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Heart on Fire – A vague nightmare

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For the most part of our lives, some of us are seen as suck-ups or show offs. This first and often lasting impression we cast on people around us makes us misunderstood or sidelined when it comes to certain aspects of social activities. Sometimes, you need more recognition from the average person, family members or even your spouse.

I had just got out of the university, worked at an entertainment company and more than most, I enjoyed my job. I have this personality trait which exhibits heightened emotivity and extreme responsiveness to stimuli. When it comes to people, emotions and my surroundings, my feelings, intuitions and reactions are often intense. I easily can tell when a colleague is in a bad mood, I might not say for sure but often times, it turns out my intuition is correct.

This emotional sixth sense made me the chief listener at the company. Despite my feelings of social inadequacy or awkwardness, I always delivered at work. My acute attention to detail, innate powers of observation, and willingness to go above and beyond my requirements seemed essentially valuable to my team. Then, I fell in love.

At age 25, I was in my second relationship. An amazing lover, partner and friend. Suddenly, everything seemed to switch from disastrous to perfect. It’s hard for me to accept the idea of disappointing others, so I always put her first. Our relationship was amazing. However, more often than not, I felt overly cautious and like a burden. What seemed unfair, the wrong signals, and unacceptable to me was normal and routine to others. I often thought to myself, “why isn’t she or anyone saying anything when what’s happening hurts me? But this is insane.” I could go from being euphoric to sad in a split second.

I felt like a freak sometimes because the world around me went on without a hitch and I couldn’t get over certain things or emotional blocks. My extreme sensitivity, unfamiliar to most, led to periodic misunderstandings. At a point, I had made certain comments about some friends and associates in her life who came off as “just friends” but deep down wanted sexual relationships and at a time I pointed it out, she just went, “why are you so insecure? These are friends I’ve known for a long time and simply care about me. I think your previous heartbreak had you so broken, your heart is still on fire. Maybe you need more time to heal.”

Hypersensitivity is generally not recognized as an illness, even though sufferers can get help from a psychiatrist or life coach.”

It took some time to understand that I wasn’t insane or a freak, but suffered from emotional hypersensitivity. I realized this when I started to talking to a friend, who encouraged me to see a therapist so I could see where these emotional blocks came from – and it all became clear.

The discrepancy in feelings that exist between hypersensitive lovers or individual and so-called “normal people” can act as a guide to those who feel they are part of the former. The Huffington post, with the help of researcher Elaine N. Aron, has identified several common attributes of hypersensitive people:

They are extremely detail-oriented.
They are very empathetic and attentive to other people and their surroundings.
They will go the extra mile to understand the things around them.
They prefer doing things alone, whether it’s in their free time or in their professional lives, because they feel less observed and less judged.
They take long time to make decisions because they are naturally more aware of the variables and are often worried about making the wrong choice.
They’re more prone to anxiety and depression.
They have above average manners
They work well in team settings; they are precise, attentive, conscientious and strive for perfection.
They are more sensitive to criticism, and as such, they are prone to do as much as possible to please others and may often seem self-deprecating and self-critical.

 

Several factors which aggravate this trait such as; Overwhelming activity, a toxic work environment, and an era of hyper-connectivity through social media, peers, and difficulty in escaping our surroundings, breach our tolerance levels and thus, emotions are bound to become overwhelming. However, there are certain ways I have learnt to live with hypersensitivity which can be of help.

Know yourself; do not ignore this trait when discovered, seek help. It’s not a show of weakness of character or self-confidence. Most of us were born hypersensitive.

Accept and learn to live with it; turning this trait into a strength was one of the best decisions I made for myself. After this discovery, I try to deal with negative situations by simply avoiding them or find a way to work around them.

Channel your emotions; instead of dwelling on the negativity of situations, power off your emotions into something productive. Try to focus on channeling your energy into something you’ve put on hold for some time or try out a new task.

Put things into perspective – even your hypersensitivity;According to psychology Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, we can control the emotions we feel by learning to direct our thoughts. This way, we can take responsibility for putting things in perspective to slow, moderate, fast and relative.

 

The society in general often appreciates extroverted personality traits, such as fearlessness, sociability, self-confidence etc. hypersensitivity is without doubt a professional asset. Being an emotional napkin is quite challenging, but it gives you the privilege to see the world differently, with a heightened alertness and awareness of others and the environment through an analytical mind.

Today, my emotions do not over shadow my strengths, I like my hypersensitivity. I count myself lucky to be able to feel everything at 1000%. I have become indifferent about what other people feel about me – if someone likes me that’s great, but if they don’t it’s not a big deal. I have the right like every other person to affirm my position and emotions. I often get the impression that people put blinkers on to make life more bearable. I don’t and I never want to.

Hypersensitivity has its extremely positive sides, find them, learn them and exercise your strengths.

 

Image source: @ayanfee__

 

 

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