Sensitivity is NOT a weakness!

Image from www.signatureln.wordpress.com

Image from www.signatureln.wordpress.com

“There are certain children who are told they are too sensitive, and there are certain adults who believe sensitivity is a problem that can be fixed in the way that crooked teeth can be fixed and made straight. And when these two come together you get a fairytale, a kind of story with hopelessness in it.

I believe there is something in these old stories that does what singing does to words. They have transformational capabilities, in the way melody can transform mood.

They can’t transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it. We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay. I believe we have always done this, used images to stand and understand what otherwise would be intolerable.” 
~ Lynda Barry

Has anyone ever said to you, “Stop being so sensitive?”

Or is this something that you say to your family, friends or children?

Sadly in our society sensitivity has come to be seen as a weakness by many.  It can also be perceived as weird, precious or a questionable excuse to engage differently or less fully in life.  Today I’m here to defend the right of sensitive people to be what they are – sensitive!

It’s considered that as much as 20 percent of the population have a high degree of sensitivity.  Are you among this group? Dr Elaine Aron, the acclaimed author of the book The Highly Sensitive Person has a self test you can do here.

You can also read through my own check list here: Living as a Sensitive Soul.  This list is more slanted towards those who are also aware of their own psychic sensitivity.

I consider myself to be highly sensitive, and I’m guessing that if you’re a regular reader of my blog you may be too! By sharing my story, perhaps you’ll begin to feel more comfortable about your own.

It’s no secret now that I’m psychic, but I kept a lid on this part of my life for a very long time.  It was a part of my life I felt the need to hide or downplay.  I was embarrassed and at times even ashamed of that aspect of myself. I’ve had psychic ability since childhood, although as a child my gifts were much less developed.  I was simply known as ‘sensitive’, and yes, it was something for which I was often criticised or punished.  It made me feel different to everyone else, and it socially and emotionally isolated me throughout most of my childhood and young adult life, although I did my best to fit in.

I felt everything deeply – I was profoundly affected by the thoughts, emotions and actions of others, and by the world around me.  Even as a very small child I had a strong awareness of emotion embedded in people and places, and often struggled with the differences between how people acted and how I seemed to ‘know’ that they felt inside.  I had a gift for observation, and I hung back a lot. I was quite shy until I was sure of my surroundings, although I could also be extroverted at times. And I had intense passion for the things that held my interest.

Image from www.chinatripinfo.net

Image from www.chinatripinfo.net

I wasn’t only sensitive to feelings and emotions.  I was also at times a ‘picky’ eater; I didn’t often enjoy crowds or loud noises, although at times I could find them stimulating and exciting; rough rides like the Dodgem Cars at the local show upset me; and I was bothered by things like scratchy jumpers.  I was frequently told to ‘grow up’, to ‘get over it’, to ‘toughen up’ or to ‘stop being a drama queen’.  In fact I didn’t make a fuss about any of these things – being the centre of attention, or drawing focus to my differences, was the last thing I wanted!

What I really craved as a child was acceptance, understanding, emotional connection and support, and to know that I was loved and safe. And who doesn’t need that?  Now it is part of my life work to make sure that people like you and I are supported, connected, inspired and included. I need you to know that you are NORMAL, and that your sensitivity is a gift rather than a flaw.

As an adult my sensitivity has become more refined and mostly more manageable.  My psychic ability has also become more overt. I have finally embraced who I am, and my life is all the richer for it. I get energetically overwhelmed less often, although there are some physical places (like Port Arthur in Tasmania, which has seen generations of violent atrocities and cruelty) where I find that I simply cannot stay for any length of time.  I can tolerate crowds, mostly. I have learned not to take on the energies of others. And I  honour my sensitivity – no horror movies for me!

I have found that sensitivity and increased psychic or metaphysical ability go hand in hand.  When you are highly sensitive in one aspect of your life, you are generally sensitive in all other areas of your life (yes, this can include food and chemical sensitivity too!).  Not all sensitive people are shy and retiring folk – being sensitive just means you FEEL and notice things more. And sometimes you may need to balance periods of being extroverted or social with times of being quiet and withdrawn.

So here is my Ten Point Survival Plan for Sensitive Souls.  If you feel that YOU are a sensitive soul too I know that these things will help you.  If you are the parent of a Sensitive Child I encourage you to support your child and to help them accept their sensitivity as normal.

