No, you are not too sensitive! Your sensitivity is a gift and you are okay exactly the way you are!
Nice sentiment, right? Something you wish you could believe? But not quite there yet?
If so, you are not alone. Before highly sensitive people learn acceptance, they way too often battle thoughts like these:
- I’m too sensitive.
- I feel too much.
- I’m high maintenance.
- There’s something wrong with me.
- If I could just try harder, I would be normal.
I wish I had a magic wand that would allow me to just erase these kinds of thoughts from your mind forever! Unfortunately, it’s going to take a bit more work than that, but let me share a few facts and pieces of advice that I hope will help along the way.
Reasons Why Some Of Us Are More Sensitive Than Others
The reason why highly sensitive people exist is that at some point over the course of human evolution being sensitive paid off. People with genes that make them sensitive survived until reproductive age and had kids. And so their genes lived on. Apparently, this has happened frequently enough that between 15% and 20% of people now fall in the highly sensitive category.
There are circumstances where it’s beneficial to blaze ahead and not stop to consider the consequences. But there are also circumstances where it’s beneficial to use a more cautious approach.
There are circumstances where you’ll be fine even if you don’t notice slight changes in your environment. But there are also circumstances where it’s beneficial to quickly detect changes in air quality, temperature, or mood, for example.
To survive until today, humanity has needed all kinds of people with all kinds of abilities and talents – including people who are highly sensitive.
But even if evolutionary theory backs us up, living in the modern world, it’s still all too easy to feel like you are too sensitive. And here’s why.
Why It’s Easy To Feel Like You Are Too Sensitive
Less sensitive people form the majority of the human population, and consequently, mainstream society and the lifestyles most people follow are designed with their needs and preferences in mind.
And the fact of the matter is that, in a lot of cases, we actually are too sensitive for those lifestyles. Following the mainstream lifestyles and living like most people do will eventually stress many highly sensitive people out to the point that they start breaking down.
So even if you have been lucky enough to avoid some idiot straight out blurting out the dreaded “you are just too sensitive” phrase, your own actual lived experience may have confirmed your belief that you are “too sensitive”.
But I would still respectfully refuse to agree with that conclusion and encourage you to question that belief a bit more.
How To Stop Feeling Like You Are Too Sensitive
If you want to stop feeling like you are too sensitive, here’s a question to consider: What standard do you want to measure yourself against?
Yes, you may be too sensitive to tolerate some of the things the less sensitive among us can tolerate, and yes, some of the less sensitive people may judge you for that.
But who cares??? Are these judgmental people the ultimate judge?
I happen to think that you should be your own ultimate judge. On what basis do YOU want to evaluate people? On what basis do YOU want to evaluate yourself?
Is the ability to not be affected by aggressive, rude, and thoughtless people the best indicator of success in life? Is it important to keep up, achieve, and tolerate until and beyond you reach your breaking point? Should life be a competition measuring who can pack in the most stimulating activities on the unhealthiest lifestyle? Who can be busiest on least amount of sleep and the most irregular meals? And who can go the longest without headaches while breathing in toxic chemicals?
If those are the standards, then yup, we are indeed too sensitive to succeed.
But those are not standards I can stand behind. I choose a different set of standards. How kind and compassionate are you toward yourself and others? How caring and thoughtful? What lessons are you learning about life? About yourself?
Those are the standards in my world, and for that world, you are not too sensitive.
You are just right.