danashafik123 asks: How can I be less sensitive?
Hi danashafik123 –
You know, it’s a funny thing, I think we all wish for that some times. We play a rough sport, and everyone else is fine with falling and being jumped on, but we find it hard because we feel more pain than the others (or because we can’t retaliate! Dogs do not like dodgeball!!!). Or something sad or hurtful happens to us, and we wish we didn’t feel so awful. Maybe our friends or family are even telling us “Get over it! Move on!” and we just can’t.
And so we wish we were less sensitive.
Now some people are too physically sensitive. They might have something called Sensory Integrative Disorder, or even a form of Autism. They can’t stand the loud noises that others enjoy in a crowd, or getting their hair brushed, or sometimes even just the tags on underwear! Now if that’s what you’re experiencing, danashafik123, you really want to find a sort of person called an Occupational Therapist. They are really great at helping to reduce this hypersensitivity, so that you can be more comfortable in the world.
But I’m going to guess that you mean emotional sensitivity. That you wish it didn’t hurt so much when someone called you a name, or forgot to return your phone call. You wish you weren’t always the one who cries at sad movies, or feels sorry for the homeless person other people ignore. Or whose heart just breaks for dogs caged in pounds.
Well, if there is a solution to that, I’m not going to give it to you. You know why? Because I LIKE you this way!! All my favorite humans are sensitive, empathetic, caring, and loving. And while I know it hurts to be that way, it’s that hurt that makes you wonderful!
But I will try to help you with something else, danashafik123. And that’s what to do if you’re being super-sensitive to the wrong things.
For example, let’s say you’re out with a group of your friends, and everyone’s throwing around insults. “You’re so ugly you have to wear two bags over your head, in case one rips.” “You smell so bad the garbage truck stays away from your house.” “You’re so clumsy…” “You’re so dumb…” etc. And every time one of them says one of these lines, everyone in the group, especially the person being insulted, laughs their heads off. But then someone says something to you – and you’re really hurt. Now there, it’s not that you’re too sensitive, but just that you’re taking their joke in the wrong way – not the way it was intended.
So what can you do about that? Well, mainly I suggest working at reading social cues. In other words, looking at the others around you to see how they’re reacting. There’s an old line I guess they used to say in Westerns a lot, where a guy reaches for his gun and says, “Smile when you say that.” What he means is that if you’ve just said something insulting to him, you’d better make it clear that it was a joke, or he’s gonna get mad! So that smiling he’s asking for is a social cue, that it wasn’t a serious statement.
Now what if someone who’s mean walks up to you at school and smiles and says something really awful to you, making fun of something really hurtful? Well, you could try to laugh it off. Or you could get hurt and cry. Or you could bite them in the ankle (I tend to like that one). OR… you could really look at why they said it. Are they jealous of you? Are they scared of you? Are they using you to look tough in front of others? With any of these, you can USE your sensitivity, to help them! “I know you don’t really think I’m that dumb. Why don’t we have lunch together, and talk about what’s bothering you?”
Now here’s the funny part. If you do that, what you’ll do is make THEM feel sensitive, maybe even frightened. And then… well, they might have lunch with you and really appreciate your friendship. Or they might feel embarrassed and avoid you from then on. Either way, the insults will stop.
And here’s the point – they won’t have stopped by you becoming insensitive; they’ll have stopped because you’ve found that your sensitivity is your STRENGTH!
Who’s your favorite author, danashafik123? Who’s your favorite singer? Your favorite actor or actress? I promise you, they’re all super-sensitive! Hey if Adele weren’t really sensitive, she’d be singing in community theater musicals or a church choir – not bad by any means, but not where she’s gotten!
So relish and respect your sensitivity. Just make sure not to waste it on comments, or people, who don’t deserve it. Protect yourself and let your heart sing. And your life will be so full, and so magical, you’ll never want to give up one little bit of all you’re feeling!
With whines and yelps,