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The Good News of Being Over-Sensitive


Being a sensitive person is what makes us most human and reflects a high degree of intelligence and awareness. Some people, however, are overly sensitive (or hypersensitive) because it’s just one of their personality traits (i.e. they are biologically pre-wired to be so), or because of repeated negative experiences (or a combination of both). This extreme can put the beholder at a disadvantage and it becomes double edged. With more susceptibility to external influences compared to the average person, the hypersensitive feel experiences with an exaggerated negative force. This leads to some bad news and some good news to it.

First, here’s the downside of being hypersensitive?

Hypersensitive people are usually affected by criticism easily. They either may not know how to be assertive, or are fiercely reactive. Many times, they can plunge repeatedly in emotional tailspins. In some instances, over-sensitivity can manifest as paranoia and misunderstanding of others’ intentions as being hurtful or taking advantage. If left uncontrolled, oversensitivity can lead the person to social isolation. On one hand, and to avoid any possible hurt, the person may willingly choose to minimize interactions and even restrict forming new relationships. On the other hand, other people find themselves driven away to avoid tolerating the excessive and repeated displayed emotionality. This isolation can constitute a risk factor for compounding any existing initial anxiety or depression further. It is well known that hypersensitivity usually intensifies during times of stress, depression, and physical illness. So, does this mean that those hypersensitive are doomed to emotional distress? Not necessarily. There’s an upside to being hypersensitive. And if you’re one of those, then here’s the good news in case the above description put you in a panic mode.

Oversensitive people are not as weak as often is assumed. On the contrary: many just allow themselves to feel naturally; hence, are more in touch with their negative emotions (e.g. pain, anger, hurt, etc….). When well directed, this leads them to becoming more psychologically healthy than those who block their emotions. Another advantage of hypersensitive people over others is their high degree of empathy. They are the first to notice other people’s feelings and emotions. This renders them highly likeable, as they are kind, understanding, and least problematic. Furthermore, they are very caring, intuitive, and creative. The constellation of such traits makes them very deep, perceptive, and with a strong urge to be of service to others.

So how can you channel this sensitivity to your advantage?

–       First of all deal with your history (if any) of negative experiences. Talk to a specialist, vent it out, and, above all, truly forgive anyone who has hurt you before. Only then you can start afresh. And if it was your biological make up, then just accept it and make the best use of it. Keep reading.

–       Change your negative self-talk. All the disempowering noise roaming in your mind can have no bases at all. Monitor the way you’re thinking all the time. Exchange your thoughts with more empowering statements about your positive capabilities and strengths. It’s a matter of what you’re focusing on.

–       Be cautious in becoming an emotional sponge in absorbing other peoples’ low moods. Don’t confuse their negative mood with yours. Use your empathetic insight and communication skills to change any perceived negative mood in others.  

–       Learn to be assertive by being emotionally honest (if you’re not usually) with anyone who crosses your boundaries. If you keep swallowing up your frustrations, your sensitivity builds up at other minor incidents. Remove that block between your tongue and your heart in the pleasant manner you’re used to. Overcome that fear of being potentially disliked (you can’t be loved by everyone anyway).

–       Minimize your negative feelings when you sense these are spiraling out of proportion. You have a tendency to over-feel and you’re not bluffing. You’ll handle things better only when you remain in control of your feelings and thoughts.

–       Build your self-confidence. It helps to jot down your good attributes and strengths and resort to this list whenever you receive any criticism or negative feedback. Remarks from others definitely don’t define you. You’re the best judge of that.

–       Resist the urge to dig for what’s not working right. Do instead look for the good things around. And whenever you feel happy, stay there as long as you can. Be over-sensitive in that happy spot and capitalize on these feelings.

Doesn’t this make you feel better now? Just be reminded that over-sensitive people are often accused of being “soft skinned”. They are even labeled as “handle with care” by those closest to them. But those labels do not carry weak connotations at all. At least, and in moderation, as an over-sensitive person you can be other’s best company. You make others feel heard; and you can probably be the only one truly feeling the hurt of others in their dark moments. The above guidelines can turn things around for you when well practiced. Why not consider joining the helping profession and channel this oversensitivity the right way? You’d surely be a wonderful asset and amazingly succeed there. Give it a thought…..

 

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