Have you ever found yourself wondering why you are so sensitive? If so, you are not alone. In fact, "Why am I so sensitive" is currently trending on Google search as more and more people struggle to understand and cope with their sensitivity. In this article, we will explore what it means to be sensitive, whether it is a bad thing, and what you can do to embrace your sensitivity and lead a fulfilling life.
Being sensitive can be both a positive and negative quality. While it can allow for greater empathy and deeper emotional connections with others, it can also lead to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
Learning to tolerate distress, managing emotions, and silencing your inner critic are essential steps to developing resilience.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can be a helpful option for those struggling to implement self-help strategies on their own.
With dedication and practice, it is possible to live a fulfilling life and thrive in a more balanced emotional way.
Why do people become over sensitive?
If you are someone with high levels of sensitivity, you may find that seemingly harmless comments can deeply hurt you, leading to feelings of withdrawal and vulnerability. It is natural to wonder why you feel things so intensely and why people can be hurtful.
Childhood trauma can be a significant contributing factor to developing heightened sensitivity. This may be due to a difficult childhood where a person may have experienced critical or harsh treatment from a parent, teachers, or other significant people in their life. For many people, these experiences during childhood can leave a lasting impact on emotional development and can contribute to increased sensitivity as they get older. Other than trauma, some cases like sensitivity may also be due to a genetic predisposition, perhaps inherited from a parent who also has this trait.
The positive qualities of highly sensitive people
Although you may perceive being overly sensitive as a burden, there are many positive aspects to this trait, including:
- Empathy. Having a strong sense of empathy for others, leading to deeper connections and understanding.
- Self-awareness. Being highly self-aware, allowing you to identify your own needs and emotions more easily.
- Appreciation. Profoundly appreciating enjoyable experiences, such as food, music, and art, with a heightened sense of pleasure and enjoyment.
- Emotional depth. Being deeply moved by positive and uplifting stories, books, and movies, fostering a greater appreciation for the good in life.
- Gratitude. Having gratitude for the small things in life, as you are more attuned to noticing and savoring them.
- Care. Often excelling in caring professions, where empathy and perceptivity are highly valued and appreciated.
The drawbacks of being highly sensitive
While there are many advantages to being extremely sensitive, there are also certain drawbacks. For starters, overly sensitive people tend to experience emotions more deeply and intensely than others, which can be overwhelming and exhausting at times. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. They can also be more susceptible to stress and burnout, as they may struggle with self-criticism, setting boundaries, and people-pleasing. They may also be more prone to social anxiety, as they can quickly become overwhelmed or overstimulated in social situations.
5 key areas to work on to become less sensitive
If you want to become less sensitive, it is important to know where to channel your energies. Here are five key areas that can help you work towards becoming more emotionally balanced.
It is of the utmost importance to be able to manage your emotions in order to effectively deal with the negative aspects of oversensitivity. This involves being mindful of your emotions in the present moment and implementing techniques to regulate your emotional reactions in a positive and healthy manner.
Developing the ability to recognize and name your emotions as they arise is a key aspect of emotional intelligence. When faced with a situation, take a moment to ask yourself, "What am I feeling now?" Is it sadness, anger, embarrassment, or perhaps a mix of emotions? By pinpointing the specific emotions, you can begin to identify the triggers that contribute to your emotional responses. Remember that emotions are temporary and ever-changing. Remind yourself that these feelings will pass and they do not define your true identity. This awareness and understanding can empower you to navigate your emotions with greater ease and self-awareness.
Overcoming self criticism
Silencing your “inner critic” is an important issue to contend with. This critical inner voice can be harsh and unforgiving, leading to constant negative self-talk and irrational thinking, which in turn will affect your feelings and bring you down. By learning to identify and challenge these critical thoughts, you can start to shift your viewpoint and cultivate a more compassionate and realistic view of yourself.
To calm this critical inner voice, challenge any irrational thoughts that may arise. This involves questioning the accuracy of your thoughts and examining the evidence to see if there is any basis for them. For example, if your inner critic is telling you that you are a terrible conversationalist and no one is ever interested in what you say, try to challenge that thought with evidence to the contrary. Think back to times when you did have engaging conversations with others or received positive feedback on your communication skills. By recognizing and challenging these negative thought patterns, you can begin to rewire your brain to think more positively about yourself and your abilities.
Dealing with personalization
Personalization is when we take things too personally and think that everything that happens is our fault, even when it is not. It is feeling guilty or responsible for things that are outside of our control. To help correct this, it can be helpful to take a step back and ask yourself if you are really responsible for what happened or if it is just something that happened independently of you. It can also be helpful to try to focus on the positive aspects of a situation rather than blaming yourself for any negatives that may have occurred.
Learn to tolerate distress
Developing the capacity to endure distress is a fundamental element in building resilience. This means cultivating the ability to cope with difficult circumstances and painful feelings. People who are resilient are able to bounce back from adversity and adapt to change more easily.
To build resilience, you will need to practice self-compassion and allow yourself to feel down at times. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities, and use them to overcome difficulties. When facing distressing situations, it can be helpful to practice mindfulness and grounding techniques to stay present and centered. Learning to tolerate uncomfortable emotions is essential for building resilience. Practice self-care and seek support from trusted friends.
If you find the self-help strategies mentioned above difficult to implement on your own, seeking the help of a qualified therapist may be a helpful option for you to consider. A good therapist will guide you through the process and provide you with effective tools and strategies tailored to your specific needs. One effective therapy for managing emotions and developing resilience is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT can help you identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to emotional distress, develop coping skills to manage uncomfortable emotions and improve overall well-being. It is advisable to find a qualified therapist who specializes in CBT to ensure that you receive the best possible care.
Being overly sensitive can be a challenging trait to live with, however, try to remember that there are ways to manage and even embrace this part of yourself. By focusing on key areas such as managing emotions, developing resilience, and seeking support through therapy, you can learn to thrive in a more balanced way. With persistence, self-tolerance, and a desire to grow, you can turn your sensitivity into a gift and lead a fulfilling life.
- Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. A qualitative exploration of individual differences in wellbeing for highly sensitive individuals.
- SSRN. What does it mean to be sensitive? Serotonin, stress and the highly sensitive person (HSP).
- Frontiers in Psychology. Cognitive strategies to regulate emotions — current evidence and future directions.