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Last Updated on December 8, 2020

Why Am I So Sensitive And Is It Bad?

Why Am I So Sensitive And Is It Bad?

Are you always offended by everything? Take things too personally? Do you find yourself thinking people are laughing about you in public places?

Is every altercation extremely stressful?

Do you pick up other people’s emotions? Do you find yourself fine, and then suddenly you are upset because someone else is?

If any of these are you, you are sensitive, and that is okay. It’s good, even! Here’s why.

What Does It Mean to Be Sensitive?

Being sensitive has too often been used as an insult to belittle people as sensitivity was perceived as weak in a masculine-centric society. This led to sensitive people agonizing over their insecurities.

To be sensitive means you are more empathetic and pick up on emotions more. You feel things on a much deeper level, and as a result, it can feel incredibly overwhelming.

Why Am I Sensitive?

There are many arguments as to why some people are more sensitive than others. For one, there is a contested theory that people have something called a Sensory Processing Sensitivity[1], but there is no solid diagnosis for why some people are more sensitive than others. If you find yourself to be a sensitive person, instead of trying to work out why you are like this, you should focus on what you can do with it.

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Is Being Sensitive a Bad Thing?

While it can be more difficult to live with as you have to manage your sensitivity, it is, without a doubt, a blessing in disguise. Think of it as a superpower; you can empathize with people more, which is highly valuable in today’s society. While you will feel overwhelmed more easily, you have to ability to love and feel at a deeper level, and you will have a high EQ.[2]. It is a superpower, but you have to learn how to use your power for growth and not self-destruction.

More sensitive people have the ability to experience sensory detail. You can appreciate the subtle shades of texture in clothing, foods when cooking, the sounds of music, fragrances, the different colors of nature, or even traffic or people talking.

Sensitive people can also determine nuances in meaning, making them more emotionally intelligent. They are more aware of our inner emotional states, which can make for richer and more profound creative work as writers, musicians, actors, or other artists. They are also much more creative, and, as mentioned, they have greater empathy.[3]

How to Handle Sensitivity

Being sensitive is a blessing, but it can also be a terrible burden if left uncared for. Sensitive people tend to not take care of themselves properly and get overwhelmed and burnt out faster. These are the most important things you need to change in your life in order to handle being a more sensitive person and be happy.

1. Take Responsibility

Start by taking responsibility for your mental health. You are sensitive, and you can’t change that. You can only manage it, and the first step in doing that is by accepting who you are. Then, take responsibility for your actions moving forward. Take responsibility for your self-care, keeping on top of your mental health, overwhelm, and most importantly, your feelings.

If you are feeling strong emotions, learn to let it be. Sit with it, and understand that it will pass. Like waves in the ocean, they always calm if you give them attention.

If you are mimicking someone else’s emotions that aren’t yours, it is your responsibility to deal with it appropriately and not lash out.

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If someone has caused a strong emotional response, you are responsible for your feelings. That person was a catalyst, but the feelings that arise are yours. You control how you react and how you move forward. Don’t let someone hold you emotionally hostage.

2. Identify Drains and Energizers

You will find some people drain you and leave you feeling exhausted, and some people will make you feel bright and happy. You need to identify who these people are so you can deal with it. If you identify a drainer, avoid them or prepare yourself by creating a mental shield (more on that in a moment).

With drainers, you need to set boundaries with them or they will leave you an exhausted husk. This is a kindness; you are helping them and helping yourself. Limit your interactions and time with them and don’t falter. You will find people who drain you are drawn to you because they love your sensitivity. They are often called energy vampires, and staying away from them is the best you can do.

Alternatively, you have to keep an eye out for what makes you feel recharged and safe. Find what lifts you up and surround yourself with it.

3. Create a Good Self-Care Routine

Taking care of yourself is priority number one. Sensitive people also tend to be very selfless, so you need to establish a good routine so you can rest and recover.

Things you should include in your routine:

  • Eating well
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Getting out into nature
  • Scheduling “you time” to do things you love
  • Creating a safe and welcoming environment to retreat to
  • Repeating positive affirmations

It is critical that you take care of yourself as, like introverts, you need to recharge. If you don’t, you will feel mentally and emotionally drained all the time, which will cause mental health issues.

