Over the past few weeks I have been carefully examining the difference between being sensitive and taking things personally. Woof! It's a fine line! Being a sensitive person is a gift and a strength but taking things personally is a heavy burden. We often confuse the two: both within ourselves and with others. If you're reading this post there's a very good chance that at one time or another someone has told you that you're too sensitive- that's not possible! Being super sensitive makes you an excellent nurturer, friend, partner, family member, and counselor. Being too sensitive is not a thing just like you can't be too good at math. It would be absurd for anyone to accuse someone of such a thing and saying that someone is too sensitive is like saying, you're living too close to your heart. If someone says you need to get a thicker skin it is a way of telling you to build a wall and cut off direct access to your heart- no thanks! People tell you this when they don't like what you're reflecting back to them which is the effects their behavior.
The tricky part is knowing whether you are taking things personally or feeling sensitive. The way to examine this is by creating a little distance. My daughter went through a short phase of being afraid of bugs lately. We had many conversations around this fear by saying things like, "I understand that you're feeling scared when you see bugs right now. When I feel afraid I try to look at things like a scientist." We would count how many legs they had, look at their antennae, and guess what they were doing. Now when we go outside my daughter searches for ants and gets them to crawl on her arm. Creating a little distance when necessary can actually foster connection. Who knows what the fear of bugs was about but looking at things like a scientist helped take some of the intensity out of the whole situation.
I tried this method after realizing that I had been taking something way too personally. A good clue is feeling completely overwhelmed and consumed by a an old and familiar emotion. Depending on whether or not you believe in past lives this emotion, pattern or narrative could be ancient! Know what your patterns, narratives and karma is so that you can easily recognize when it's coming up for you. You probably have surrounded yourself with people who take turns reminding you of what needs to be healed. Hehe! I know I have and I wouldn't be able to do this work without their (er...) encouragement. One of the greatest skills I have gained through HeartMath training is to go from feeling fierce anger with someone and moving into a place of gratitude. I know this sounds like complete bologna but I promise it's true. My life's path would not be where it is now if I hadn't experienced people pushing me to demand better for myself. Thank goodness they did because I'm exactly where I need to be right now.
Stay sensitive and surround yourself in beauty. Enjoy the song that I thought Jewel wrote for me when I was in Middle School.