In Defense of Sensitivity is beautiful ode to sensitive people written by Maia. She was kind enough to share her insights on her website, many years ago. We found it and have been sharing with it everyone who visits our website since 2003. It speaks volumes to the spirit in each of us - to every heart - everywhere.
One of the most common accusations abusers hurl at their victims is the phrase, "You're just too sensitive! This phrase, or one of its relatives, strikes fear into the heart of many an abuse survivor. It has been thrown from the mouths of abusers and well-meaning (but oblivious) folks alike, as if sensitivity were an unforgivable crime or a heinous act of rebellion.
More often than not, it is during times when the victim decides to defend themselves or point out the abuse that the perpetrator chooses to use this particular phrase.
The situation varies, but the tone of voice is always full of scorn and contempt as the offender furrows their brow, interrupts their intended victim, and unleashes the terrible accusation, "You're just too sensitive!"
Well, this page is here to ask: What the hell is wrong with being sensitive?!
Why do people feel they must treat sensitivity as a topic of scorn? Why is sensitivity treated as something inferior, undesirable, or outright horrible? Why do abusers spit out the label of sensitivity as if it were an insult?
Is there something wrong with sensitive people? Is it a bad thing to be sensitive? Are sensitive people defective somehow? Is it a character flaw?
I don't doubt that many victims of abuse are more sensitive than the average person. But I seriously doubt that sensitivity is a sign of weakness, inferiority, or defectivity. Nor do I believe that there is anything wrong with being sensitive (although the way some people talk, you'd think it was the unforgivable sin).
Now, with some broad generalizations, here are the reasons why sensitivity is beautiful.
Sensitive people care about others. They can feel the pain and joys of other people, and empathize along with them. They understand how others feel, and can meet their needs. They notice when people need help, and they have a great deal of compassion. Sensitive people are the ones who provide a shoulder to cry on, flowers on your birthday, or a hot meal for a hungry stomach.
They bring patience into the world, and try to ease suffering, not so much with medicines and food, but with empathy and hands-on care. They understand what hurts a person, and refrain from hurting them. Sensitive people meet others' needs where insensitive people do not.
Sensitive people bring beauty to the world. Many sensitive people are artists, musicians, poets, or writers. The passionate melodies of Tchaikovsky's ballets or the deeply moving paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (and other Renaissance masters) could not have been created without great aesthetic sensitivity and deep, heartfelt emotion.
The artists of the world have painted, danced, sung, written, and composed the entire range of human experience and feeling; and they could not have done so were they not sensitive to the human condition.
It is not a clod who creates a masterpiece. Sensitive people recognize the beauty already in the world. Sensitive people stop and smell the roses. They notice the beauty of the sunset, they hear the precious melody of a child's laughter, they love animals.
They enjoy a starry night or a lovely piece of music. They take off their shoes and wriggle their toes in the sand on the beach. Perhaps they cry at sad movies. Sensitive people find pleasure in beautiful things.
Sensitive people are a gift from God. If you're a survivor of abuse, I'll bet no one ever told you this. Sensitive people bring love and hope to the world, things which humanity could sure use a whole lot more of."
[ "In Defense of Sensitivity" © by Maia. Please Note: Maia, you have written with wisdom, insight and honesty. We all needed to hear this. Thank you so very much. ]