Some thoughts on popular opinion and being sensitive
I don't know if there's anyone out there remotely like me. I have read about highly sensitive people and empaths, but I feel like if you're highly sensitive or overly empathetic, you're sensitive to labels and other people's emotions about you. So naturally, I haven't clung too tightly to these labels.
I have also realized the danger of living into our narratives, our labels, our boxes.
It is easy to get certain ideas about ourselves and let them define us. When we let them define us, they often blind us as well. We become less open to our strengths and weaknesses, to our passions and desires, to the bigger picture of who we are and who we can become. It's easy to get stuck.
On the other hand, recognizing our strengths and weaknesses and natural way of being in the world is so vitally important to becoming better, more healthy people and protecting ourselves. It is such a tricky pursuit though, to actually know oneself. Our culture, family of origin, experiences, the people around us, the movies we watch, the books we read, the ideas that we expose ourselves to can all play a role in how we define ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, our goals, and our hopes.
So, what do we do with this world of complexity?
We pay attention. We listen. We learn. We practice. We seek wise counsel. We shift.
We seek love.
For those of you that have been practicing those things and find yourself alone, confused, but okay... This one is for you. It might actually only be for me... but using first person plural feels less lonely than using first person singular.
Dear Sensitive Ones (or maybe just Dear Me,),
We're a mixed bag, aren't we? Sometimes, we are blown away with how receptive we are only to find ourselves being told we are unstable in the next moment. And we trust, right? Because why would someone possibly be cruel to us just because we are trying. TRYING, man, doesn't that sum up our existence pretty well?
Trying to hold it all together exactly how people tell us to.
Trying to care about others and not go completely crazy because of how much we care about others.
Trying to deal with what seems like insane injustices of character judgement.
Trying to keep our integrity intact even though no one seems to recognize that in us. Does integrity even matter to anyone these days? I spend a lot of time
Trying to figure that out.
Trying not to become angry and bitter and resentful when it feels like we're the only ones who care how we care.
Trying to connect in meaningful ways.
Trying to find our tribe.
Trying to be kind, even though we know it will be our demise.
And then trying to be kind again because we choose to keep feeling and loving, and feeling and loving are all that we know.
Trying to figure out what it means to love when love = sacrifice for others but we only have so much to give, and an existence marked only by sacrifice and misery is not actually living.
Trying to reconcile that the warnings of the world and the mistakes that people warn us about will probably never be our mistakes or the warnings that we need.
Trying to take advice, and then take the opposite advice because we've already thought through every angle, and most people have no idea what our experience is like.
Trying to realize that no one knows what our experience is like.
Trying to reconcile that most people don't seem to care what our experience is like.
Trying to carry the weight of other people's stuff.
Trying not to crumble under the weight of other people's stuff.
I just want to remind us that it is worth trying. Because when we keep feeling and we keep loving, we get to experience things that not everyone gets to experience. EXPERIENCE is another big theme, right? Because the depth of experience seems to be closely connected to the depth of feeling, awareness, and connection. And who gets to have more feeling, awareness, and connection than those of us who are innately sensitive, perceptive, conscious, intuitive, and MAGNANIMOUS. We get to:
Experience the pain of ourselves and others, and in pain, we find growth that once seemed impossible.
Experience the connection of EVERYTHING that most people miss.
Experience sorrow and suffering so intensely that we have the opportunity to create something equally intensely beautiful
Experience the strength that can only be found after intense pain. We know what it's like to carry the weight of the world. We know what it takes to carry the weight of the world. We know what it is like to be the scapegoat of suffering. We know that we are strong enough to carry the weight of the world.
Experience beauty in unexpected places.
Experience grace in unexpected places.
Experience passion in unexpected places.
Experience life in unexpected places.
Experience the expanding nature of life, growth, and humanity.
Experience digging deep within ourselves and finding more than we thought possible- more pain, more fear, more loneliness, more hope, more love, more desire, more passion, more creativity, more awareness, and more humanness
Experience our lives through our eyes, and hopefully, learn to honor ourselves and our experiences in it.
If I have learned anything in my 30 years on this planet, it is that life is way more complex and way more connected than we realize.
Honoring our story and our experience is different because there is no normal. A lot of people fit into the typical patterns of society and culture, and it works for them. However, we all have to learn to carry our own experiences and stories. Often when we do this, it ends up looking different even if we stay in our typical cultural patterns. And different is lonely.
But we can do lonely. If we can carry the weight of the world, if we can carry the unknowing judgement of others, if we can carry the experiences of our interior lives, if we can carry the expansiveness of our souls, if we can carry so much pain, injustice, and suffering, if we can carry the intensity of our pursuits, if we can carry the commitment to feeling and growth, then we can carry the weight of loneliness.
And if you don't trust me, you're not alone. I have a hard time trusting myself most days. But here are some more qualified people to endorse these insane ideas of being YOURSELF and being OKAY and being EXPANSIVE:
“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a 'hot mess' or having 'too many issues' are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” -Anthon St. Maarten
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” -Mark Twain
“The most introspective of souls are often those that have been hurt the most.” -Shannon L. Alder
“When you're the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.” -Criss Jami
“In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.” -Ghandi
"Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependent upon popular opinion?" -William Lloyd Garrison
"So the question remains: why should we regard majority rule as morally special? Why should a part of the people – even the larger part – decide for the whole?” -Stephen Macedo
“The problem with mad people is not that they are mad, but that they are suffering from a particular brand of madness that the majority are not.” -Merlyn Gabriel Miller
“yes, I have feelings
and no, I’m not afraid of them
not even the shadowy ones
that you’d rather ignore
i gather them in
welcome them home
give them space to breathe
and light them on glorious fire
just to see
what might be illuminated
while they burn”
At times beauty and love will only come from the fight, but the fighting is not typically what we expect it to be. Typically, the true fight is surrender. -Me
May you enter into a space and love that is more expansive and less narrow. In the expanse, may you find grace, hope, peace, and most of all, may you find yourself.
Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash, and she's awesome.