I’m sensitive. I have been my entire life. I tried for years to deny it and always considered it an insult if someone called me such thing. I was taught that being sensitive is a bad thing. Realistically, the world at times makes being sensitive into a negative character trait. Look at the nicknames we’ve heard on the news over the last few years. If you feel strongly about something and voice your concern in politics, you’re suddenly dubbed a, “snowflake.” It’s as though people think all humans should consist of ice kings or queens with no emotions at all, or at least with no opinions other than their own. If they do have all the feels, they are too sensitive, wrong, and their voice just doesn’t matter.
I’ve been told to, toughen up, let it go, suck it up, you need thicker skin, or my personal favorite, don’t let things bother you so much. Right.
One of my kiddos is incredibly sensitive. Things just get to him, big and small. I found myself saying to him, “Dude, you need to toughen up.” Then one day, my own words just slapped me right back in the face. I was repeating those same phrases to him! He can’t help being sensitive, it’s who he is! It’s who we both are. I can’t believe I let something that had bothered me my entire life begin to impact him the same way.
I realized at that moment that it’s ok to be sensitive. As a matter of fact, it’s not such a bad thing at all. I’m not weak by any means, neither is my sensitive child. We just seem to feel everything around us more than others. And that’s ok.
Some days I may wish to be an ice queen. It may seem so much easier to not be able to feel anything and to just not care. But, that’s just not who I am. Maybe things do bother me faster than they do others, but at the same time I feel the good things all the more. I’m empathetic and perceptive. I’m aware of those around me, whether they are having an off day or not. I can feel their pain and by having this trait, I’m able to show them that I care.
I don’t want to change anymore and I’ll never tell my kids to toughen up again. I don’t take being sensitive as an insult. Quoting an old Jewel song, “I’m sensitive, and I’d like to stay this way.” I think it’s one of my best characteristics, my kiddo’s too. We all have our place in the world, the tough, the laid back, the outspoken, even the most sensitive. We’re all in this together.
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