Ever felt that you are ‘too’ sensitive. I grew up with people telling me that I was, and that I should not ‘wear my heart on my sleeve‘ as Shakespeare put it. Initially I believed them. It was difficult feeling so much. Later in life however I came to understand that my sensitivity is in fact an asset, particularly in my work with people.
I recognise that many of the people who show up on my courses and retreats are people who feel a lot and don’t quite know how to handle it. It can feel overwhelming. Meditation turned my life around in this respect. The calmer I could be internally, the more able I was to keep my feeling life in perspective.
Friend and colleague, Zoe Shobrook Fisher has written a beautiful piece on Sensitivity.
‘So being sensitive is what makes us human. It’s then what we do with our sensitivity, how we relate to it, that makes the difference. Feeling isn’t wrong, it really is OK to feel, to ‘unglove’ as Mark Nepo puts it. We can learn to hold our vulnerable selves with tenderness and care, like a good friend, who says ‘I’m here for you, no matter what you’re going through’. In many respects practising mindfulness has actually made me more sensitive, more body aware. I am more attuned to what and how I’m sensing. I’m much more likely now to honour my need to minimise the amount of time I spend in a place that overwhelms my senses in an unpleasant way, or where the atmosphere feels heavy or unfriendly. I’m careful what I watch and listen to. When circumstances allow I make mindful wise conscious choices about what it is I need, rather than what’s expected. And if I have no choice I practice the self-compassion and mindfulness skills that support me riding the waves of fear, disconnect or discomfort that may arise. It becomes more possible, sometimes, to take things less personally, less about ‘me, myself, and I’ – there’s a bigger perspective, the awareness that’s behind the thoughts and emotions.’
You can read more here
Image courtesy of Michael Leunig