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4. Create a Shield

A great mental trick is to put up a mental shield when you are in an overwhelming situation. This involves putting up a shield in your mind and visualizing it as protecting you from someone’s energy. Being sensitive means you can feel bombarded by not only emotions but general stimulation. Finding ways to block them out so you don’t feel so overwhelmed is important.

A good way to learn how to build a mental shield is through mindfulness meditation. Others find that using headphones to block out sound stimulation is helpful, while others use sunglasses to weaken visual stimuli. Experiment and find what works for you.

5. Watch Your Thoughts

Not all your feelings are your feelings. Sometimes you absorb the energy of others and react to them. When this happens, you need to ask yourself, am I actually upset or am I just reacting? Becoming self-aware will help you focus on what you feel and what you are just mimicking. If you are just reacting to another person’s feelings, you can let it go.

You also have to keep an eye on your internal talk. If you are constantly being negative to yourself, you will struggle with being sensitive. You control your brain, so start making micro choices to think more positively. When a negative thought comes, correct it with something positive. If you don’t reign in your internal negativity, it will only heighten your insecurity and sensitivity.

6. Practice Assertiveness

Much like setting boundaries, you should practice assertiveness. As sensitive people tend to be less assertive because they don’t want to deal with a strong emotion, they are very easy to bulldoze. You have a right to your feelings and space. You shouldn’t change who you are to accommodate other people. If they don’t like your feelings, that is their responsibility.

If you are being assertive, you may get a response, like anger. You are not responsible for how that person is feeling; you are only responsible for you. If they are angry, that’s on them. As long as you are not violating someone else’s needs, you can say or do what you need to in order to take care of yourself.

7. Express Your Feelings

There are many ways you can do this. As a sensitive person, you are experienced with your emotions. However, because many people are taught that emotions are bad, most people tend to be bad at dealing with them.

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You need to feel your feelings. There are many things you can do to help alleviate the overwhelming feelings you feel all the time, such as meditation. Another popular technique in the spiritual community is a process called cleansing your chakras. This process helps you process and let go of your anger, loss, guilt, or shame.

If you aren’t ready to express your feelings to another person, a great tool to help is journaling. This is a safe space for you to express your feelings in a controlled way and can help you work through your problems by seeing them put on paper.

8. Change Your Perspective

Know that it isn’t about you. This is a powerful revelation if you choose to hear it. Humans in genearl are self-centered and tend to think the world revolves around them. This means we often overcompensate by being overly selfless because we feel shame about being biologically selfish.

Like all things, you require balance. You are selfish, and that is fine, but the lesson is that not everything is about you. Sensitive people tend to see others’ actions as a critique of who they are, but most of the time, that isn’t the case.

An important thing to do is forgive those who have wronged you. Often sensitive people are not great at letting things go. As a result, they find it difficult to move on from painful experiences. This is unhealthy as it will keep you from enjoying both the present and the future. Take the lesson, leave the pain.

9. Be Grateful for Your Gift

You have a great gift, so don’t be afraid of it. If you control it, take good care of yourself, and set some boundaries, you can utilize your gift of sensitivity for good. It is a blessing. If you think negatively, you will only have a negative life. Show gratitude for your new superpower and use it to your advantage.

Final Thoughts

Being sensitive is certainly a challenge. You have to be on guard a little more, and life is a little harder than for non-sensitive people, which does get frustrating. But it is also an incredible power, an advantage.

You are more likeable, people will be drawn to you, and you are able to empathize and help people really feel heard. You have an incredible gift. Don’t use it to torture yourself; use it to change your world.

More Tips on Dealing With Sensitivity

Featured photo credit: Ivan Aleksic via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Published on March 4, 2021

24 Self-Reflection Questions To Get You To Rethink About Life

24 Self-Reflection Questions To Get You To Rethink About Life

“Oh no, Oh no! AHHHHHHH!” These were the only words I could manage as my car spun out of control, hydroplaning across multiple lanes of the slick freeway. It was one of those moments you see in the movies where your life flashes before your eyes, and you instantly begin the process of asking yourself a slew of self-reflection questions.

I was driving back from a children’s birthday party with my wife and two very young daughters on board. My girls were strapped tightly in their car seats and sleeping peacefully. My wife had just told me to be careful as it had begun to rain heavily for the first time in months.

