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How To Overcome Emotional Sensitivity

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How To Overcome Emotional Sensitivity

Highly sensitive people tend to get their feelings hurt easily. Their fear of failure may make them less likely to take risks, and their heightened emotions may cause relationship problems. If you’re a highly sensitive person, take these six steps to overcome your emotional sensitivity.

1. What Am I Feeling?

Identifying your real feelings is an important first step in overcoming emotional sensitivity. Determine whether you are feeling disappointed, sad, angry, or something else. Once you have clearly labeled the emotion, you can begin to uncover the reasons you feel this way and what you can do about it.

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2. Why Do I Feel This Way?

Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. For example, did you have high expectations for how something would turn out and then became upset when it didn’t turn out the way you wanted? Or did someone say something to you that you found offensive?

Identify exactly what caused you to feel sensitive and why it made you feel that way. Often, unmet needs and unmet expectations lead to hurt feelings.

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3. What Would I Say To My Friend Who Had This Problem?

Most people are much kinder to others than they are themselves. Ask yourself what you would say if your best friend approached you with a similar issue. If you’re blaming yourself or exaggerating how bad a situation is, it can be helpful to listen to the sound advice you would offer a friend.

For example, if you find yourself thinking, “No one at work likes me,” ask what you would say to your friend who came to you with that problem. It’s likely you might say something such as, “I’m sure some people at the office do you like you. Just because you didn’t get approval for that project doesn’t mean everyone at the office dislikes you.” Then, use those kind words on yourself.

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4. Should I Address This Or Let It Go?

Determine if the situation needs to be addressed, or if you are better off to let it go. If your feelings are seriously hurt by a good friend or close family member, not addressing it can lead to anger and resentment. In those cases, you may need to talk to the person in a calm, diplomatic manner to clear the air.

There may be other times when you discover that you are best to just let things go. If you felt slighted by a co-worker or annoyed that a friend didn’t call you, you may be able to recognize that bringing it up may make things worse. Instead, you can decide to let go of your hurt feelings.

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5. What Can I Tell Myself To Feel Better?

Highly sensitive people tend to be hard on themselves and others. Changing the way you think about a situation can change the way you feel. For example, if your thoughts are focused on how unfair your boss is or how mean your sister is, you’re likely going to continue to feel bad.

However, replacing those thoughts with healthier, more balanced thoughts, can help you feel better. Try reminding yourself that everyone makes mistakes and accept the fact that others will hurt your feelings at times.

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6. What Can I Do To Feel Better?

Changing your behavior can also change how you feel. Try doing something positive that will help you feel better. Practice coping skills such as going for a walk, calling a friend, or participating in a hobby. Doing something enjoyable can get your mind off things.

Once you feel better, it may be easier to look at the situation another way. When you’re calm, you may be able to see that your mother didn’t set out to hurt your feelings on purpose or that you aren’t at fault for an issue at work. Taking a break from the problem can give you much-needed perspective.

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Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

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