“You are too sensitive,” your father bellows.
“Quit taking things personally,” a supervisor mutters.
“When are you going to toughen up?” a coach asks.
As a sensitive soul, the admonishments sting. You feel misunderstood. Family members chastise you as emotionally needy. Work colleagues disparage you as weak. In school, bullies ridicule you as soft.
They are wrong.
This post originally appeared on PsychCentral.
We live in world where bombast trumps self-reflection. Look at Donald Trump blustering his way to the Republican nomination. Look at an autocratic corporate executive thundering about soaring profit margins.
Life is a full-contact sport — or so mentors advise. And if getting ahead requires an elbow and demeaning comments, so be it.
Lesson learned. Determined to “be tougher,” you brush past office acquaintances with a stone-faced glare. You dismiss interrupters with a brusque wave. But in this misguided attempt at toughness, you come across as stilted and rude.
The real lesson: Instead of masking your sensitive side, embrace it. Your sensitivity is a gift; one that family, friends, and acquaintances cherish. Even if their “tough guy shtick” won’t allow them to admit it. (Also read: When Life Throws Lemons At You, Sit Back And Make A Lemonade)
Notice the person self-consciously stammering through small talk at the dinner party? Of course, you did. As a sensitive soul, you have an uncanny ability to discern the emotional thermostat of others.
(Also read: Know When It Is Okay To Quit?)
While your dinner party companions shun the self-conscious soul, you warmly introduce yourself. With your disarming candor and refreshing authenticity, you excel in one-on-one conversations. People intuitively trust you. Which segues nicely to my next point…
Counselor in Practice
There is a deepness and richness to you. Naturally empathetic, family and friends turn to you for a reassuring word. How many times have panicked family and friends called you? For them, you are an emotional lighthouse.
Those quick, catch-up phone calls? Two hours later, you are still consoling your heartbroken friend. Yes, you give your time — and heart sleeve — for emotionally aching loved ones and friends. Even more important: You have the emotional depth to wade into a friend’s morass. Which segues nicely to my next point…
Ask and You Shall Receive
There is an intellectual curiosity to you. Naturally inquisitive, you have a probing mind. You ask questions, seeking morsels of information to nourish your mind’s insatiable appetite. You are an information sponge.
But, with you, it is more about idiosyncrasies than information. People fascinate you. Dispensing with trivialities, you wonder what makes people tick: their motivations, fears, and hidden skeletons. You revel in their confidence.
As a sensitive soul, you have gifts that keeps on giving — even to the jaded cynics. With your natural warmth, easygoing rapport, and intellectual curiosity, you inspire. And, in the process, you soften life’s edge. As you know, life can be a full-contact sport. But sometimes it doesn’t require pads.
Being Called ‘Mr. Sensitive’ Is Actually a Compliment | PsychCentral