If you are an empath or kind soul, you have likely heard the refrain, “you’re too sensitive” once in your lifetime (or often). It can be confusing to navigate if that is true, or if the other person is simply blaming or projecting.
The fact that you are even asking this question, am I too sensitive or are they mean (or critical or controlling or insensitive, etc), shows your self-awareness and desire to have healthy relationships. Let’s explore this question from a few angles.
Are You Overly Sensitive, Or Being Manipulated?
If someone says you’re too sensitive, it might be a manipulation tactic. Being told this, especially by someone you care about or are in a relationship with, can induce feelings of shame and insecurity. You may wonder, what did I do wrong? Are they mad at me? Will they leave?
As an empath, you may find yourself going into people pleasing mode. AKA, over-giving or taking responsibility that is not yours. This is also called the “fawn” response in psychology, meaning your default stress or conflict reaction is to defer to or appease the other person.
One way to evaluate what is really going on is to look at the context and prior interactions with this person. If he or she has been consistently good to you, or not good to you, you get a lot of information there. Watch people’s actions more so than their words. Are they considerate and do you feel safe? Listen to your intuition. Reaching out to a trusted confidante to get a neutral perspective can help too.
You’re Not Too Sensitive
Sensitivity is an innate trait. It’s a continuum, like most things, and some people have more of it naturally. There is an actual part of the population, estimated between 1 and 20 percent, who are more sensitive than the average person. Often called empaths or highly sensitive people (HSP), they have extra attuned intuition, emotions, energy fields, or physical bodies. They become drained or overwhelmed easily and can sometimes sense the emotions of others as well as unseen energies.
Being sensitive is a beautiful gift, and your high levels of empathy are exactly what this world needs. However, until you learn to manage it, it can also feel like a burden. Keep reading for tips on self-acceptance as a sensitive person.
Self-Care For Empaths and Sensitives
Being empowered as a sensitive person means learning strong self-care tools and practices, and then doing the ones that resonate with you. They can be internal, i.e., things you do in your mind or heart; or external, things you do with other people or out in the world.
Be gentle with yourself. Behavior change, including adding or removing small practices to your day, takes time. It’s usually not possible or sustainable to make massive changes at once. Progress, not perfection. Do these 3 foundational things to care for yourself as an empath.
1. Communicate and set boundaries
Be clear in your communications with others. Feelings of guilt are a warning light to remind you to honor yourself and set boundaries. Until you learn to do so, you may be drawn to narcissists and other self-centered people. Ending the relationship and going no contact is the best path in extreme cases. Your health, both physical and mental, depends on it.
Also, don’t be afraid to say NO. It’s a complete sentence. When you put others’ needs or opinions above your own, or take on their projections, your sensitive energy is being drained. Only say yes when you really mean it. This can require some serious codependency healing work.
2. Find healthy outlets
You likely experience emotions deeply. It’s important to let yourself feel them. Emotions = energy in motion! Drop the judgment and let the energy flow through and out of your body. When we don’t do this, the energy gets clogged and can eventually cause physical symptoms. In the short term, it can lead to overthinking, depression, anger, or numbness.
Also try exercise and/or journaling to support yourself. Physical activity is a great stress reliever, plus helps you stay healthy all around. Journaling helps move the energy of what’s going on inside of you into the open for release. It might include forgiveness work: who are you perhaps resenting? When we hold onto a grudge (often without realizing it), we keep that rage or hurt alive in our energy field. Write it all out. Don’t force yourself to forgive too soon either. We usually need to feel and process the full spectrum of emotions first.
3. Address grief and loss
In my experience, grief is at the core of almost everything. We all go through loss and change throughout life. These transitions and heartbreaks can build up if not dealt with. The buildup can be in the form of anxiety, anger, crying, depression, or reactivity and triggers.
You also may need to grieve related to the “mean” person in question. If someone said or implied you are too sensitive, you may have feelings about the relationship not being what you would prefer, or possibly you have or will end the relationship, and that brings up grief as well.
My grief recovery program, which I offer through 7 individual one on one sessions with me, or a group format of 8 meetings (online or in person), gives you the ability to finally say goodbye to the pain, as well as any unmet hopes, dreams, or expectations. It works for any loss or life change, including death, divorce, romantic and friend breakups, pet loss, helping children grieve, moving, health conditions, empty nest, and relationships with people who are still alive but it’s complicated or painful. People say you have to let go and move on when your heart breaks, but they don’t tell you how. Let me show you HOW. Reach out for more info at email@example.com.
Being Sensitive In An Insensitive World
Own your compassionate nature, and be proud. Balance it with healthy boundaries and confidence, and you’re in the sweet spot. The world needs your empathy, but you also must protect yourself. If people can’t understand you or call you too sensitive, you can respect their opinion but perhaps take some space.
If you have a sensitive person in your life, read my blog here about how relationships with empaths are different than with non-empaths. And check this one out for important tips on interacting with a drained empath, or anyone who feels low.
© Copyright Centered One LLC, All rights reserved.