Image from www.staygirly.blogspot.com

Image from www.staygirly.blogspot.com

  1. Eat well.  Favour organic foods, with an emphasis on fresh, local produce, plenty of leafy green vegetables and root vegetables, neutral grains such as rice, pulses and yoghurt. Avoid processed food and sugar. Some people may need to avoid meat.  Others may need meat to ground them.  Listen to your body.  If you’re especially sensitive limit wheat as well.  Avoid alcohol, drugs and stimulants.
  2. Rest.  It’s one of the best gifts we can give ourselves.  Avoid crowded places such as shopping centres and football games when you are feeling particularly sensitive or energetically vulnerable.  Avoid difficult relationships and people who drain, upset or unbalance you.  Limit contact with the crazy-makers in your life.
  3. Take a good powdered magnesium supplement.  Your muscles and nervous system use magnesium to relax and it we also burn it like rocket fuel when we are engaging in energy work and psychic activity.
  4. Drink plenty of fresh, clean water.  Staying well hydrated eases stress on all levels.
  5. Spend time in nature.  A walk in the park, a swim, a bike ride, sitting under a tree, playing outside with your dog, sunshine, dancing in the rain…
  6. Avoid chemicals in your cleaning and personal care products as well as in your diet. Avoid places that have a strong artificial or chemical energy.
  7. Embrace gentle exercise, especially those modalities that support body, mind and spirit such as yoga, tai chi and qi gung.
  8. Meditate and Journal.  There are so many ways to do this – choose what works for you.  Explore your sensitivity!
  9. Find a hobby.  Spend creative time on your own, exploring the things that interest you. Most sensitive souls are also highly creative.
  10. Accept Yourself and seek out like-minded people.  Give yourself permission to live authentically and simply be yourself. We all benefit being kind to ourselves and from having friends who understand us.

You are beautiful just as you are!  Every person has something to offer the world, just by being true to who they are, and working with their natural abilities. Much love to you, Nicole xx

44 thoughts on “Sensitivity is NOT a weakness!

  1. Hi Nicole. Thanks for writing this article on sensitivity. I can identify with these traits on so many levels. Now I’m learning to embrace this ultra awareness in a positive way… Karen T 🙂

  2. Oh how true this rings for me….I couldn’t tell you how many times I was told as a child ‘you’re too sensitive’ Now I see it as a gift and do embrace it. I feel that I also have to be more open and honest about my gifts. If we want society as a whole to accept us, then I think we (or at least I) have to treat it like something that is perfectly natural and not a ‘woo-woo’ event. Thank you for the encouragement. I hope that you are feeling better, Nicole..

  3. Another beautiful one, Nichole!! Sensitivity is not a weakness, it is a strength. Sensitivity builds castles and cathedrals, paints the Mona Lisa and creates the clothes we wear. Sensitivity fills our life with music, drama, poetry, food and love. All children should be sensitive children (and brave and confident with it). All children actually are those things until it is either beaten out of them or they have a witch’s spell put on them to turn them to stone. That is what the fairy tale witch’s spell actually is. It is the terrible thing that someone, sometimes even our parent, says to us at a young age that “freezes” us inside and inhibits and limits that part of ourselves unless we are released by someone else with the right counterspell or we are led to take the Hero’s journey to free our inner self.

    Singing is a birthright that we tragically put down, mock and prohibit in other people, in children and in ourselves. I am on a campaign against this. Sensitivity is the sister soul of music and art and we must champion her cause as well. Stay strong, stay brave, stay confident and above all, stay sensitive!!

  4. Great timing again Nicole. I was contemplating My sensitivity this morning
    And how much strength it takes to know yourself and not let the world convince you that you are weak. Now that I have the challenge of best guiding my son who appears to be even more psychic my example of accepting my sensitivity as normal is even more important. I’m wondering if you could blog about how best to work with a persistent psychic message that is unclear but tends to derail you for good reason but at the time can be potentially discombobulating? (yesterday) thanks again. Xx

  5. Thank you Nicole this blog really resonates with me. I was reading your words as if reliving my childhood. Yes with tears ! It is a timley reminder to be very compassionate to both of my boys and nuture them through what took me nearlly 45 years to embrace their gifts. Hope you are feeling better with much love xx

  6. This is a great post. That is so interesting that you wrote about this and I was just saying to myself that the reason why I struggle with so many things and feel so many things emotionally is because of my sensitivity. And I was saying to myself, I wish I could be stronger…I wish everything didn’t bother me so much. I wish I didn’t have to “deal” with everything on an emotional level…I wish I could be like other people and get over this stuff. But in your post, you bring out that this sensitivity is not a liability, it is an asset and it is a quality to be embraced and not ignored. Being anything else would not be embracing who I truly am. Thank you for this. <3

