Ever been told “you’re too sensitive”?
Ever felt like you feel so much, that perhaps it’s too much?
There is a term for these sensitive people amongst us – HSP. Highly Sensitive Person.
I’m one of them. You likely are too.
In fact, I’d argue every single human with a feeling body is a highly sensitive person (if we choose to be, more on that later).
But we live in a world that devalues sensitivity….
Sensitivity is a “character flaw”
In general western culture, the idea of sensitivity is (to my mind at least) often linked with ‘overreacting’. If someone suggests you’re very sensitivity on a subject, comment or situation it’s often polite-speak for saying “stop being too much”.
“Oh she’s just so sensitive about that topic, it’s best just to not mention it”
In our bid to avoid vulnerability, and emotional exposure we avoid the topics we feel sensitive about.
Those who are not comfortable with sensitivity are often the ones pointing the finger at us sensitive souls.
To me, the idea that sensitivity could, in any remote way, shape or form be seen as a personal-defect or ‘problem’ is abhominal.
Sensitivity isn’t seen as valuable as fact or knowledge
How often do you hear the phrase “what do you think?” Compared with the phrase “what do you feel?”
When we are sensitive it’s our feelings – to the currents of sensations, emotions & intuition alive inside our body.
As a Pharmacist I often would have a feeling about the best way to go about my work. And then, it would be my job to find the evidence & knowledge to back up that feeling. But as I began to mentor other Pharmacists & learn how other people work, I began to see this wasn’t a “normal” way to do this linear job.
No one else was putting these feelings first. This made me wonder if the way I was programmed was wrong & I began to develop this sense that I wasn’t a very good pharmacist because I didn’t know all the evidence & facts perfectly
Too much sensitivity = life is hard
I once had a client who found it hard to leave the house. She worked doing intuitive reading for clients and found after a full client day she was so sensitive to everyone and everything around her that if she left the house she began to feel too much, and it was overwhelming.
While you might not be an intuitive reader (I’m certainly not) the idea of the world around us feeling overwhelming is an experience most sensitive souls can relate too.
For several years I found the news to be full of bull-sh*t, dramatized, painful stories, and feeling the fear woven into our media was too uncomfortable, so I opted out.
I’ve come to realize that my ability to opt-out of conversations & situations that make me uncomfortable (“because I’m so sensitive”) is my privilege in play. Many humans don’t have the option to opt-out of a daily life full of fear, or drama, or pain.
Sensitivity is a luxury.
Yet most of us shun it.
Turn the Volume Down
This de-valuing of sensitivity leads to most people turning the volume down.
Muting or switched our sensitivity.
Forsaking this feeling sense so we can ‘get on with life’ and get shit done.
So we have to ask – is life truly better when you turn your sensitivity down?
Sure you might get more things done…. But are you getting the right things done?
Are you doing your doing in a pleasurable way? Or are you ignoring your bodies deep intuition & just pushing through to the next goal so you can meet patriarchal standards of success?
Sure it might take less emotional drama… But don’t those emotions have a purpose?
Are they not clues from your feeling-temple-of-a-body? And if you don’t embrace & feel them now won’t they just get stored up (& explode) another day/time/place?
Sure it might be easier to operate…. But do you really want to live a life that’s shallow?
Turning the volume down on what we feel narrows our bandwidth of sensation. Yes it might be easier to operate in that moment, but what’s the long term effect of narrowing your sensitivity? I’d suggest it’s a move in the direction of de-devolution.
When we lack sensitivity, we lack connection to the currents of feeling & sensations in our body.
We’re not just talking about feeling our emotions here either. We’re taking about sensitivity & feeling to SO many important dimensions & systems within our body including….
Feeling our physical body involves feeling all our basic bodily functions, cycles & needs.
Once upon a time I use to get frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs). For a long time I couldn’t figure out what the cause was, because it wasn’t any of the typical culprits. Eventually they went away but in retrospect I can see… I was prioritizing my productivity, focused in my work on getting so much work done, that I would tune out the physical sensation of “I need to pee”. I’d put that feeling on mute, or tell it ‘I’ll get back to you later’, and in doing so suffered a series of recurring UTIs.
When we’re not tapped into the basic needs of our body – our thirst, our need to pee, our desires for sex (particularly around ovulation for females) we miss so many essential-to-life clues our body is designed to give us.
Feeling our emotions is a huge part of sensitivity. On this point I’ll just say one thing. Feeling frustration is not the same thing as knowing you have a feeling of frustration alive inside you.
Labeling your emotions & putting them in a polite box is not the same thing as having a somatic experience of them. Sensitivity is about feeling, not intellectualizing.
It’s true we can be sensitive to our thoughts. Our thoughts create feelings & our feelings create thoughts in an attempt to understand them & work them out.
Every thought is linked with a feeling in your body – but are you sensitive enough to discern what it is?
Sensitivity to our emotional body brings together all the subtle ways life force is running through you. Call it intuition, or simply your deep inner knowing & wisdom.
When we are not sensitive to the DENSEST & physical of our dimensions (ie. the physical body) we have not foundation or stamina to feel the less dense & more energetic and intuitive of our dimensions.
Lacking sensitivity, or avoiding sensitivity, is the text book definition of dis-embodied.
Disembodied = Feeling numb within, disconnected from self, unwilling & unable to experience life with vulnerability.
So here are some hard truths about the reality of sensitivity:
- If you’re not a sensitive woman – you’re disembodied
- If you’re not embracing your sensitivity – you’re disembodied
- If you see your sensitivity as a curse, rather than a gift – you’re disembodied (and disempowered)
This isn’t a bad or irreversible state of existence.
Yes, there are some tasks that require us to just get things done.
But when we are lacking sensitivity & dis-embodied ways of operating become habituated & ‘normal’ for us, we’re living life in the shallows.
Sensitivity, when owned & embodied is perhaps the single most important resource we have.
When we are sensitive – we can discern the subtle threads of sensations, of feelings that provide invaluable clues to knowing our body, our emotions, our thoughts & our energy more intimately.
Learning to work with our sensitivity is a SKILL.
It’s the skill of “embodiment”.
Embodiment: Feeling & inhabit the body fully
Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn’t teach, or model, this skill well. Lucky we’ve got this space to speak/learn about feminine embodiment together, hey 😉
For a woman who never considered herself a particularly sensitive soul.
For a woman who learned the hard way how to feel more & feel more vulnerable.
I can say the challenges I’ve faced in working WITH my sensitivity have been profound.
In my body… Sensitivity brings more & more DEPTH to my day. The cyclic changes & needs of my body are now a resource, because I can feel them & work with them. I get more done & I do it with more pleasure.
In my business… Sensitivity & feeling is where I place my priority. Every decision, from how to structure my day to what to charge for my work is a felt experience of inner intuition.
In my relationships…. Sensitivity has birthed a new level of compassion & intimacy. The longing I’ve always felt for deep connection has been created with another, because I found it within myself first.
Right now, wherever you are on your journey of sensitivity, I’d invite you to acknowledge that it’s a privilege to be a sensitive woman. You have that privilege, please spend it wisely.
Please cultivate it.
And model it to the world.
If you’d like to explore a practice of cultivating greater sensitivity & working with your sensitivity in empowering ways, check out our at home embodiment practice called Primal Feminine Flow at jennaward.co/flow – it’s a beautiful practice to support women who desire deeper connection to their body.
So grateful that you’re here for this episode & I would love to hear any specific challenges that you have with sensitivity. Is there a situation, or area of your life where sensitivity is a problem? Let me know in the comments section so we can get specific & support your beautiful sensitive self fully.