Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And Another Thing...

Expanding on a bit of yesterday's topic, which got me thinking.  I have FINALLY realized that I am a highly-sensitive person.  OK, I've known that for some time.  Except I used to think of myself as an OVERLY-sensitive person. That it was like a disease, and something I needed to get over or else I would never, ever be happy/successful/fulfilled/strong.
The thing is, it takes a WHOLE LOTTA STRENGTH to navigate this world with sensitivity, more so than it does without. If one is without large reserves of empathy, thoughtfulness, consideration, one feels less.  It's easier to get by without guilt, without caring.  Being selfish, not being thoughtful, not bothering to put oneself in another's shoes, all of that makes life a whole lot easier, I would imagine.
I made the mistake, for a long time, of assuming everyone felt things the way I did.  Of course they don't:we're all unique, after all.  And as I listened to the criticism ("G-d, you're so SENSITIVE!  Lighten up!  It's just a joke") I wondered what was wrong with me.
Well, as it turns out, NOTHING.  I'm far from perfect, but I'm also not the weak, fragile, not-living-in-the-real-world china doll that many have accused me of being.  In fact, I'd wager that if ANY of those folks switched places with me for a day, they'd run out the door screaming by the end of it.  They couldn't handle my life.
And, actually, a few of them have even told me that.  "I don't know how you do it" is a refrain I hear more and more these days.  It doesn't make me a hero, or special, or any of that.  But it DOES make me STRONG.  Resilient.  I've had a whole bunch of crap flung at me in my 43 years, and I'm still here.
The truth is, when people try to insult me, they're saying a whole lot more about themselves than they are about me.  I've said it before, I'll say it again:  Just because someone has an opinion of me doesn't mean I have to believe it. And just because I do things differently doesn't mean I'm wrong.
I spent way too many years trying to be what others wanted me to be.  To do things their way.  And ended up more confused than Sybil.  The harder I tried to make people like me, the less they did.
So screw it.  Like me or don't, I don't particularly care.  You have the right to your opinion.  But if you try to shove it down my throat, you're gonna find yourself covered in spit-up.
The simple fact is, most people are out for themselves first.  Putting their own interests ahead of everyone else, often including their own kids.  Fine.  But don't expect ME to be like that. I'm no martyr, but I'm also not a drama queen.  I save it for the stage!  :)

At the end of the day, I'd rather be who I am, sensitivity and all, than someone else. I know a good number of people who are successful, well-off, attractive, etc., but don't really give a rip about anyone else.  That seems like a pretty hollow existence, to me. I may be struggling financially, I may be fat, I'm definitely prone to anxiety and depression, but at least I give a sh*t.
For the time being I may have to live with the drama, the noise, the passive-aggressive complaining, the veiled insults.  But i DON'T have to let them shame me!  I have NOTHING to be ashamed of! And, finally, FINALLY, I realize that I am NOT someone to merely be tolerated, I am someone to be CELEBRATED. And whomever doesn't see that, well, that's their blindness, not a failing in me.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Here here!

I think that sensitivity is one of those character traits that has been unfairly stigmatized. Like many other traits, there are positives and negatives. But you don't see people who are "ambitious" or "fearless" etc apologizing, even though these come with plenty of downsides.

Glad you're embracing all the things that make you unique!

Charlotte said...

Ah welcome to the HSP club! This: "The thing is, it takes a WHOLE LOTTA STRENGTH to navigate this world with sensitivity, more so than it does without." is so true. And I know a lot of people wonder what the point is in having another label but I will say that identifying myself as HSP has helped me explain myself to myself a lot better and consequently learn to be more gentle:) Love you!!

Geosomin said...

I think it's important and absolutely critical that you realize that you are a sensitive person. I have a highly sensitive family member who does not believe she is, and feels that when she asks us for our honest opinion they should not hurt her in any way...which is quite impossible. She is, unfortunately, not strong, and not well mentally, so she could definitely take a lesson from you in how to be herself and still not fall apart when things are not ideal. Knowing someone is sensitive helps me to gauge how I act and reply, but something I've learned in my own life is if you go too far the other way and shield people too much you end up inhibiting people and treating them too differently and building unhealthy relationships with them.

I think it's important to be sensitive and to be able to appreciate the nuances of things instead of pushing through and trying to shut down parts of yourself to please others. I'm with you...I'd rather be more sensitive than oblivious. I am struggling with paying more attention to the little things now that I'm not brutally focused on just getting thru the day to get thesis work done. It's tricky finding the balance again...