In a world in which “nice guys finish last,” being a sensitive person has its ups and downs. Sensitive people live by their emotions, as well as the connections they make with others throughout their lives. While this can be a good thing during times of extreme happiness, it can also be incredibly detrimental during a sensitive person’s inevitable low periods in life. Those of us who are overly sensitive know are familiar with the following things.
1. You get offended easily.
The most innocuous statements can send a sensitive person into a downward spiral of self-doubt and worry. Because of this, people often feel as if they have to walk on eggshells when around you. However, this only exacerbates the problem, as you sometimes feel as if you’re being treated differently by friends and colleagues because you’re known to be overly sensitive. Even still, it’s hard to not be offended when a friend pokes fun at something you said or did, even if you know it was all in jest.
2. You’ve been told to lighten up.
On the same token, many of your friends and colleagues refuse to treat you any differently, instead telling you to not take everything so seriously. Of course, you know this is easier said than done, and if you could, you would. While someone might try to make you feel better by saying “Lighten up, I was only joking,” what they fail to realize is you now feel as if everyone in the room is having fun at your expense; especially once they realize you actually did get offended by a seemingly benign statement.
3. You’re in tune with others’ emotions.
Sensitive people are not just emotional beings themselves, but they also pick up on others’ changes in mood easily as well. When you meet up with a friend, you can immediately tell how their day was, how they’re feeling, and how the rest of the day will go with just a quick glance at their facial expression and body language. Being able to detect these mood changes in others is partly the reason you get so offended when others don’t understand they offended you, because you’d be able to tell immediately if the situation were reversed.
4. You’re empathetic.
Not only are you quick to pick up others’ emotional cues, but you often let their emotions dictate your own. It’s hard not to feel down when others are, so when a friend comes to you with a problem, you take their mood on yourself. Of course, this is because you want to put yourself in their shoes in order to better assist them with their issue, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve allowed external stimuli to change your own disposition.
5. You’re too polite.
Because you know how awful it feels to be shut down or otherwise offended, you’re usually polite to everyone. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can also lead to others walking all over you. Even if someone offends you, you’d rather ignore it and move on than stand up for yourself. This isn’t to say that being confrontational is a healthy alternative, but you also shouldn’t allow others to disrespect you whenever they feel like it. Doing so will only exacerbate your sensitivity, as you’ll constantly feel inadequate around those who use you as their own personal emotional punching bag.
6. You’re eager to please.
Along with being too polite, sensitive people are often too eager to please. Being reliable is fine, but people will start to use you once they realize how eager you are to drop what you’re doing to help them out. By putting your own life on the back-burner in favor of helping others, you ultimately help them get ahead while you end up getting stuck behind them. This is especially true at work; don’t make it your obligation to help others before you’ve finished your own tasks, otherwise you’re doing a disservice to your career.
7. You have trouble communicating your feelings.
Ironically, although sensitive people are very emotional people, they often have a tough time expressing their feelings to others. This may be due in part to the fact that they have a heightened ability to detect emotions in others, and they simply expect others to be able to do the same. This is most often noticeable in relationships, in which one person asks “What’s wrong?” and the other answers “Nothing, I’m fine.” Everyone knows “I’m fine” translates to “I shouldn’t have to explain to you what’s wrong.” As a sensitive person, you have to remember that not everyone is as in tune with others’ feelings as you are, and you’ll need to explain yourself at times.
8. You react emotionally.
Sensitive people think with their hearts first, then their heads. While this can be a good thing when dealing with interpersonal relationships, it can lead to disaster when logic is needed rather than emotion. A manager of a business might have a tough time reprimanding an employee because he is afraid of hurting their feelings, but letting the employee off the hook for a mistake made on company time will lead to bigger problems down the road. Emotional responses have their place when dealing with friendships and significant others, but there are times in life when emotions have to be kept in check.
9. You’re indecisive.
Since sensitive people are constantly being told to “lighten up” or not to take things so seriously, they’re often incredibly indecisive. This is because they don’t trust their own intuition, as they’ve constantly been told their own feelings and perceptions were incorrect. When faced with a tough decision, sensitive people often look at the negative consequences of both actions, and let this laundry list of possible negative outcomes hinder them from ever making a decision at all.
10. You take criticism personally.
Just like everything else, sensitive people take criticism as a personal attack on their worth as a human being. Unfortunately, doing so only serves to block them from improving their skills and abilities. It’s important to use constructive criticism as it’s meant to be taken, rather than a personal affront to your abilities. Take the criticism as advice rather than an insult, and you’ll be able to focus on improving that aspect of your performance in the future.
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