Honouring our sensitivity Written by Brendan Mooney Psychologist
Sensitivity is often misunderstood to mean something that is meek, mild or even pathetic.
Perhaps many of us can relate to feeling sensitive as a child but as we grew older we became seemingly less sensitive under the belief that to survive in the world we needed to harden up to some extent.
‘Take a cement pill’ is a common phrase that captures societies general attitude towards sensitivity.
The truth is we are all by nature deeply sensitive, although we often use a variety of ways specifically designed to hide, dull, or in some cases completely obliterate our awareness of the fact. For example, we can use food and alcohol to drown out what we are sensing is really going on.
Whilst both men and women are by nature deeply sensitive, to what extent do we honour this throughout our day? How often do we choose to 'toughen up and get on with it' without considering that perhaps this is against our very nature?
Some common examples of not honouring our sensitivity include:
Pretending something did not affect us when it did
Avoiding talking about how we feel
Keeping conversations at a level we are comfortable with rather than going deeper
Rolling our eyes at another who expresses their feelings about something
Preferring to just ‘get on with it’ rather than talk about what is going on beneath the surface
Emotionally reacting rather than simply expressing how you truly feel
Some of the most common misconceptions about honouring our sensitivity include:
I’m going to lose myself in emotion
I’ll never get anything done
I’ll become a ‘cry baby’
People will think I’m weak
People who are sensitive just indulge in their emotional issues
I won’t be seen as competent by those around me
Whilst women are generally more at ease with expressing their sensitivity, it is often a big issue for men. But is it really worth putting on the facade of toughness in life when in the end we simply miss out on developing the depth of relationships we could otherwise have?
Perhaps it is worth considering that given we are by nature deeply sensitive, why are we not encouraged to be this way in society? In other words, why is there so much emphasis on ‘getting on with it’? Is it possible that there is an investment in keeping people unaware of their sensitivity?
The topic of sensitivity has often been misunderstood and its true purpose been lost to a modern world content on achieving and producing things. Whilst we may have taller buildings and faster cars today than at any other time, what of the depth of life we could have if we allowed ourselves to really go there with one another? Perhaps in the end the true quality of life we crave is a depth of connection rather than material advancement or greater productivity?
More will be written in an upcoming series of articles on this topic. If you would like to read more be sure to subscribe to receive email updates.
BIOGRAPHY Psychologist Brendan Mooney works with adults, adolescents and children. With a genuine interest in people's well-being, Brendan brings a warmth, practicality and an equality that supports clients to truly address underlying issues and blockages that are preventing them from moving forward.