In today’s world, it can be tough to find the good in being sensitive. The socially accepted norm is often to be strong and stoic—to grit your teeth through stress and push through life’s challenges without expression or emotion. Yet this slogan for strength may not be the healthiest way to go about things, especially for highly sensitive people.
In recent years, psychologists have started to view high sensitivity in a more positive light. In particular, they’ve popularized a concept known as the “Gift of Sensitivity”—an understanding that those who exhibit a higher degree of emotional vulnerability are actually gifted with an attractive trait. It’s easy to see why this phrase has become more popular: instead of viewing sensitivity as a defect or a symptom of mental illness, it encourages those who are highly sensitive to find resilience in their own unique trait.
But what exactly does it mean to have the gift of sensitivity? First and foremost, it means recognizing the beauty and power of emotion. Highly sensitive people are acutely aware of their feelings, which allows them to connect with others deeply and authentically. They have the ability to pick up on subtle hints and nuances, be intensely passionate about their beliefs, and never shy away from asking difficult questions. Furthermore, possessing the gift of sensitivity equips people to be attentive and independent listeners—people who care deeply about their communities and are willing to take action when necessary.
Many of us struggle with expressing ourselves effectively—particularly those of us who are naturally sensitive. Not wanting to cause contention or start conflict, we tend to stay quiet. But silence doesn’t always equal peace; sometimes, it’s just fear masquerading as courage. Holdin back our emotions keeps us from being heard and understood, and it also stifles our true potential. Possessing the gift of sensitivity necessitates the ability to confidently and thoughtfully become vocal when we need to be.
That said, it’s worth pointing out the importance of emotional boundaries when it comes to being sensitive. For some, having the gift of sensitivity can make them overly anxious and overwhelmed. As empaths, they may feel the weight of the world and take on other people’s problems for themselves. To avoid becoming too emotionally attached to a situation, it’s essential to draw attention to your own needs, practice self-care, and recognize limits for your emotional energy.
No matter where someone falls on the emotional spectrum, it’s imperative to realize that sensitivity can have a major advantage. Highly sensitive people have an innate sense of compassion and empathy, which allows them to better understand the needs of those around them. They possess valuable insight and insightfulness, stemming from their own nonjudgmental and honest perspectives. Finally, they are far more likely to strive for growth and personal development—a trait that surely serves the world well.
At the end of the day, finding resilience in the gift of sensitivity requires one key task: embracing our inner selves. It means taking the time to be still, reflecting on our feelings and needs, and understanding the power of vulnerability. When we understand our sensitivity, we can start to use it to our advantage—and turn our rare super power into something positive and productive.
So the next time someone passes judgment on your sensitivity, remember that it is, in actuality, a remarkable strength—one to recognize and utilize. Instead of referring to yourself as a “highly sensitive person,” begin to think of it as possessing the “gift of sensitivity.” And as a bonus, you can proudly take comfort in knowing that this gift isn’t exclusive to you: We’re all sensitive love-lovers at heart—we just have to learn how to use that openness to make lasting change and fulfill our bigger purpose in life.