Is Sensitivity a Weakness or a Strength? Dealing with the Insecurities of a Hyper-sensitive Woman

by Luz Helena Hincapie, Colombia 

What does being hyper-sensitive imply in a woman’s life? Is there any real hope for it?

I walked most of my life being un-aware of how hypersensitive I was and I still tend to be. Why? On one hand, I was very closed off to my feelings and my inner world and on the other hand mainly because I never wanted to ACCEPT being like that. People (especially women) that I used to judge as hypersensitive put me off. I saw them as weak, shy, as the shadow of someone else, not able to speak out, hiding and uninteresting. My ideals of a great personality were to be outgoing, super-confident, funny, smart and popular. I tried very hard to have all those qualities.

The way I chose to become all of those was through the sophisticated ways of the mind. I trained myself to have a very analytical mind. I learned how to be clever, cheeky, ironic, self-righteous, how to defend myself, lash out and find the missing bit in any subject, person or conversation to then express and impress with my genius. I also managed to enlarge my social circles and reached people that were popular; I somehow became popular and unfortunately very un-popular sometimes. I managed to be noticed by others. None of these were ever based on how I was feeling. I used to constantly push myself hard to experiment and keep going. I took drugs, got badly drunk on a regular basis, got involved in complications, dramas and affairs and felt strongly identified with all of these. I also did very well on my academic assignments, especially those when I needed to concentrate on the theory. I could have been a good academic if I had chosen that.

The reality was that underneath I was permanently feeling anxious, unsettled and nervous.

It was very common to have an irritating sensation in my stomach, a mix between excitement, bad premonitions and tension, however nothing really ever happened. In spite of my numbed body and busy mind I couldn’t deny how fast my heart would beat most of the time. I don’t know how I didn’t have a heart attack while taking all of those recreational drugs and not resting for days!

When I finally accepted that I was highly sensitive it was a relief, although something inside of me protested! All that time and energy I used to train my mind to protect myself – I thought I’d managed to overcome my shyness and all of my insecurities. Not really, I was a mess inside, nervous and insecure yet behaving with arrogance and aloofness in many situations.

Let me share what has come up for me to look at on a regular basis – a long list of patterns, behaviours and rather ungraceful emotions:

Physically

  • The streams of anxiousness travelling in my body and how I become hard in order to hide them. I tend to automatically contract the muscles in my chest, tummy and face especially in situations where I interact with others or express myself.
  • I shrink in order to not disturb or make someone uncomfortable. I position myself in small gaps and walk along the margins.
  • Sometimes I tend to look into the distance when speaking to avoid things I don’t like to feel from others or reveal from myself.
  • I can get cold and shiver. I feel shaky easily.
  • I breathe superficially as if this could protect me against unwanted energies and situations.
  • I feel like a sponge – absorbing and taking on what is happening around me so I get exhausted very easily.
  • I feel like I need to rush and speed up.
  • I feel I can have a withdrawn quality in my presence. 

Emotionally

  • I easily feel intimidated and take things personally.
  • I feel victimized and hurt but never choose to express it, instead I become angry, hard and sometimes aggressive.
  • I protect myself by becoming aloof.
  • I can be hyper-sensitive to be told off like a little girl. I feel I need to justify and explain myself to be approved and not taken as wrong.
  • Little things can throw me out of balance.
  • I can get very tense when I feel someone criticizes or makes a joke of me.
  • Because I can be hyper-sensitive to others’ moods and needs, I can go into sympathy very easily and tend to anxiously smother and please. Deep inside I want to be taken into consideration and be included as well.
  • I avoid fully committing to relationships, activities and facing certain situations. Life feels like a burden I must endure and too much to put up with.
  • I can literally cry like a baby.

