If someone tells you you’re too sensitive, beware. They could be the bull in the china shop who stampedes over your feelings and then expects you not to mind. Or they could be the manipulative toxic person who is trying to control you. Or they could actually be trying to help you achieve an emotional balance that will make you feel better in the long-term.
If the latter is the case, then try to listen. If you go through life as a hypersensitive person, your feelings are in danger of being hurt on a constant basis. You are so emotionally fragile that you suffer frequently. And maybe if you learned to toughen up a bit you could be less miserable.
Hypersensitive versus Highly Sensitive
Do not confuse being hypersensitive with being highly sensitive—biologically sensitive to sounds, sights and smells. Highly sensitive persons (HSP) have difficulty editing out stimuli that are beyond the average person’s notice. HSPs often find certain noises or lights, for example, set their teeth on edge while other people aren’t bothered.
On the other hand, a hypersensitive person is hurt by the smallest slight. People have to be careful what they say and feel like they’re walking on eggshells to protect a hypersensitive person. If you feel you are frequently upset by what others say and do, perhaps you could benefit from developing some coping skills.
1) It’s probably not about you. People are not criticizing you or even talking about you nearly as much as you may think. They are busy with their own problems and are not spending much time thinking about you.
2) Take it slow. That is, take in what someone says about you in the moment, but don’t react until you’ve had a chance to think about it. Chances are you may have misinterpreted a comment that was not meant to wound you. And sometimes things just seem better in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
3) Sort the chaff from the wheat. Some people blather without much thought. So try to sort out the comments that are meaningful from those that are not. And practice not paying attention to the chaff. Some people are chaff, too, and it may pay to avoid them as much as possible.
4) Be aware of vulnerable times. You are more susceptible to other people’s unkind remarks and behavior when you’re feeling low yourself. Or when you’re physically not good, say with a cold or the flu. These are times to protect yourself emotionally by staying away from potentially toxic people.
5) Learn to hear the positive. You may be one of those people who can be told 100 positive and one negative thing and only hear the negative. It’s human nature, perhaps, but practice accentuating the positive. And try learning from the negative, unless it’s total nonsense. Other people are fallible, too, and sometimes they’re just plain wrong when they say something negative to you.
6) Remember your good qualities. When you begin to feel overwhelmed and super sensitive, count your blessings. Think of the many good attributes you have. Recall something great that made you feel good. Above all, don’t let others get you down.
With practice, you can tone down your hypersensitivity. You’ll feel better and stronger emotionally when you don’t let small things get you down. That’s not always easy, but you can do it.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.