I have been reflecting on this for the last couple of days and I wonder why it is
that so many people think of these two words as antonyms. Why is it that
sensitivity is often confused with weakness. Right here and right now, I want
to go on record as defending that, in fact, quite the opposite is true. You have to
be strong in order to be sensitive. “Sensitive” is not the easy way to go through
When I was a kid, more than once I heard my “elders” say something along the
lines of, “Well, you know, she’s….. sensitive.” And it was always said just like
that, with a pause and almost a whisper. This was not a compliment! It was in
no way suggesting that I was “blessed”, but rather, more like “cursed”.
Mind you, I grew up in a keep-a-stiff-upper-lip kind of New England culture,
though I suspect it’s not confined to just New England. I suspect that there’s a
rather pervasive “veneration” of not expressing sensitivity, of hiding emotion,
and being “in the head”. Intellectual fortitude is highly valued in our society
and the emotional is all too often relegated to that kind of Pandora’s box that
we don’t open for fear of…. Of what? Seriously, what is it that we fear? Could it
be that we’re afraid of being vulnerable, of showing that chink in our armor?
Are we afraid also that others will see us as being less-than-perfect? Or, is it
perhaps more likely that we’re afraid of leaning into our emotion, for fear that
it reveals a perceived “imperfection” to ourselves.
Pleasing others is what we’re taught to do from a very, very young age. When
we please our parents, maybe we get a treat or a smile or some sign of the
approval we crave. While there are sound anthropological underpinnings to
this, we no longer live in caves and I hope that our society is “strong” enough to
accept and embrace sensitivity.
My declaration here and now is that Sensitivity = Strength!!!
My declaration her and now is that Sensitivity = Strength!!! Let’s not confuse the terms anymore. Those who can feel and not try to hide from their sensitivity are, in fact, those who truly embrace their humanity. They are the strong ones among us who make a difference and who, little by little, are transforming our society and our world.
Yes, I am sensitive — Yes! I am strong!!