“Yes, sweetheart, I am.” I had responded, wanting to keep everyone safe and knowing that my tires were due to be replaced. My caution didn’t matter. Once the millions of tiny pockets of water had taken over, we were at the mercy of my out-of-control Pontiac Grand Prix.

We ended up careening across four lanes toward the center divider only to spin back the opposite direction to the right shoulder, off the road, and up a dirt embankment. We somehow had managed to avoid every other car, but that didn’t matter. What we couldn’t avoid was the six-foot cinder block wall that lined the highway. We slammed into the wall with incredible speed and force—so much that the impact caused the car to flip 360 degrees and ultimately land back on the wheels.

Witnesses said it was the most incredible thing they had ever seen and that we would not walk away. I, too, felt it was incredible but for different reasons. The impact for me was not the crash into the wall or flip. It was afterward during a time of deep self-reflection about life when all the questions hit me.

The movies make you believe that everything slows down during an experience like this to the point that you can reflect on life. Trust me, rethinking about life comes much later when your ass isn’t spinning out of control.

So, what did I ask myself? What were the self-reflection questions that came as a result of my accident?

They mainly centered around the essential components of my life—family, faith, relationships, beliefs, and actions. I had focused on these areas to that point, but I was unsure of where I stood, not just for me but for everyone I came in contact with daily. It all boiled down to being the best version of myself, which we should all truly strive for in life. I mean, it’s why we’re here, isn’t it?

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Before you answer that question, take a look at the following 24 self-reflection questions to get you to rethink life.

1. Am I Living in the Moment?

Living in the moment is effortless in our go-go-go world to live on autopilot. This is fine for things that don’t matter as much to the big picture but not for the whole picture itself. Go ahead and brush your teeth or take a shower on autopilot. Heck, our brain is very comfortable in this setting. But have you ever drove to work and not remember the trip at all? I’m sure you have, which is terrible when you think about it. It is not just because of its safety but also because of the beautiful things you may have missed along the way.

2. Do I Cherish Every Second With My Loved Ones?

While this sounds like number one, it is actually quite different. Time is one of the most valuable resources we have in this world. There’s an old saying that “time is a gift.” Think of it as precious as a gift from a loved one, and you will cherish it with the same passion and importance.

3. Do I Accept Everything as a Gift?

There are plenty of other gifts in life besides the time that blesses us each day. What gifts are a part of your life? I’ll bet something like good health or a loving family was the first thing to mind. Positive things are easy to view as gifts.

How about the not-so-obvious or even horrible? Even something as traumatizing as a life-threatening car accident can and should be considered a gift. As Steve Jobs famously said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”[1]

4. Do I Treat Everyone With Respect and Kindness?

This is one of the most often-ignored self-reflection questions yet also one of the most important. You flip the bird to someone who cuts you off in traffic, you make fun of a total stranger’s attire to a co-worker, or you forget to say please and thank you to the cashier at the grocery store. Flip the script and imagine yourself on the receiving end of all the hurt, and you’ll see it’s simply not necessary.

5. Am I Being Harmful With My Words or Actions?

Like number four, many of us practice bad habits with things that are harmful to others, and we do not even realize it. Research on communication from Dr. Albert Mehrabian showed that we get 7% of the message from the words, 38% from the tone, and 55% from the body language.

Thinking of this before you speak or act really puts this question into perspective. Any word or action can be harmful if spoken with a harsh tone or offensive body language. Check your words and actions to ensure they aren’t taken in a harmful way.

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6. Am I Foolish?

Another important self-reflection is “Am I foolish?”

Mr. T famously said in Rocky III, “I pity the fool!” when asked about his upcoming fight with Rocky Balboa. He continued saying he pitied Balboa for being predictable and stupid. What are the areas of your life where you lack good judgment and are unwise?

7. How Wasteful Am I?

We live in a throw-away society where things are quickly thrown away in the blink of an eye. These wastes are not always material objects as we can be wasteful of things like time and energy. Before you discard anything material or otherwise, think of how you can fix it. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can mend things with the proper attention.

8. Am I in a Hurry?

We are too often focused on a destination that we fly through the process and don’t enjoy the journey along the way. We may miss crucial details, opportunities to learn, or experiences with others. A mentor once told me, “Don’t be in a hurry with anything.” These are wise words for all of us to live by every day.

