Little Appu was confused. He was 12 years of age. People around him always told him not to cry for the silly and small things in life. Appu would always be moved to tears whenever he was hurt, witnessed an emotional scene in a movie, saw an injured dog or a person in pain. He was told that he needs to be strong and, as a boy, he should not be crying. Appu questioned himself, “What if I am a boy!” Shouldn’t I cry? Shouldn’t I express how I feel what others are feeling?” Eventually Appu learnt to hide his tears and control his emotions because he feared his parents and the society will not tease him. Gradually he forced himself on working towards controlling his feelings and sensitivity towards many things. As Appu went on to be an adult, he became less sensitive to a lot of situations…. he thought he had become stronger. He was now working, married and an independent individual. His wife was soft spoken and very sensitive in nature. She was very empathetic and sometimes used to cry seeing others in pain. Appu was upset with his wife crying and he became very aggressive and reacted badly when she cried. But he was also confused, because he used to be that sensitive boy and knew what it was to be empathetic and sensitive.
Is being a sensitive person wrong in today’s world? Is it a strength or a weakness? Are we all not in Appu’s situations in our lives? Aren’t we all confused too? Is it really wrong and why do we call a person ‘weak’, ‘spineless’ or ‘not man enough’ when he expresses his emotions? Sensitivity is often seen as a weakness, especially when a person is under stress. Sensitive persons when overwhelmed by too much stress or pressure, tend to get emotional and need to escape the stressful environment. Sensitive people often express their feelings, both good and bad, leaving others to think they are overreacting and the intensity looks like they are just not coping well. It may become worse, when the sensitive person views himself in the same way as others perceive him to be; not as tough as others. These feelings can easily decrease self-esteem and personal capabilities.
Look at highly sensitive persons like Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt and Swami Vivekananda. Did any of them consider themselves as being weak? They went through a lot of difficult situations by fighting it out in sensitive ways, allowing themselves to understand those situations in the best way. They get through it by being completely themselves and using their highly sensitive traits to the fullest.
The truth is that sensitivity is an enormous inner strength of a person to understand/value his own feelings and recognizing the feeling another person is going through.
A sensitive person is often intuitive, creative and a good listener. He or she always has a sense of:
Awareness: An understanding of his own feeling and others’ feelings will give a sensitive person the full privilege to handle the situations rightly.
Empathy: This trait of “being in the other person’s shoes to understand his/her situation” will make a sensitive person easily connected to others, and establish strong bonds.
Appreciation: A sensitive person will be able to easily recognize the positive traits of others. So, he naturally appreciates the good things happening around him. This will keep the sensitive person happy and joyous in everyday activities.
“Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength” | Brigitte Nicole
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AUTHOR: Nagesh, Lead Counsellor