To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness.
– Anthon St. Maarten
Growing up, I was that girl who would easily find myself grumpy at the simplest situations. I couldn’t stand the sounds of people chewing loudly at a restaurant or indulging in loud talks or even whispering to one another. It would just sweep my mind to endless thoughts, and I would get tangled in toxic emotions. By the end of the day, my face would twitch into an unhappy expression if I wouldn’t be able to interpret all the experiences I had encountered. This would leave me drained, upset, and heavy at heart.
I would get easily offended at everything, take things personally at times, imagine people talking about me behind my back. At other times, my mood would swing like a pendulum between the extremities of happiness and sadness. All this would leave me overwhelmed, and I would push myself to delve deeper into questions like:
“Why am I so different ?”
“Why can’t I just be like the rest of my friends?”
“Why did his words matter so much to me?”
“Why did I feel so disturbed at the party last night?”
My questions would swirl on and on.
I tried to fit into my friend circle by going out to late-night parties with them, dancing to loud music, even though I found the disco lights overwhelming and intimidating. Despite having no interest, I tried to participate in their discussions about movies and celebrities, pretending like I was at par with their knowledge. I learned to enjoy listening to pop music and going to cinemas to watch the latest movies. I dived into group discussions and social interactions at every opportunity; going for coffee with the girls over the weekends, learning to use swear words in public like others, and so much more. I tried to keep myself busy with dance classes, gym, and cocktail parties else, my wounds that were forming beneath the surface would reappear and leave me gloomy and nervous. I just knew that I was different from the people around me, and that was something I had to keep under wraps.
All the sudden changes I made in my life to be like everyone else left me emotionally drained. I would wear a fake smile even if I was deeply hurt by someone’s harsh comments. At night, I would sob and shed tears to myself, recalling every moment the pain had pricked me through. Life would be miserable and lonely. I would spend hours pondering over how people could be so rude and insolent. All this would just leave me more upset as I would have no option but to hold myself responsible for the wrong that happened to me.
Many years have flown by, and now I have learned to embrace my identity as a highly sensitive person. I have learned to provide an outlet for my feelings and let loose the devils that continue to haunt me all the time. I cry when I am exasperated and intimidated, even if it’s in public. I’m no more ashamed to do so, nor do I fear being ridiculed or laughed at. I love my personality and the beautiful person it has molded me into.
Yes, I consider being sensitive as an admirable quality because we have the capability to feel emotions acutely and process information deeply. It’s more like a blessing in disguise. We stand out from the crowd in several ways. We possess the ability to sympathize with people and relate to what people are going through. We can have the rare ability to experience things at a deeper level and appreciate them like the chirping of birds, the steady flow of water, the whispering of leaves on a windy day, the fragrances, or even the shades of nature.
The day I realized my superpowers, I mustered the courage to fix my fragile heart, tear away my fake smile and let go of things that were fretting me.
The transformation was challenging because I had to learn to be honest and authentic after spending my whole teenage life pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I learned to say “no” when I didn’t have time for others and avoided watching scary movies and violent TV shows.
Instead, I learned to spend time with myself, going out for a walk in the garden on a calm morning, and listening to the chirping of birds. I learned to avoid talking and stay away from people who overstimulated my emotions.
That’s also when I started working on my writing skills by reading books of various genres so that it would enable me to pen down my thoughts and share my story with the world one day. I painted, I sang, I wrote – I did everything that would keep my head and spirits high.
I learned to surround myself with people who would accept my authentic self, respect my emotional boundaries, and encourage me to be the person I am. I still empathize with people, feel things deeply, and cry easily — after all, being highly sensitive isn’t something you can change. But I’ve learned to embrace who I am.
Having discovered my rare abilities and the way it makes me stand out from the rest of the crowd will never want me to pretend ever again or be like others.
I have finally found a sense of peace and self-acceptance. I never thought I could be the true person I am in this fast-paced world where we are bombarded with countless emotions every second.
My message to all the HSP’s out there:
You don’t have to pretend to be someone that you are not. You don’t have to fake a smile or laugh forcefully. There’s beauty that lies within your heart: be sensitive, be caring and be YOU!