9. Am I Myself in All Situations, No Matter What?

A lot of us find this challenging as we have our work persona and family persona. We are all beautiful individuals that are both flawed and awesome. Don’t deprive yourself or other people in your life of your “flawsome” self.

10. Is My Heart Open?

When you live with an open heart, you allow all the fantastic parts of life on earth to be a part of you as you connect with others in the universe. Don’t be afraid to be open to new possibilities in any facet of your life. You’ll be glad you did.

11. Do I Take Anything for Granted?

Unfortunately, we don’t often realize this is happening until it is pointed out by someone on the losing end, usually a loved one. Never take things for granted. Trust me, you don’t want ever to have regrets. By asking yourself many of the self-reflection questions on this list, hopefully, you won’t.

12. Am I Putting Enough Effort Into My Relationships?

This is another self-reflection question that others frequently answer for us by letting us know where we stand. Your answer to the question, “How much does each person contribute to the relationship?” should be 100% and nothing less.

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13. Do I let Matters That Are Out of My Control Stress Me Out?

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,” according to author and educator Charles R. Swindoll. This quote emphasizes the role our attitude plays in life and whether we are affected negatively by things outside of our control. The more you accept what happens and live by this quote, the happier you are.

14. Am I Taking Care of Myself Physically?

One could easily relate self-reflection to mental and spiritual health as it is considered internal. It’s important to remember that we are genuinely at our best possible self when our mind, spirit, and body are all running at optimal levels. This is enough of a reason itself without considering all the health benefits one gets from taking care of their physical self.

15. Am I Achieving the Goals That I’ve Set for Myself?

A wise man once said, “A life lived without achieving your goals is not a life worth living.” He was definitely someone who accomplished a lot in his life. Goals are not just something to write down at the beginning of the year, but they also give your mind purpose and clarity.

16. What Does a Perfect Day Look Like for Me?

The beauty of this self-reflection question is that you may answer it in hundreds of different ways throughout your life. This also makes the question extra special. Whenever you are feeling down, take a few minutes to answer this question for yourself and put more of the components you come up with into your everyday life.

17. Am I Holding onto Something I Need to Let Go Of?

At the center of this question, you will usually find forgiveness of some sort. When you answer this question honestly, you will realize that you need to forgive yourself or someone else. Please make this happen ASAP because forgiveness is one of the most incredible things we can do in life.

18. When Did I Last Push the Boundaries of My Comfort Zone?

Living comfortably may sound nice at first, but it truly means you have stagnated. To get the most out of life, you need to grow continually. So, get uncomfortable and push past the comfort.

19. What Do I Need to Change About Myself?

The subtly in this question is that it asks “need” rather than “want.” Many of us get caught up wanting to do things but never translating them into action. When something is important enough, it becomes a need, which means it will get done. Needs lead to action, and action leads to change.

20. Am I Serving Others?

According to Zig Ziglar, you can have whatever you want in life. You just have to help enough other people get what they want.[2] This is one of the secrets to an abundant life. Serve others, and both of you will reap the benefits of goodwill.

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21. Who Has Had the Greatest Impact on My Life?

Reflecting on one’s life would not be complete without realizing the impact of others. All of us have had someone that had helped steer us in the right direction when we needed it the most, whether we knew it or not. Acknowledge them in your heart and to their ears by expressing gratitude for grabbing the wheel when needed.

22. Do I Have a Purpose?

Ask any of the most successful people in this world what is the most important for them, and they will tell you that it’s not the riches, fame, or power that is matters—it’s purpose. When you have a purpose, you are fulfilled, and a fulfilled life is one worth living.

23. What’s the One Thing I’d Like Others to Remember About Me at the End of My Life?

This is a question that typically isn’t thought of until someone is at the final stages of life because it’s usually related to question 22. Be proactive in life and ask yourself this self-reflection question early enough to make that “one thing” your mission.

24. Am I the Best Version of Myself?

This question may seem difficult to answer at first glance, but it’s really not. Just ask yourself every other question on this list first, and you’re sure to have your answer to this one.

Final Thoughts

Looking back on these questions now, I realize my answers have changed since my accident—mostly for the better. I’m grateful that the life-changing experience happened nearly twenty years ago because it set me on a path of development and growth.

So, I ask you, what is your path? Hopefully, you won’t need an accident to answer that—you’ll only need the 24 questions above.

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Henry via unsplash.com

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