Are you one of those fellow humans that get tired of dealing with people every now and then? I know I am (and you probably knew that too, if you’ve been following me on here).
Interacting with people can actually be pretty great. Almost all of my best memories involve at least one other person. And yet, every now and then, I want to take a break from people because they’re causing me pain. I’m not talking about major heartbreaks or life-changing events here, just the tiny little heartbreaks that happen on a daily basis, which I barely even notice when life’s going great. If you pile tiny heartbreaks on top of other tiny heartbreaks, however, all of a sudden, all those tiny heartbreaks suddenly amount to a pain that can no longer be ignored, especially when you’re a sensitive person like me.
Have you ever experienced feeling pretty low and then suddenly being honked at while driving a car somewhere, even though you didn’t do anything wrong? And when that happened, did you overreact in one way or another? Back when I was still driving out to the barn after work in the middle of rush hour, I cried more than once after another driver honked at me, simply because I was tired and stressed and everything was simply too much for me to deal with. Needless to say that being honked at wasn’t the reason why I lost it but rather the fact that I was completely overwhelmed by my emotions even prior to being treated unfairly in the middle of traffic. The reason why I’m letting you know about my stress-induced honking incidents is because they’re similar to the workings of the tiny heartbreaks. One tiny heartbreak isn’t so bad, neither are two of them. Ten tiny heartbreaks, however, will amount to at least one medium-sized heartbreak, which can already be considered a much bigger deal.
So imagine waking up in the morning, hoping for a text from someone you deeply care about, to whom you had reached out before you went to bed, only to realise that nobody texted you. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a minor disappointment – tiny heartbreak number one.
Then you go to work and find out that the person you were supposed to go to a meeting with won’t be joining you even though you had counted on their support – tiny heartbreak number two.
After lunch, you notice that someone you had contacted a couple of weeks ago never actually got back to you, despite the fact that your inquiry was of some relevance, and that makes you feel unimportant – tiny heartbreak number three.
Then you go shopping for groceries and the cashier (who, in all fairness, may have had a bad day) is very rude to you, even though you were being your friendliest self, like the people-pleaser that you are – tiny heartbreak number four.
Anyway, I think you get the gist of it. At this point, I’d like to stress that we sensitive people are not too sensitive! We’re just incredibly attuned to everything and everyone around us and we notice the slightest shifts of energy. We notice when you’re having a bad day and we always want you to share with us how you feel. We may already know what you’re feeling before you do, but we want you to tell us anyway. We also notice when you’re keeping your feelings to yourself and shutting us out, and this also feels like a tiny (or not-so-tiny, depending on how close we are) heartbreak.
The trickier part is that we want you to grant us the same courtesy. We want you to want to hear about our feelings and we want you to listen to what we’d like to share with you. It may be A LOT because sensitive people experience even the most ordinary situations quite vividly. I can assure you that I have absolutely no trouble turning the experience of running a quick errand into a ten-minute story and yes, I will definitely make you listen to it. Most of the time when we tell you all these “non-stories”, as you may eventually like to call them, we don’t expect you to solve our lives for us, because we got that covered.
We just want you to listen without judgment and we want you to know that we need to tell you all these things so that we won’t be defeated by an accumulation of tiny heartbreaks. Because talking to someone who cares resets the tiny-heartbreak counter. It gives us strength to face the next round of tiny heartbreaks that life will inevitably send our way.
Experiencing life as a sensitive person poses another challenge, in addition to the obvious one of being sensitive: sometimes the tiny heartbreaks are so numerous that I can’t help but armour up in order to prevent getting seriously hurt. This can be life-saving in the sense that it allows me to keep going through the motions for a little longer, but it also closes me off to all the good stuff.
All of this may sound somewhat terrible but I can assure you, it’s not! I actually like being a sensitive person. Sure, it can be an absolute pain in the neck every now and then, making me desperate for an off-switch for my emotions (and while we’re at it, my brain 🤷♀️). Also, people don’t always get me.
All the more reason for me to find my people, AKA the people that don’t require me to translate the essence of my being every single time we spend time together.
At the end of the day, being sensitive allows me to pick up on vibes and unspoken matters that other people may not even be aware of. It gives me a broad understanding of the world around me and I wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone else, not even for the occasional peace of mind that I imagine comes with being less sensitive.
Sensitivity is a gift and from here on out, I refuse to let anyone tell me that I’m too sensitive*, because that’s just not true. On the contrary, the world could probably benefit from a little more sensitivity from the humans who like to tell others that they’re too sensitive…
* Yes, that happened on numerous occasions.