Dear Soft Hearted Loves,
I use to walk in the world wondering why the little things bothered me. I wondered why someone wishing me a happy holiday for a holiday I won’t be celebrating made me feel different or why a wondering eye hurt more than it hurt my friends. I wondered how I can be so sensitive. I now rock the term sensitive. My sensitivity allows me to be there and I mean really be there for those who are in my circle. My big sensitivity allows me to be attuned to and with my clients. I often get thanked for my ability to tune in and really care. So now when someone calls me sensitive I thank them because I know it’s showing up as presence for those I love and for myself. I’m now deeply grateful for being able to embrace my big feelings and sensitivity.
I think acceptance of sensitivity became easier when I was able to identify what different parts of me needed. This came about through the help of many people, groups and parts throughout my journey. For example, if I have five things I want to tell someone about how they’ve bothered me I pause. I’ve looked at how criticism has poisoned myself and others and I choose not to pass that poison on to the person I want to confront. I do this imperfectly, but to the best of my ability on a daily basis. I pause. I breath. If there is something I must say, I say it from a place of honesty and warmth and I thank them for listening. For example, I pause if I’m hurt by my boss not hearing my cry for more resources for clients until chaos strikes. I talk with my spiritual guidance. I listen. I breath. I decipher what part of me needs to be heard and I lead with loving reparenting. I tell the person how I feel. I let them be heard too. And then I don’t revisit the issue unless there’s some action items to address. Once this part of me is heard I no longer have to protect so tightly through distraction, obsession, and other modes of protection. Now this is after years of trying to figure out what was wrong with my reactivity, to be honest decades.
Nothing was “wrong.” I am simply a big feeler and needed to learn to pause and listen to the different parts of me. Maybe they previously came across as angry, jealous, or sad. All of those experiences are perfectly fine. However, if I am consumed by an emotion or protector part trying to get me away from the moment then I don’t actually get to the part of me that’s in there hoping to be heard. I don’t actually get to see how hurt I am that my boss didn’t hear me and now our clients are not getting what they need. I just get stuck in the superficial stories of why boss doesn’t care about me, why they think I’m not worthy, or how no one cares. It can get pretty rough when stories drive the bus. The stories are often ways to block and protect from the moment. Presence is accessible through pausing and checking in with the body. We can reduce reactivity as we check in and see what’s really up. It’s one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever accessed and I can’t wait to share it with my fellow “angry”, fellow “sensitive”, and fellow “moody” people. We can hone our reactivity like a beautiful superpower. It may still sting your heart, but it’s powerful information and a way to gain trust within. I want to listen to me like I feel no one can. I want to be that lover, best friend, parent to myself and may you be all that for you too. I want us to listen to those parts inside crying for us to listen. It is of course easier said than done, but I believe the body will keep hinting if we don’t listen.
So the next time someone says or does something or doesn’t say or do something and you’re left in your feelings, put your hand on your heart and check in. Give it a try. You can try right now without big feelings. If there are any parts of you needing to be heard I’m sending them love. May you be you. See you next week for more on caring for ourselves a little differently.
2 thoughts on “Reactivity!”
I am very empathic and have been since I was a child. “You’re too sensitive” has been sued against me like torture devices, but like you, I learned to embrace and embody my ability to feel what others feel.
I thought it was really interesting how you also pause to decide if telling someone how your interaction with them made you feel would be overly harmful to them. While I think I do this sometimes, for the most part, I don’t want the pause to later turn to resentment. I need to think more about whether integrating your practice would be serve me and all of my parts because maybe resentment isn’t the only outcome. Maybe joy follows that.
Thank you for a thought provoking post.
I love learning about your journey with allowing the sensitivity instead of molding to people’s torturing comments. It sounds like you’re thinking of integrating the pause. Your approach to be authentic in the moment may work very well. I love your point about being you in the moment allowing resentments not to build! I think I may integrate some of this too.