It almost makes me laugh, because I realized something recently: I’m extremely sensitive. I don’t do well with criticism. I don’t do well with the wrong looks, or the wrong words, or the wrong tone – of course the word “wrong” is only according to my own opinion and mind. If I even for a second think someone has malice intentions, I believe this to be true 100%. Yet, being a social creature, living in a social world – surrounded by friends and neighbors and family and social media and the news – this personality flaw can be extremely frustrating and at times even debilitating!
Yet, I also would consider myself extremely forgiving and extremely strong and extremely easy going, so there ya go for a complete circle of how do these fit together?
At first you may think you have a multiple personality disorder!
I’m one to quickly forgive a news story about a murderer who is regretful, but then get extremely more upset about a misleading headline!
How do we deal with this? How do we not let these flaws (which seem tiny or big at times), conflict with what we set out to accomplish each day? How do we quickly move on and not let things affect our lives? How do we run past what has turned us around in the past?
1 – Identify and voice it. My husband is my best friend. He’s also extremely calm and an extremely peaceful human. He doesn’t judge and is good to talk to. And while in recent convo, I let him know that this is me! Once the light bulb went off and I realized this! I am easy going, and forgiving and fun and determined and strong – and yet super super hypersensitive, at times. Voicing this, and saying it out loud was freeing and it made it real, but what it also did – was it turned it into now a SOLUTION, instead of a constant unknown problem. The next time I do get quickly upset because of xyz, it’s okay for me to even say to myself: okay, you are being extremely sensitive in this situation – time to move on, or what can you do to quickly move on?
How cool is that?
2 – Practice forgiveness. There are incidents that come up to the front of my mind, when something else completely unrelated happens. Does this happen to you? If someone says something, and it makes you feel angry or annoyed, don’t you automatically think back to something else they said that also made you angry and annoyed? It’s almost because grouping the WHOLE experience with a situation or a person intensifies the current situation.
Yet, is that fair? Is it fair to say: Listen, this is what you have done or said the last 20 years of my life, and therefore, this text message right now is responsible for my massive (and perhaps absurd) reaction?
But this is what we do, at least us sensitive folks.
Can we separate this? Can we separate these situations that quickly raise our negative reaction time?
3 – Be as cool with you as you are with others. Ironically, when I see someone upset over something, or hear a story – most of the time, I’m able to quickly (in my own head) assess the situation – and realize – in the big scheme of life – this is a non-critical issue. I can advise whoever I’m with to relax and realize that – IT AIN’T NO THANG.
Can we do this with ourselves? I have recently started doing this. At first, my natural or initial reaction is to still get TOO UPSET, but then, I practice this and talk myself DOWN the crazy ladder, and say: “No big deal. This is no big deal.” It works.
It’s when your friend calls you and tells you why her and her husband are fighting, or when a friend tells you about her work situation. You can sympathize, you can understand, but you can also say: “Listen – relax, be cool, this will pass, just move on and give out more love than hate, and all will be fine.” All of this without raising an instant of your blood pressure.
4 – Lower the heart rate or raise it, the right way. I don’t practice meditation (I should), and I don’t practice yoga (I wish I did),and I don’t practice deep breathing (I need to), but I do work out. And when you can get really ACTIVE (like sprints or a fast bike ride, or running or something that makes you sweat), the hypersensitivity you feel towards something, decreases immensely – post workout. Even if it’s just five minutes long. Getting physically and metabolically distracted from your own woes – redirects your attention, mind and makes things all better.
If my husband and I disagree on something, and it’s one of those disagreements that you can let fester for a while and you logically know that 1 – You aren’t strong to get out of as is or 2- Time will make it better but you don’t have days to invest — I go for a run. I have to, and as soon as I come back, I give him a sweaty kiss, and ask him to move on, because no married couple with work and children and life has time for that!
5 – Play the other side. As annoying and obnoxious as it is to put yourself into another person’s shoes, while still on your own bandwagon, please do. This is probably the most humbling experience, and one that works the quickest, with the most benefits. It expands your comfort zone. It expands your humility, it lessens your hypersensitivity, it makes you human, it makes you realize that perhaps we are all hypocrites at times, and at the end of the day – it makes things so much better.
I am weary of anyone on either side of any argument who claim they are right or correct. It’s almost illogical to think that you are right, and no one else is more right, and that you know it all. And when you feel this way – it’s the best time to say: Okay – how does the other person, how do the other people, how do the others involved in this or that situation feel? Is it possible to feel what they feel?
Whenever I see something online, that is strongly one sided, I practice this. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a conversation, it doesn’t have to involve dialogue and it doesn’t have to kill or embarrass your spirit – it just has to teach you – with the outcome bringing only benefits.
6 – Lastly, don’t engage. Stop before you start. I noticed, that when my sensitivity starts to spike you have to stomp on this bad boy before it starts to grow a wave. Just keep moving on. And start running away from this if you have to. There are so many examples to this, and the best ones are our children. It’s easy to react when they do or something that immediately makes our blood boil. But next time – don’t. Just keep moving forward.
My son came home the other day, and I asked him to go wash his hands. And this child screamed on top of his lungs, and almost busted out into tears something like “Stop talking!!!…” And of course my initial reaction was to get upset back – and get frustrated that he doesn’t realize how extremely lucky he is to have two parents who welcome him home each day – and love him so much. But I did’t. I didn’t’ say anything back. I didn’t engage, as I could tell he was in that, “I just got home from school state, and whatever you are saying to me (regardless of the content), is just too much at this time.” And so I let him be, I walked away, and tried again a few minutes later, with better reception.
Sometimes, we can be most powerful in our lives, when we choose NOT to engage, when we let time pass, when we breath through an incident, when we make ourselves MORE uncomfortable by putting ourselves on others’ sides and talking our way through our hypersensitivity.
Having acknowledged that this is true of me, my personality, perhaps because of my upbringing or past – I’m determined to use this knowledge to become aware and use it to create more SOLUTIONS than problems. And that – my dear lovers – is a true gift!
Use what you have been given, and turn it into fuel.