So Sensitive: Are You Tired of Sucking it Up?

On Friday of last week, I posted a notice on Facebook about feeling more sensitive these days to the happenings in the world.  Within no time there were more than 300 comments from people who could relate and a beautiful conversation about what we can do to protect our sensitivity ensued. I encourage you to read the posts here.

Someone included a link to a past newsletter I had written about caring for our sensitivity and I thought I’d share it with you again this week.


Last night I went to see a movie with a group of friends. I’d heard wonderful things about the story from people whose opinion I respect, and I was so looking forward to enjoying the film. However, within twenty minutes of watching, everything changed.

I’m very sensitive to violence and human suffering and therefore my threshold is pretty low. I really wanted to see this movie, so at first, I kept trying to talk myself into staying. I told myself things like, “Just wait, Cheryl, I’m sure the violence will end soon.” Or, “Close your eyes through the tough parts.” But, after several attempts to hang in there through what I imagined was the set-up of the story, I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. I don’t do this anymore. I no longer override my sensitive nature. Instead, I protect it.” So I quietly said goodbye to my friends and left.

Knowing and respecting my sensitive side is an important way that I practice extreme self-care (which is why I dedicate a whole chapter to this topic in The Art of Extreme Self Care). We all have varying levels of sensitivity. It’s the fundamental part of us that allows us to be touched by beauty, signs of grace, or intimate moments with others. And, it’s the mechanism that provides us with an internal warning signal that lets us know when we’re in situations that may be hazardous to our emotional, physical, or spiritual health.

As you grow in your understanding and practice of extreme self-care, your sensitivity level rises and you pay closer attention to what you need to feel good and safe. If the lights are too bright in a restaurant, for instance, you might ask to have them turned down.  If you’re unable to tolerate disturbing news, you may ask a co-worker to refrain from telling a detailed, painful story.  Or, if you know that you’re easily wounded by harsh criticism, you might educate someone about how best to give you feedback so you can learn and grow.

While these ideas might sound a bit high maintenance (and certainly can be when misused or not handled in a gracious way), they’re actually an indication of healthy self-esteem.

This week I invite you to notice your own sensitive nature. Are you paying attention to your needs or overriding them? Do you practice the art of sucking it up, or the art of extreme self-care?

Just a gentle reminder to notice…

Take Action Challenge

During the week, pay special attention to those times when you push yourself to do something you’d really rather not do. Don’t suck it up. Bow out, say no, turn around, change your mind, or walk away. Protect your sensitivity and it will serve you well!

Take a few minutes to watch my video called “You’re So Sensitive” and learn how to see your sensitivity as a gift.  You can find it here.

This week’s fun video is a blessing from technology.  Watch Rita Hayworth in Staying Alive .  You can find it here.  Thanks, Deirdre!


zorro 25th July 2012 7:41 pm

We are in an accelerated cycle of healing "fragmentation".

This fragmentation has caused tremendous "sensitivity" in aware entities who at a deep level "KNOW" that this fragmentated state of humanity is not normal and as such, being very spiritually aware, are overly sensitive to the incongruousness of societal structures and interpersonal interactions which are often based on lowest common denominator standards. We are in a stage of accelerated healing from this and it can be exhausting and exasperating. Never give up, and know this is changing rapidly, beyond human comprehension even, until we catch up with the re-circuitry of the new human now manifesting. The sensitivity is more a sign of an inner awareness beyond mass the consciousness level, which will, in time, spill over into the hidden asset that you describe so well, where extreme self-care is practiced so that, hopefully, enlightened and inspired action also comes into play.

Talaka2325 20th December 2012 6:59 pm

Thank you for sharing this. It helped me.



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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including, Take Time for Your LifeLife MakeoversStand Up for Your LifeThe Unmistakable Touch of GraceThe Art of Extreme Self Care, You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Louise Hay, and her new book, Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife.

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