helpful advice on a situation. I immediately felt as
though they were telling me what I was doing wrong or that I was stupid. That wasn't their intention at all, but it was my perception. My immediate reaction was to shut down. To pull away. But they didn't let me. They made me talk through what bothered me about the conversation. It wasn't a comfortable process. In fact, it was very hard. Probably for all of us. But I think it revealed some things that will help us all be better communicators in the future.
I'm blessed to have people like this in my life. Friends who will weather my emotional storms and talk me through them instead of pushing me away and letting me push them away.
I've definitely lost a few friends because of my sensitivity. I've damaged some relationships as well. And that hurts. A lot. I understand it, but I don't like it.
I've made progress with my feelings over the years, but there are still times I fail. I need to remember that while I process things with my emotions, they aren't always the best barometer of others' intentions. I need to remember to step back when something is said and take a few moments to evaluate the situation. I need to ask myself a few questions before I reaction on instinct. Is this person someone who has supported me in the past? Are their words constructive or destructive? Do they seem genuinely helpful?
While I work on this, I think it's also OK to own my sensitivity. I don't want to get rid of it. It's an inherent part of me, and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.
Being a sensitive person does not have to be negative. Being sensitive means I'm more attuned to people's feelings. It makes me more empathetic. I listen more and without judgment. I perceive things that aren't being said. I treat people with kindness and care.
My sensitive nature helps me excel in customer service situations, which I encounter in all three of my jobs. It also makes me a valuable member of a team or committee. More importantly, it makes me a better friend and a better person.
So, yes, I'm sensitive. And I wouldn't change it if I could.
Do you have a trait like this? One that is perceived as a flaw but can be spun into an asset?