Have you ever noticed how it’s very often the most insensitive people who are the most sensitive? How they can be insensitive to others feelings but are really sensitive themselves?
Well it may not come as a surprise that the two go together.
When you’re sensitive, there’s sometimes just too much stuff coming in. Too much noise, light, activity, emotion (yours and other people’s).
So you block it out. You numb down. You go INsensitive.
You go insensitive to other people. You tread on toes. You make a comment that comes out ruder than intended. Or you didn’t even realise it could be rude or hurtful. And you get into trouble.
The people you’ve hurt in one of your numbed-out phases then have a go at you. You’re under attack. You batten down the hatches and retreat, wondering why everyone has it in for you.
Turning on your sensitivity, you find your own pain, emotions and irritations (the things that caused you to numb-out in the first place). But you also have to deal with the outside attacks, and the inside hurt they caused.
It’s all too much.
So you stay numb, tuning out your own experience, the outside world, everything. You retreat into your rational intellect and declare that you “don’t do emotions”. The path to depression, anxiety, living in robot-mode.
Or you explode in a cathartic mess of emotions, reach neutral and start the cycle again, with those around you even more wary of your moods, explosions and insensitivity. And you don’t trust yourself to keep your temper either, so even you’re scared of yourself, if you really admit it.
Or you get into angry protestations at some outside enemy: the state, politics, environmental change, or animal testing, throwing your unresolved emotions at an external target.
But there’s another way to deal with it. It’s a long, slow journey, but with dedication and support (from a trusted, emotionally-literate friend, coach or counsellor), you get to a place of peace with and in yourself, with enough sensitivity to be alive to your world and the worlds of other people, and enough self-management that you don’t get overwhelmed and begin the crazy cycle again.
This is the journey of discovering your sensitivities. Of understanding yourself more. Of understanding others. Of feeling, experiencing, and letting emotions pass through you, instead of stuffing them into hiding places or exploding them messily. Of awareness and compassion.
How much do you tune out your sensitivities? What are you missing out on?