I mentioned to a friend this morning over tea, how I wanted to write a book about being a “feeler.” I can see the cover with just the wee top of a butterfly head and its nimble feelers peeking up from the bottom of the book.
She introduced me to a book, “The Highly Sensitive Person.” According to the studies noted, 20% of the population are, what is referred to as, “highly sensitive persons.” I just began to read the book, but I happen to believe that we are all created to be highly sensitive persons. Now, those who are too “together” to be a “feeling” person may take pride in the fact that they do not cry at the drop of a hat or be so sensitive they cannot take criticism. When did being sensitive become a weakness?
Is normal just a setting on a washing machine?
Apparently, most of us who fit into this category have grown up feeling as though we did not fit in. We were picked on for being so sensitive and have found ways to cope – be it isolation, overachieving, or addictions. I thought this was everyone. Are there really normal people out there?
I’m not attempting to do a psychological study on this “condition,” but rather, shed some light in a world with over stimulation, low patience, tough people and a high propensity to judge those things not understood.
Maybe if we accept the roller coasters in life: emotionally, spiritually, physically, situationally, and relationally, as the norm, we can raise our hands and enjoy the ride. We can stop trying to get it all right: being so balanced that we never cry or get angry or feel anything. I know the last time I hopped on a roller coaster I cried, just before I resolved to get on board!
“I am amazing, and they don’t realize it!”
In my own vices of isolation or attempts to understand the way I feel when I really “feel the way I feel,” I have caught myself saying some rather funny things: “I am amazing, and they don’t realize it,” “This environment is too full of “wrong” people and I have to leave so that I don’t absorb their negativity,” or “If they only knew where I was coming from…” “If they would have…, I would have…” blame, blame, blame, judgment, judgment, judgment, etc… fill in the blanks.
I have left situations and relationships that were not conducive to my “special” “sensitive” make-up, including my family. I have played a martyr and won over and over again, but only in my head. I have stuffed my feelings and thoughts for the sake of being right and when the pimple finally burst, it was ugly and I was wrong in spite of all that “right” that had been stored up.
Phew! That’s an exhausting way to live!
I’m embarrassed to share these thoughts I have had, and yet, maybe you relate and can laugh too. So what do I do? Well, I seek to find true freedom. Freedom that realizes that although everyone else is not right, and I am not right, I have a right to be free. I refuse to sit on the sidelines of life. This perfect “balance” we all seek– has it become a deadening device preventing us from the passion and life that we truly desire and have been created to experience?
I am thankful that I feel so deep– even when life is hard and pain is as real as the high I experience while ridding my bike through honeysuckle laden paths, on the 4th hour of the day, when the sun’s warmth is the perfect temperature of yellow-green through the leaves.
I believe the Native Americans held a key to peace, joy, and freedom in the way they related to the natural world. Being a “highly sensitive person” must have been their norm and an advantage in a lifestyle where the wind, the “signs” of the earth, spirituality, creative expression, and measurements of time worked in sync with their person daily. I want more of that.
We all need to be free.
I resolve to not glorify feelings or those who experience them on greater or lesser measures. We all need to be free. We all need to love and be loved, and this requires us to be sensitive. Let’s ride the waves of life and agree to scream if we need to scream, raise our arms, lock hands with the one next to us and feel the rush of wind on our face. Let’s feel the way we feel, find and appreciate the beauty in our environments and keep moving forward.