Are you a sensitive person? I know I am. My mother always told me I was tenderhearted when I was a little because I easily got my feelings hurt. To this day, I remember some of the lonely feelings I had as a child. I always thought being sensitive was an asset because I had the ability to feel many things that other’s couldn’t. I felt this helped me as an artist in my personal expression. Now I see there is a flip-side to sensitivity. Being too sensitive, or hypersensitive, can be more detrimental than you think, and it’s a foundation to develop insecurity that has the potential to damage all areas of life.
If you think you or someone you know may be too sensitive, here are some signs of sensitivity when taken to an extreme can be quite harmful.
1. Avoiding conflict.
I am not very comfortable with conflict. I’d rather fold than compromise. It’s been a personal struggle for much of my life, and I continue to work on saying what I think even if it means engaging in healthy conflict. I still don’t enjoy it, but I’m less intimidated by it. I always feel better when conflict is avoided, which makes me somewhat of a people-pleaser. This can again be a challenge because avoiding conflict means I often don’t set boundaries.
2. Accommodating/No Boundaries.
In order to avoid conflict, it’s common that a person becomes too accommodating. A fear of speaking up with your opinions or saying no can lead you to fear setting boundaries. You’ll find if you set a boundary, most people will oblige. In truth, you shouldn’t anger anyone by doing so.
If you have a great capacity to feel the joys and pains of other people or if you can’t stand to see a stray animal, you may be extremely empathetic. Empathy is key to successful relationships, but empathy to an extreme can open the possibilities to let insecurities compound on top of empathy. These insecurities make it easy to feel hurt by others who are not so empathetic with you.
4. Great Span of Emotions.
If you are empathetic, you probably have a great span of emotions. I loved singing opera because it allowed me to explore my emotional side. I have gotten to know my inner self much better and cherish the emotions I have and the capacity to experience them. If that span of emotions gets out of control, it’s easy to hit the pitfalls of being too sensitive.
5. Fear of Hurting Others Feelings.
I generally don’t want to engage in conflict because I don’t like to hurt others. Even when I do argue, I try to use my mentor’s advice to approach conflict through asking questions, which prevents others from being defensive with you. If you’re in any personal relationship with friends, coworkers or a loved one, one thing is certain, you are bound to hurt one another at some point, and it’s unrealistic to believe you won’t.
6. Strong beliefs in what is right and wrong.
Do you follow firm beliefs of what is right and wrong based on circumstances (not rules)? If you do something that is wrong, so you feel guilt rather than remorse for what you did wrong? If so, then you are expressing your deep sensitivity.
If you’ve decided that you may be too sensitive, then there is a big possibility that you are also insecure. Be honest with yourself about your sensitivity and do the work necessary to make sure you have a healthy amount of sensitivity while still being a secure person.