Monday, July 22, 2013

You're sensitive? Me too. I've learned to embrace sensitivity as a gift

Interesting the interaction I just had with a lady at Starbucks. This lady was one person in line ahead of me. The lady directly in front of me turned to me and asked me if I had the time. I said I didn't know without rummaging for my phone to check. She told me that's okay. The lady in front of her turned and "randomly" said to her,  "I think it's about 12:45." The lady who 1st asked for the time took off right then. Curious, I reached for my phone and saw that it was exactly 12:45. I spoke out to the woman and said, "you're right, it is 12:45". "That's weird," she said. "Not to me," I said. "I'm empathic so I often get those kinds of feelings." "What's empathic?" inquired this lady. Then it dawned on my the purpose of my conversation.

I've been coming across A LOT of empathic people lately. I feel this is a combination that I've become more open then I've ever been about my abilities along with my heartfelt desire to connect more with others like me. In the past, I wouldn't have mentioned this ability for fear of being seen like a nut job to this person. She may have thought that I was but I pursued the conversation regardless. I explained to her that empaths have heightened sensitivity to feelings. I asked if she felt this was true of her. She replied, "Well, I'm sensitive but I always thought that was because I'm a mommy." I didn't respond directly to her supposition that what makes her more sensitive is being a mom. Having had both an insensitive mother and grandmother, that's not my own personal experience that motherhood heightens your sensitivities. (Though I have witnessed women I felt who have had an overly hard exterior soften after becoming moms). Motherhood doesn't mean you can pick up on information like knowing the time. That's someone in my opinion that has heightened sensitivity (or highly sensitive).

When I say "heightened sensitivities" I mean being open to information in the "ether". And what I mean by "information in the ether" is that there's universal communication always going on around us. The universe is always speaking and if you have your radar on, you can pick things up. This is what sensitives know. Ask one, if you're not one, and they will tell you. :) Some of us are more tuned into it than others.

When I have this kinds of conversation, or what I like to think as an "universal encounter" I shift up my energy level so that I'm in the universal space of consciousness. It's from this place where I can to tune into someone's energy. In this case, I was determining this woman's empathic ability. I felt she had this ability so I asked her what she did for a living. She said she worked with special needs kids, some of whom were autistic. I asked if she could feel what their needs were even with the kids who weren't able to speak. She replied she had "non verbal kids" and she felt she could sense their needs. I shared my feeling that she was uniquely gifted to work in this capacity because she could communicate her students' feelings if they couldn't verbally express themselves. I'm tearing up just thinking about this & how wonderful she could use her empath skills in this way!

The flip side of being an empath is that we can pick up so much of someone else's energy, it can fatigue us. This lady told me she's an insomniac and gets about 4 hours of sleep. I felt myself "full of advice" to share about how she could protect her energy but I also could feel the wall, the wall the woman began to put up between us. When I feel a wall I know that I've reached my limit with a person. I pulled myself away & went on with my business. I don't know what she'll take from this conversation. She may just forget all about it -and if what I shared doesn't work for her, I feel she should drop what I said. I felt the purpose of the conversation was to validate that her sensitivities & that her abilities serve a purpose which she's uses to "great effect".

Being sensitive I'm sensitive to other sensitives who may have gotten a bad rap from others about being "too sensitive".  I've had a fair share of complaints from family and "friends" that I'm too sensitive. They threw this at me when I reacted to a comment I felt was piercingly unkind. But rather than take responsibility for what was said by the person who said it, they laid it on me that my hurt feelings were my fault. And with negative piled on negative I hated my sensitivity until I had the realization that being sensitive is actually a beautiful trait. And not only was it beautiful that I can connect with more emotional depth than most people, these same people who shamed me for my sensitivities also benefited from my abilities. I could tune into their feelings and feel their feelings and know where they came from. I got angry after that realization because I realized that I didn't honor or respect my abilities, and that being sensitive served a purpose. It wasn't something to be embarrassed about or hide. And when I finally accepted myself and my abilities I began to explore what I could using my own gifts.

I have to give credit my one of my Twitter friends, Helen E. for helping me cope with my sensitivities. She inspired me because she didn't hide that she's highly sensitive. She embraced it. She even puts out a Twitter journal called "I'm a little sensitive." I admit I was concerned about following another highly sensitive person on Twitter because I didn't want to risk offending her. One of the downsides of my sensitivity is that I can feel the hurt of others so if someone is highly sensitive, a red flag goes up. Of all the time I've followed Helen, I've NEVER had any difficulty. Unlike others where I've felt a burst of emotional flame, we've always had good communication. And what I took from that is this: in her act of embracing herself, she doesn't hide who she is, or makes excuses like I had been doing. I admired and felt inspired by this self-acceptance.

I admit there was a part of me that wanted to pass on the feel good energy of "feel good about being an empath" to this lady today. Maybe she needed it. Maybe it was projection. But I felt something. And I know my abilities. If there's a feeling, I trust it now. And rather than "tough it out" meaning smash down my feelings like others do, I embrace them and go with the emotional flow.

I told the lady it was really nice meeting her and it was. If anything else, I had a connection and in that is a good experience on any given day.


3 comments:

OSMA said...

I enjoyed this post so much. A fellow empath here, raising an empath boy. He suffers much from his sensitivities now but I'm trying to help him embrace them in the way you describe. You have a new reader in me. Thank you for your bravery.

Jen Pearlman said...

Thank you for your comment Osma! It really made my day. The empath gift is truly beautiful. You've inspired me to write about how I learned to protect my energy. Take care & I wish your son the best!

Katie Doyle said...

sensitivity sucks sometimes, for sure. i feel you.