  7. “What I really craved as a child was acceptance, understanding, emotional connection and support, and to know that I was loved and safe.” Totally relate to this, as an adult i make time to give this to myself regularly. Makes such a difference. Hugs to you sensitive soul sista!! haha! sx

  8. “Even as a very small child I had a strong awareness of emotion embedded in people and places, and often struggled with the differences between how people acted and how I seemed to ‘know’ that they felt inside.” Ohhhhhhhh yes indeed. Same with me… And then even now when I try to say “I know you’re actually feeling/thinking xyz instead”, there’s flat out refusal. I used to also hate anything scratchy. I hated the seams on my socks coz they dug into my toes, I hated elastic waistbands, I couldn’t wear denim jeans till I was about 14. I also HATED woollen jumpers. My mother used to say “oh but it’s so soft!” but to me was just a scratchy nightmare. I STILL think that about even the softest merino wool lol. My husband was and is the same. Our little girl will grow up knowing that it’s extra special to be sensitive, and to be proud of who she is and what she can feel around her <3

  9. Oh my goodness, this is me!! I’ve always been a very highly sensitive child, and still am as an adult. I think what I find hardest now days is that I have no one to turn to for comfort and support. I know this is where I went wrong in my marriage – being very reliant on my (ex) husband. Too much so. And he left. I just feel an unbearable loneliness and isolation though now.

  10. Thanks for posting this, Nicole. Oh, yes, I am sensitive and I realize that I have always been this way. When I was exposed to rougher environments, I became ill. And when I was a child I couldn’t even handle trailers for horror films that came on TV and today, I can’t handle being around TV sets, microwaves or cell phones. I also hope that authors will stop asking me to buy and read their thrillers. I simply can’t handle those types of stories.

    I do everything on your list except I don’t know many sensitive people. I end up avoiding people for the most part, because they don’t understand my sensitivities. I also learn to laugh at people who mock me by asking me what I do for fun since I don’t drink, smoke, eat a clean diet and spend a lot of time alone. Though I know in the world at large, I’m not alone because there are others in the same large boat.

  11. Dear Nicole everything you said totally resonates with me and I am sure with so many.
    such gift to have you in our lives .

    glad you to see you are feeling better.

  12. As one who growing up was told to quash as much as possible and am now untangling the results, thank you. xox

    Also, what a post to come back with. So glad to see a corner turned, continue to take it easy. Don’t want those nursing assistants to take drastic (& possibly smelly) actions with you 🙂

  13. I so wish someone had embraced my sensitivity when I was a child. But I’m happy my Inner Child got to read your beautiful words, Nicole — Viva Sensitive Souls!

    LOVE YOU
    xoxoxoxox

  14. This is perfect timing for me. I’ve spent the past week or so dealing with the fallout from my strong sensitivity to a certain situation (something didn’t feel ‘right’ with a person in that place) and being told by many people that I was being ‘oversensitive’ or, yes, a ‘drama queen’. And then it turns out I was right, and was all the safer for following my instincts instead of following common opinion. It is hard, once you are labelled as ‘sensitive’ or ‘artistic’, to be taken seriously.

  15. What a great blog! Realized my HIghly sensitive status after reading Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person. Ironically I was reading it to help parent my child, and noticed I really fit the bill. I’ve always been told I was too sensitive, etc I always viewed it as a weakness. It’s only this past year that I’m learning to embrace it and to work with my sensitivity to energy through becoming a Reiki practitioner It’s truly empowering to view this part of myself positively!

  16. It was go lovely to read this blog post. I was a sensitive child, and am a very sensitive adult. My little girl is following in my footsteps and I will admit to being incredibly worried for her. Her brother is a box of energy and confidence, and I can already see friends and family members looking at my little girl and wondering if she is a bit precious.

    It’s funny as we had a huge day out yesterday, tramping in the bush, then rushed in and out to a soccer game at our local stadium. On the drive home my little lad was shattered but still a happy camper, where as my little lass was miserable. She was on total over load. What’s wrong? I asked, and she cried and said “I just don’t know.” She often says this, and I commented to my hubby how when she tires out, there is no way to cajole her along, you just have to ride out the low zone she’s in and get her into bed!

    Your check list and blog post make me realise that it’s not my job to change her, to shake her out of her sensitivity, but to help her feel safe and accepted. And perhaps work on that for myself as well! Thank you x

  17. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this post! I read Elaine Aron’s book years ago, and since then have been working to embrace, accept and make my sensitivity work for me. I also loved your checklist! So many of those things are SOO true of me. I feel I can learn a lot from your blog. I will definitely keep reading!

