Sensitivity–a gift not a curse

Sensitivity–a gift not a curse

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Did you know that sensitivity is a gift not a curse?

I am a sensitive person, but for years, I tried to squash those emotions or at least hide them. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a person who cries easily. I share empathy with people I know, as well as strangers, in person or even on the television news. It’s just the way I am.

Sensitive people sometimes shamed

But I thought it a bad thing—this crying all the time. Not long ago, a friend told me not to despise God’s gifts to me. I thought I don’t despise God’s gifts to me. However, after a while, I noticed that I felt ashamed of my tears. Shame hurts.

Some people just don’t understand tears. That’s really not my problem. They need to work that out themselves.

Shame causes people to flee situations, pull away from people, avoid places or activities, loath themselves, berate themselves, lose their confidence, become depressed, hurt themselves, and much more. Because people hide this emotion, cues get naturally suppressed. But despite all the hiding, it can make you sick. Eventually, it comes out somehow.

Hiding feelings erects walls

After some probing, I realized that part of my struggles with showing my true feelings about something stems from the actions of a first-grade teacher. Apparently, childhood wounds get cemented into our hearts, walls go up, and soon, some of us find ourselves stuck in a prison of our own making. We protect ourselves from getting picked on by hiding our tears.

Hiding tears doesn’t just mean not letting the tears fall. It means making sure your facial expressions don’t give you away either; using that anger for being misunderstood to stop them; showing nothing by just walking away or not engaging; or keeping your thoughts to yourself and rehashing the conversation over and over again later.

God, help us. Those are just not the healthy ways to react. There are other ways to react, but you get the point.

Sensitivity should not be humiliated

How did mine start? My teacher wanted to toughen me up by using humiliation. Every time my shy, little six-year-old self grew nervous or worried or sad and tears threatened or fell, she put a “crying jar” on my desk for all my class to see. Of course, some used this against me. She may not have realized that she set me up to be picked on. I mean, if the teacher doesn’t even respect you, why should the classmates? I didn’t figure out how to shut off the tears for some time, but eventually, after years, a lack of trust in sharing one’s vulnerability developed.

One day as an adult, I realized I didn’t even know who I was since I sought so hard to blend in. When I decided to follow Jesus near my 30th birthday, I discovered God loves me and made me unique. Did you know that you were created to stand out, NOT blend in? (I know that’s not what society preaches.)

Healing begins with forgiving

Decades later, God still works with me about this. I take care of one issue, and another surfaces. A never-ending project—that’s me, and probably you, too. The deeper I go, I find this pile of hurts that need healing, and more people who need forgiving for not knowing what they were doing.

We all do our best. We all make mistakes. Every day.

So, my first-grade teacher is long gone. I forgive her for the crying jar and for making me ashamed of who I was, who I am. She tried to harden me up, but hard hearts aren’t what God wants. He wants soft hearts.

No, sensitivity isn’t a curse; it’s a blessing.

The positives of sensitivity

Sensitivity means I tune in to other people. While I can’t solve their problems, I can pray because I know God can solve their problems. I can help carry their burdens by listening and caring. That’s what we need most, isn’t it? To know that others care?

Please don’t hide your tears or whatever gift it is God blessed you with. Be beautiful you. God created you for a special purpose, and you cannot fulfill that purpose, if you don’t embrace who you are. It’s freeing to just be yourself.

Steps for healing

Wounds take time to heal. The first step, admit the wound. The second step, forgive the person who hurt you, which is part of cleaning the wound. All the other steps require repeating letting go of the offenses and trusting God to see you through it. One day, you’ll wake up and find the ache gone. Thank God along the journey. Know you don’t walk alone.

Tears indicate something is going on. What is it? Honesty digs out the poison faster if it exists. Also remember, tears heal.

I want to heal. Do you?

What gift did you get? Many gifts exist. Perhaps sensitivity is yours too. Please share your story with us in the comments.

Photo by Ruan Richard Rodrigues on Unsplash.

4 Replies to “Sensitivity–a gift not a curse”

  1. I cannot believe a first grade teacher/any teacher would do that to a child. But I understand those were different times. I used to be very quiet and shy as well. I think I’ve grown a pretty tough skin out of necessity. Remember God saves every tear in a bottle and one day He will wash all of them away. What joy that will be.

    1. Thank you, Deb. While thinking about this blog the other day, I too was reminded that God saves every tear. Thanks for reminding us of this. It’s a good confirmation. Another one that comes to mind is being wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. I’m sure she meant well, but it backfired. I think it reminds us to be cautious in the advice we receive in solving problems, especially with young children. We all make mistakes and must learn from them. Hopefully, she discontinued that practice after my class. I grew up to be super aware of other people’s feelings, however. God uses all things for his good purpose.

  2. Thanks Michelle, your gift is beautiful and needed in our caustic world where people bite each other. I over analyze, try to figure out, which leaves me paralyzed and insecure. My true security is in God, and yet I often am wrestling with myself without trusting my Lord.

    1. Thank you, Gretchen. I tend to over analyze and try to figure things out myself also and end up in the same position. God is our true security. Together we can remind ourselves to trust the Lord and encourage each other. God bless you. I know you are doing your best to stick close to Jesus.

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