Mentally

  • I can easily get distracted and stimulated.
  • I rely on hearsays.
  • I second-guess and criticize myself.
  • I can feel embarrassed for hours.
  • I can fall into comparison easily.
  • I blame others for how I feel and how they affect me.
  • I tend to sort things out mentally, compulsively finding solutions to problems and conciliate with others, without truthful contemplation.
  • I can dwell on past hurts and negative events for a while before letting them go.
  • I can easily go into multi-tasking when trying to respond to all the external forces and thoughts in my head.
  • I can make it all about how I come across and if I will be accepted or believed.
  • I tend to go into stories and use more words than necessary to fill up the spaces in order to not feel uncomfortable and not feel whatever is going on.
  • I can be very stubborn in my ideas, beliefs and ways to do things. As if in this way I can protect myself from being hurt and feeling less.
  • I tend to feel that I don’t belong to any place, nor any place is right for me.
  • I dream of a perfect world, not for others but just for myself.
  • I have a need to check out, comfort myself and withdraw from life.

All of these can be summarised as:

Living in a permanent reaction and denial of life as it is.

It can be depicted as:

A fearful, pale, small girl in the centre of a vast world, surrounded with lots of arrows pulling her outside of herself and threatening to lead her towards disintegration. As a reaction and protection she holds on tightly to whatever is around, reject and fight hard – deep down she feels scared and helpless.

Is there really any hope for someone who is so hyper-sensitive?

Well…. yes of course there is! This is something I’ll explore more in my next blog on reclaiming Sensitivity as the Strength it Truly is.

338 thoughts on “Is Sensitivity a Weakness or a Strength? Dealing with the Insecurities of a Hyper-sensitive Woman

  1. None of us can stop feeling whats going on in the world. I’ve learnt to connect to my Soul and this is a quality, an anchor that I can feel. Without this the only thing I feel is the nonsense in the world. Energy that is not from soul overwhelms everything.

  2. Are we prepared to acknowledge that our inherent sensitivity is also part of our ability to feel what is happening in life and without it we can be at the mercy of life rather than having a deep understanding from which wisdom can be lived.

  3. Hypersensitivity is an overwhelm from feeling so much but not having the skills to be able to translate what is felt. Taking a step back and building the relationship and the language is a life-changing study that costs nothing but offers the greatest investment.

  4. It is only when we are truthful and honest with ourselves can we heal unresolved hurts and be the person we truly are rather than trying to something or someone we are not.

  5. These observations are so powerful and are a great tool of discussion with other women of the games that play out that stop us from truly connection to the depth and wisdom that lies within us all.

  6. It is only when we are willing to welcome our sensitivity and appreciate what it offers us that we are able to let go of all the protective behaviours that we have built up whilst judging ourselves for being weak, pathetic, fearful etc

  7. The fact we know so deeply what is true and untrue in this world means we may never stop feeling hurt, however we can certainly learn to deal with it more graciously so we are not so affected or for so long – and appreciate our sensitivity that allows us to feel these things.

    1. Good point Melinda. One I have seen works in life. I can’t force others to change and be more loving. But I can work with myself and my relationship with feeling what is happening in life.

  8. I had never made the connection before but it feels very true that every time I react in life there is something that I don’t want to accept, probably because it triggers some old hurt or rejection.

  9. True sensitivity is an amazing way to be feeling and allowing everything to simply be instead of” Living in a permanent reaction and denial of life as it is.” A real sharing on the way we live and the changes we can make to support us and grow and so relatable to with the different way we can choose with
    an ease and commitment to our selves and life.

  10. We’ve coined sensitive as a bad thing, as if it makes us weaker or lesser. But true sensitivity is feeling everything and observing and reading this – which is a powerful and amazing quality to behold.

  11. I can recognize some of the traits your describe that covers up hyper sensitivity, like not able to look somebody in the eye, looking into a distance because it is to sensitive or uncomfortable. Yes men can are sensitive too.

  12. Despite what our world says and likes to promote, we are all very very very sensitive and whenever we do not surrender to the fact and deny it or resist it, we always will have to seek all sorts of medications to numb and subdue the fact. Yet because the fact that we are so sensitive cannot be changed or altered, there will always be a tension we can never truly shake when we do not live and honour our sensitivity.