  18. Testify, sister! I’m honestly the most sensitive person I’ve ever personally met, at least physically speaking, and I’ve always honored it and seen it as a gift, although it can be very difficult as well. I’m incredibly sensitive to foods, for example, so my diet has to be controlled really carefully. And I don’t do noises, lights, crowds, or temperature extremes very well.

    But I can also sense auras and energies, which is a lovely thing that seems to really help people, so it all balances out in the end. Meditation is such a lifesaver in this regard – I don’t know what I would do without it. Really.

    Thanks for a lovely encouraging post – keep up the good work! 🙂

    P.S. Oddly I DO watch horror movies (although I MUCH prefer the supernatural scary kind to the slasher variety) and I’ve come to realize over the years that I’m doing this quite deliberately to tone down my sensitivity level a little – a similar type of therapy to one that you might use for a phobia, since as a child I was frightened of all scary things. I think it works, actually, but I wouldn’t recommend it to other sensitive people, as it’s probably just a “me” thing.

  19. I love this post!!!I already following all these steps due to alot of reading on the subject but I am still learning.I appreciate all your knowledge.I am still trying to figure out how not to attract emotionally wounded men.

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  21. I notice that many of the comments here are from women, in fact, most of them. It is interesting to note, that some of the most ‘hardcore, battle-tested” men are incredibly sensitive. I know first hand. We have been conditioned from birth to hold the depth of their souls from public view. It is a heavy burden and is seldom shown, but, when in nature, or when in solitude, we find ourselves… and cry… our tears are not from anguish, but from joy that is contained in the child within all of us.

  22. I have always found myself to be a very sensitive person- I am dramatically influenced by the emotions of others, even complete strangers and I have a hard time being in crowded places for this reason. Your tips are amazing- I have personally found journalling to be so helpful! Thanks for posting about this- people need to know it’s ok to be in tune with the emotions of others and how to deal with it!

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  24. I loved this post. I finally realise why I am like I am and that being sensitive is not a negative trait. My family throughout childhood called me “moody” but I felt they just didn’t understand me. Now I can accept myself in a more positive way. Thank you.

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  26. I wasn’t able lately to follow and comment as i used to, but I wanted today to catch up and go through all the posts I have skipped. This one brought me directly to tears. I see myself as a child, and I wish i can learn to manage these emotions now. I was so sensitive as a child that it used to even make me sick because of the circumstances we were living. i was criticized, isolated and then treated like a mentally ill person because of that. It got so bad that I made like a reaction and have blocked my emotions for very long years. They are back now, but It does make me so vulnerable 🙁
    Thank you Nicole for this post!

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  28. Hi Nicole
    I love your suggestions, I’d like to add ‘Be Kind to Yourself’, before I knew I was an HSP I pushed myself so hard to be normal that my body literally gave up on me. It took me years to understand why and even more to accept that I am different, that it isn’t my job to carry other people’s pain as if it is my own. That peace and quiet is good for me.
    Thank you 🙂

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  30. I must have missed this one. I am going back through looking for a particular post to send to a friend and reading ones I missed along the way. This post describes me to a T!!
    Thank you for the list. I have banged through and learned many of these the tough way already. Having them in list format is so helpful. I’m going to hang onto this 🙂 Thanks Nicole.
    <3 Mia

  31. I’ve just stumbled across your blog as I was looking for stones for sensitive little peeps and although I’ve never considered myself as sensitive I have always been very tuned in to other people’s emotions. This post has described me perfectly and your list outlines the things we have changed in our life to bring harmony and peace to our home. I am now proud to say that I am a sensitive soul and while most of my life has been spent finding a way to fit I don’t feel that I have to anymore; I am me and I fit just fine. 🙂
    Thank you <3

  32. Thank you for your article. I’ve always been told I’m too sensitive/oversensitive, and it’s really made me feel like I’m broken or there’s something wrong with me. I think, unfortunately, that some sort of resentment has built up inside me, towards the circumstances that made me feel like I’m ‘wrong’ somehow. It’s further been emphasised by being told ‘You can control how and what you feel’. It’s never been that easy for me to do, and part of me just wants to throw right back ‘Why am I the one who has to do all the work and effort? Why tell me to stop being something I can’t help, why not try being more sensitive instead of telling me not to be?’
    I do know it’s immature to think this way so I consciously try to rationalise that I should try to ‘control my emotions’, but the anger is still there. I don’t know how to feel and be confident in my sensitivity as it often seems to be my greatest flaw.

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