A Sensitive Soul

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has many definitions for the word sensitive.  One definition being, aware of and understanding the feelings of other people. That does not sound like a bad thing to me.  Don’t we all wish that people could be more empathic?  Why is it than, the word sensitive has a negative connotation to it?

I never gave this much thought until recently.  I had made mention in passing about my sensitivity in an adverse way and the person I was speaking with had a very different perspective on things.  He said to me, “Why do you say that as it is a bad thing?”  I was dumbfounded.  I never saw it any other way.  He then went on to say to me having feelings and being able to express them is not something to be shameful of.  I thought back to all of the times I had fought back tears in my life during emotional moments (happy and sad) or during a movie for the sake of no one seeing an illicit tear escape from my eyes.  I can recall the painful tightening of my throat in order to keep in the welling emotions that were stirring inside me, all so that no one would see how I truly felt.

20150101_180646I have been thinking about this a lot lately because my kids are quite empathic.  I was thinking about what had been said to me and how I viewed sensitivity.  I have to say it has made me quite uncomfortable.  I would never want to pass to my kids a message that would make them think that something about them was shameful or embarrassing, and yet even if I changed my perspective, I can’t help but think that society as a whole sees sensitivity as a weakness.    It’s funny because one of the things that melts my heart and I praise my kids for all of the time is how they try to cheer each other up when the other one is upset.  At their young ages they feel with all of their hearts and are unaware that by society’s standards they are not supposed to express themselves so openly and unequivocally.

I am not saying tomorrow that I am going to be openly weeping at my desk at work, but I think the best way for my kids to feel comfortable with who they are and how to express themselves is to model that emotions are ok.  If I can I can let the tears roll during a sappy moment on TV or if I had a bad day and I feel like breaking down a little bit maybe I should.  Instead of hiding my emotions and being embarrassed by it all, maybe it’s time that they see mommy cries too.  With that said there is a time and a place for everything.  In time I think they can grasp and understand that crying to their boss that they spilled coffee on themselves is not appropriate, but at least they can feel more comfortable with owning their feelings instead of being ashamed of them.


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