    1. So true Joshua, we will always feel that tension and therefore if we are not at ease with feeling that tension and don’t have the understanding to be able to translate the communication from the tension, we will find medications and coping strategies which numb the sensitivity.

  13. How powerful, thank you this is amazing. What a lot of falseness got exposed here, and how beauty-full this comment is, because it is truth, we all do this: ‘Living in a permanent reaction and denial of life as it is.’

  14. I can relate with what you share, and am still learning to let go of some of these old ways of behaving that are not true for me, ‘I breathe superficially as if this could protect me against unwanted energies and situations.
    I feel like a sponge – absorbing and taking on what is happening around me so I get exhausted very easily.’ I am now choosing to observe and not get involved in situations, as well as not react, as these ways of being support me to not absorb other people’s energy.

  15. Fascinating to read the many ways we can cover our innate sensitivity, a very detailed account Luz. It is a gift when you realise sensitivity is a great strength one that allows us to ‘read’ what is going on around us rather than react to it all.

  16. Through choosing to heal our hurts we come to realise that our sensitivity is a true blessing rather than a weakness. What I mean is that by being in touch with our sensitivity we will know the bigger picture of what is being played out around us in life.

    1. Absolutely our sensitivity is there to support us and once we embrace this we have an amazing tool with which to navigate through life.

  17. It is amazing to read how important the reflections of other women were on your ability to accept being sensitive. When I look at the list of their behaviours, it is not attractive or admirable. No wonder we get the idea this is not the way to be in the world when we receive false reflections. I am only just starting to feel how strong sensitivity is and how lovely it is to actually accept how you feel.

  18. Not accepting life as it is, can distort our natural sensitivity into a series of reactions in which we develop coping and protective mechanisms which take us further away from living who we truly are.

  19. We can take on so many facades and masks and yet underneath all the time we are living with the tension of not living the love that we are.

  20. Thank you for sharing what your life was like being super sensitive, and how you used to be in life, ‘Living in a permanent reaction and denial of life as it is.’ It is lovely that you went on to claim your sensitivity as your strength.

  21. Mmm, I love the end of this blog, yes wait, lets stop focusing on what is wrong with me and maybe look at what is there to confirm that is true and allows me to respond to life rather than react.

  22. What you share here I certainly can relate to, having been like this earlier in my life. I am sure it is very common amongst sensitive people.

  23. I wonder how many people in the world this is true for, I imagine a lot, I know I used to be like this, ‘The reality was that underneath I was permanently feeling anxious, unsettled and nervous.’

  24. Wow Luz, you have not miss nominating anything and I can vouch that I lived with all this most of my life so nominating everything in such detail is great as this is the only way we can truly get over this false idea of ourselves. I am looking forward to your follow-up blog.

  25. Sensitivity is often portrayed as a weakness, where in fact it is an enormous strength. Supporting men and women to embrace their senses, and to use that sensitivity to empower them and those around them is what the Way of the Livingness is all about.

  26. It is so easy to get caught in the trap named here ‘Living in a permanent reaction and denial of life as it is.’ – for many years I did so and as I now let this go there is such an ease and settlement in my body, it’s something I learn more of each day as I find new things I think should not be so, but now instead of reacting, increasingly I observe and allow myself to feel and see what is at play; and if there is a reaction I know there is a picture I’m holding and so it’s an opportunity to uncover this and let it go, and each one I do allows me to be more in the flow of life.

    1. The ease and settlement that you share here monicag2 is far more loving on the body and a marker of what is available when we choose releasing rather than reacting to life.

  27. The only way to get out our reactions is to accept that we was living for long a momentum of reactions which cost time to get ride off. As all is energy first.
    So it is to stop this momentum in which we invite this energy into our body.
    What supports us is to built a loving solid relation with ourselves and our body.

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