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30 Jun 2011

Emotional Self-defense for Sensitive People (Pt 3): Self-Awareness

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Emotional Self-defense for Sensitive People

A commenter asked how people could become more sensitive if they don’t feel as sensitive as they would like? The short answer is through better self-awareness focused on four areas:

  1. Appreciate your own sensitivity
  2. Avoid “Do onto others as you would have others do onto you”
  3. Tame anxious and threatening feelings
  4. Convey that you’re listening

The sun doesn’t know how bright he is. To him every day is the same. I find the same holds true for sensitive people: they often don’t know how sensitive they are. Even the feeling of wanting to become more sensitive requires sensitivity. In other words, highly sensitive people could feel very insensitive if they performed even one insensitive act because it would weigh heavily on their minds.

Many apply the rule “Do onto others as you would have others do onto you.” I’ve found this extremely problematical because it’s similar to saying, “All people are like me.” Helping people from their perspective rather than our own tends to be better.

Anxious and threatening feelings encourage insensitivity. For example, other cultures often make us think about our own. This could create anxieties. People very different from us often encourage us to feel threatened.

Listening is an excellent sensitivity tool. However, listening is one thing, conveying we are listening is quite another. We can do this by asking questions, encouraging others to speak and summarizing for them what we heard.

Still, feelings of insensitivity can plague sensitive people simply because it only takes a couple events to stir them. Maybe a job or tradition lends itself to putting people in insensitive situations. Raising their self-awareness with regard to the four above areas will help to minimize feelings of insensitivity in sensitive people.



Series Navigation<< Emotional Self-defense for Sensitive People (Pt 2): The UnconsciousEmotional Self-defense for Sensitive People (Pt 4): Talent >>

7 Responses

    1. Thank you for the compliment, Nicole. In a rudimentary way, it’s playing the game of life according to their rules, constructing solutions to fit their view. Again, I appreciate the compliment and the visit.

  1. I think you’re absolutely right; it takes very little to make a sensitive person feel insensitive. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to get rid of this constant guilt that I blamed on being raised Catholic, but I think now that it is more about just that– being sensitive. Any little thing I did wrong or could have said but didn’t say– it lingered, and it wasn’t until recently that I was able to rid myself of it.

    I find this all very interesting, and I really enjoy your writing. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Christina. I’m pleased you find this helpful and interesting. I appreciate the compliment. If we ponder it, it’s very difficult to “feel” insensitive if you aren’t sensitive in the first place. Again, thank you for your comment.

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