There’s No Such Thing as “Too Sensitive”

I have been wanting to write about this seemingly little thing that happened, a little thing that’s stayed with me for years. After a few failed attempts of turning it into a story that could be told, I decided to give up on the idea altogether, and just hold on to the warm feelings this memory always triggers.

And then I read it, a beautiful line in a beautiful book that almost seemed like it was written for me, about my little story.

To all those who've pointed their fingers at the daydreamers, the criers, the lovers, the feelers, telling them they were "too much"; to those people I say, there is no such thing as "too sensitive". (Quote by Matt Haig, The Humans)

We get so busy, all of us, with the tasks and duties and mindlessness of everyday life that we forget what it is to be alive. We forget to really live. And then at the age of forty, fifty, sixty, if we’re lucky, we realize we’ve been missing out and that life is fragile and fleeting and we worry it might be too late to change. So we teach ourselves about meditation, and mindfulness, and living in the present. We try to be more aware, more grateful, more “in the moment”. Until we forget again.

But then there are those who have not missed out on as much. Those who seem to daydream too much; who stop to look and notice the beauty in what surrounds them; who feel love and pain so intensely it’s unbearable; who are moved by a song, a flower, a sentiment.

Those who’ve been accused of being too sensitive.

A few years ago, I took my highly sensitive little boy to the beach. I was worried about it being a windy day and thought the waves might frighten him. But when we got there, he marched into the water, with me following close behind, ready to take on the Mediterranean. When normally he couldn’t stand getting his face wet, he accepted the salty water when hit his eyes and found its way into his mouth. He was happy.

But unlike all the other children, he didn’t laugh or scream or splash. He gazed and admired. Looking very serious—as he often did—it almost looked as though he was pondering life’s great mysteries and magic, and perhaps he was.

And then it happened, that seemingly small thing. My son leaned back and stuck his foot out of the water only to find a single, pink petal sitting on his little heel. I would imagine most people, big or little, would’ve thought nothing of this, and that wouldn’t be crazy. In that moment, I remember smiling, possibly wondering where the petal had come from and then moving on very quickly to the people who were with us and the chatter that was taking place. But my son kept looking at it in awe and with such strange appreciation.

This little event left such a huge impression on my son that over the next few months, he would bring up “the time he found the petal on his foot” rather than “that day at the beach with friends” or “the big waves that splashed me in the face” or nothing at all. And every time he talked about the petal, he did so with meaning. To witness such a tiny person be so aware of the magic that surrounds us is a privilege I don’t take for granted. To be so naturally sensitive to life and be so attuned to all the wonder it brings is a gift. It’s something many people are striving to be.

And if they’re not, they ought to.

To all those who’ve pointed their fingers at the daydreamers, the criers, the lovers, the feelers, telling them they were “too much”; to those people I say, there is no such thing as “too sensitive”.To all those who've pointed their fingers at the daydreamers, the criers, the lovers, the feelers, telling them they were "too much"; to those people I say, there is no such thing as "too sensitive".The quote I used is a piece of advice given by an alien who lives on Earth for a while and learns what it is to be human, and to live and die. Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice for humans in Matt Haig’s The Humans If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do!

 

Shame is a shackle. Free yourself

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Don’t worry about your abilities. You have the ability to love. That is enough.

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Be nice to other people. At the universal level, they are you.

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You shouldn’t have been born. Your existence is as close to impossible as can be. To dismiss the impossible is to dismiss yourself.

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Happiness is not out here. It is in there.

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If there is a sunset, stop and look at it. Knowledge is finite. Wonder is infinite.

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No one is ever completely right about anything. Anywhere.

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Your brain is open. Never let it be closed.

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Everything matters.

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Don’t ever be afraid of telling someone you love them. There are things wrong with your world, but an excess of love is not one.

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Obey your head. Obey your heart. Obey your gut. In fact, obey everything except commands.

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Be alive. That is your supreme duty to the world.

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Most humans don’t think about things very much.  They survive by thinking about needs and wants alone. But you are not one of those. Be careful.

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No one will understand you. That is not, ultimately, that important. What is important is that you understand you.

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Politeness is often fear. Kindness is always courage. But caring is what makes you human. Care more, become more human.

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If you think something is ugly, look harder. Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.

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To like something is to insult it. Love it or hate it. Be passionate. As civilization advances, so does indifference. It is a disease. Immunise yourself with art. And love.

Read the complete list here.


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