I used to *HATE* when people would call me “sensitive”, or better yet too sensitive. That just felt like the way I was and it always felt like something I couldn’t help but be.
For a highly social and sociable kid I was already a writer and bookworm in elementary school. I was always feeling, always worried about the kids getting picked on in school, always watching or reading scenes on TV and in books — and then feeling them so deeply within me.
On more than one occasion my mom would have to tell me “it’s just a movie,” … even to this day.
And I learned to hate how I felt, in a way, I learned to be ashamed of how I perceived the world around me. And in a way I learned how to be “tough” aka wear a mask.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized what a beautiful gift it was to be sensitive and how truly brave it is to wear your heart on your sleeve. How amazingly honest and authentic it is to feel, wholly, completely, with your whole being. How incredible it is to care so much and not only care but also act on that feeling – to love deeply and madly in this chaotic world – and yes, to love myself even too.
When I was about 9 years old I moved away from my home in New York, from my family and friends, from a place that was so familiar to me – a place that still feels like home 15 years later due to the loved ones still in NY. My family moved to Michigan for my dad’s work.
It was a major life change, one that took a while to process. But between bike rides, soccer, Destination Imagination (some people may claim that as nerd status – but I swear we were cool), school, and neighborhood kids we made a new home in MI. That was up until September 11, 2001 happened.
On that day everything changed for me, for us all. I held out hope for a very very very very very long time that my uncle would be miraculously found alive amidst the rubble that once was the WTC. I held up through weekends away in NY, memorial services, and ultimately a funeral. I held myself together as my whole world fell apart.
I. FELT. EVERYTHING.
And I tried desperately not to let any of it out. Sure, I cried myself to sleep a bunch and cried at different times, but for the most part I shoved all of that pain and hurt and sorrow down deep. And I felt more deeply than I even realized — deeper than I’d ever understand until I went through yoga teacher training last year. I felt the feelings of everyone around me, too.
During my yoga teacher training I realized two very important things about myself:
1.) I am a highly sensitive person
2.) I am a huge empath
After learning and reading up a little bit about highly sensitive people and empaths I finally understood why my life has been the way it’s been – it was like a light bulb went on!
One of the best parts was knowing that I wasn’t alone on this planet – that it was OK for me to feel and that there were other people who would just “get it”.
I no longer had to pretend like everything was OK, to be some overly confident jerk who would numb my life but whatever means necessary. I didn’t have to be a hotshot, I didn’t have to drink to suppress my emotions, I didn’t have to be anyone but myself.
And I hope you know that, too. I hope you know you’re awesome the way you are.
For any other sensitive souls out there, keep on keeping on. You’re going to change this world 🙂
Much love! ❤