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3 Ways To Turn Your Sensitivity Into Strengths

"You see things. And you understand. You're a wallflower."

~ The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

A sensitive person may be described as someone who feels things and may not be able to put what they sense in words, but nonetheless, the feeling is overwhelming. And challenging to describe to others. Sensitivity to others' bullish or obtuse mannerisms. At times, spending so much time among others may feel painful -unless it is a person with whom you have a long history of bonding and trust.

Sensitives may learn -throughout the years, that their feelings are "too sensitive" for others. They may learn to hide their tears and hold back saying something that points out sympathy for others out of fear that others will roll their eyes while stating, "You take things too seriously." After some time, sensitives begin to shut down and hide their true and beautiful sensitivity to avoid the ridicule of others.

However, there are ways in which your sensitivities can become our greatest strengths. Learning how to harness its power is worth the time and effort.

  1. Feeling what others feel may feel daunting. Learning how to empathize (to understand a person's feelings), rather than sympathize (sharing a person's feelings) is vital. Learning to empathize allows your kind, sensitive nature to connect with others while maintaining healthy boundaries. For example, a friend has confided in you that they are depressed and have not stopped crying. You have a major exam or work presentation the next day. What do you do? A person who empathizes will listen, provide compassionate words, and spend a good amount of time letting that friend know they will be okay, have your ongoing care and support, and suggest helpful distractions to assist the friend throughout the day. I recommend checking in on that friend throughout the week until their functioning increases. A person who sympathizes will drop everything, go to their friend -if proximity allows, and stay with said friend until the crisis passes. If that means for the rest of the week, the sympathetic friend will forgo many of their responsibilities, and those who need their attention because they believe that is how you show loyalty, love, and care. But what happens when everyone in your life is going through tough times? The sympathetic response becomes draining and unhealthy. Learn to empathize. There will be more of you to share; the most important person to get your time will be you.

  2. Having vibe antennas, i.e., picking up on 'energies' or 'vibes' in an environment, feeling a weird vibe' from a person having just met them, feeling 'different' from others, feeling awkward around colleagues and wishing you could crawl back into the safety of your cubicle, can all be indicators of seeing yourself on the other side of the picture. We want to turn that sensitivity into an action of love. The first act of love is to be kind to you. The likely reality is that because you feel and are different, you may believe you don't fit the mold and begin to say negative things about yourself. Use these opportunities to practice the art of loving yourself amid a crowd. In the same manner, you would hold a child's hand (who feels nervous among others), while saying positive, encouraging words; the same can be true for you. Except when you imagine yourself saying loving words to a child. You believe that the child's value is worthy of those words. Do you think that about you? Practice positive self-talk while feeling the phrase until you believe it.

  3. If co-workers have burned you, felt taken advantage of by a superior, and angry at yourself because you didn't know how to speak up. Forgive yourself. And ask, what is the lesson there? Because of these experiences, sensitivities learn to believe that aggression is similar to assertiveness. But that is far from the truth. Aggressive communication often demonstrates little to no respect for others while repeatedly insulting the person. Assertive communication shows respect to others' opinions and has a positive outcome. An example looks like this: A co-worker asks for a favor, like covering for a shift. You feel insecure about saying no but do not want to cover even though you probably will be home watching your favorite movie. An assertive response may be: "I understand your need! And I would love to help you, but I have a prior commitment I cannot break." An aggressive response would be: "Why are you always asking for your shift to be covered? How do you expect to hold down a job!"

Practice these three techniques. Its use will honor your sensitive/kind feelings of wanting to help but maintaining healthy boundaries that will inspire that good feeling your sensitivity thrives on.

For more tips, please check out our other blogs here:

You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services.

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