Many of us have received messages from parents, teachers, friends, or the media that being sensitive is a fault or weakness.
It’s important to gently re-evaluate old ideas about yourself such as “I’m too sensitive,” “There’s something wrong with me,” or “I must develop a thicker skin.” These shaming messages are not true. You are a strong, compassionate person, a blessing to others.
Although society may say you’re “too sensitive” and suggest that you “toughen up,” I encourage you to develop your sensitivities even more, yet stay centered with them. Being an empath is a huge asset when you learn to manage it. You’re not crazy, “neurotic,” a hypochondriac, or weak. You are a wonderful, sensitive person with a gift.
Your intuition and your refined sensitivities are healing. I want you to appreciate yourself, your openness, and ability to feel. Realize how special and perfect you are. When you really see yourself, you can connect with the wholeness and depth within. Then you can enjoy your empathy—that’s the point. Not everyone will understand you, but that’s okay. Search for kindred spirits who will, and you will understand them too. It’s a beautiful feeling of connection.
Empaths often develop low self-esteem from society’s putdowns. Whenever someone criticizes your sensitivity, don’t believe them. You might even respond with kindness, “I value my sensitive side. Please respect this.” Or, if these critical voices arise in your own head, take a breath and regroup. Simply say to them, “Stop bothering me. Go away!” Then immediately tell yourself, “My empathy is a strength.” Saying “no” to these inner and outer negative voices will build your self-esteem. Take some quiet moments to reflect on your empathic gifts: your intuition, depth, creativity, compassion, and desire to better the world. Let yourself experience their worth.
It’s crucial to realize that nothing on the outside—no substance, person, job, or amount of money—can make you feel comfortable with yourself and your sensitivities. Happiness is an inside job. You must learn to know, love, and accept yourself, a lifelong process of discovery. Loving oneself isn’t always easy, but it is a worthy goal. With self-compassion, you can thrive as a sensitive person and enjoy your gifts.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior but yourself.”
Here is an excerpt from my book Thriving as an Empath.
I am enough.
I don’t have to prove my worth to anyone.
I don’t have to be someone I’m not.
I don’t have to pretend I’m not sensitive or smile when I’m unhappy.
I am pleased with myself.
I love myself.
I am grateful for the opportunity of my life.
Set your intention. I will not buy into any belief that doesn’t affirm the worth of my sensitivity, compassion, and love. I will be empathic in my own life and advocate these values in the world.