Most of us grow up learning the wrong messages about sensitivity.
And so we spend large parts of our lives trying to “handle” it and work around it, instead of thriving within it.
In doing so, we steal something from ourselves. Our confidence, our softness, our graceful power, our ability to feel fully alive.
And so we live within emotional prisons of our own making. Trying to fit a norm instead of living authentically to who we are.
With that can come regrets. And while there’s nothing we can do to change the past, we can be mindful of how we want to live now, and the regrets we want to avoid.
Below are five regrets all sensitive souls should avoid from this day forward:
1. Not Protecting Your Softness
In my eyes, softness is something to aspire to.
When my daughter cries so hard she can hardly breathe, it’s my softness that gently embraces her, honors her emotions and helps her to release them, free of shame or judgment.
When my husband lets down his guard and shares his inner struggles with me, it’s his soft side that I see and find the deepest connection with.
When my friends see through my sleepless exhausted early motherhood eyes and know that the real me is still in there, it’s their softness that allows them hold a patient spot for me in their hearts.
When I lose my patience, snap, and feel nothing but bitterness, I know I’ve deviated from the softness that I long for and long to give. And I try to find my way back.
The chips on our shoulder, the agendas we place on others, the harshness we inflict, those are all deviations from love. They make the world feel bleak and scary.
Yet it’s our softness that we often view as the culprit. We’re not tough enough. Our skin isn’t thick enough. Our voice isn’t loud enough.
Act tough and hard, never soft.
Respectfully, I disagree. Find your softness. Honor it. Protect it. And share it with others.
2. Believing There’s Something Wrong With You
Almost every email I receive from readers, starts with the following words:
“For most of my life, I believed there was something fundamentally wrong with me.”
Life is so short, but this is the feeling so many of us carry around in our hearts.
We go through life believing that we are broken, damaged and unworthy. And so we spend so much time trying to hide ourselves, trying to fit in, trying to simply keep the peace.
We apologize for our feelings, for getting in the way, for being reactive. For our very existence.
It’s such a shame.
For each person who has gone through life carrying this empty feeling in their heart, I honor you. And I ask that you let this feeling go.
There is nothing wrong with you simply because you feel deeply, quite the contrary. You will find so much more joy within yourself, and give so much more to the world, once you stop telling yourself this story and instead start focusing on your strengths.
3. Not Trusting Yourself
When we live our lives trying to fit a norm, instead of embracing who we really are, we lose trust in ourselves. Subconsciously, we begin to doubt our every feeling. As a result, we often end up allowing things into our life that we shouldn’t.
We stay in bad relationships, we put up with things that hurt us, we pursue careers that aren’t meant for us.
I know I did.
I allowed so many things in my life that I shouldn’t have, for the simple reason that I didn’t trust myself.
I didn’t believe in my capabilities. I didn’t listen to my intuition. I didn’t love myself enough to set boundaries.
And so I didn’t follow the paths that called to me. I tolerated things I shouldn’t have. I didn’t ask for help when I desperately needed it.
Now, I choose to trust myself. When people tell me to go back to being a corporate lawyer so I can make the big bucks, I stop them and tell them that I choose to live in alignment with my authentic self, even if that means less money.
When relationships come into my life that feel suffocating and toxic, I ease away from them.
And, perhaps the hardest thing for me of all, when I’m completely overwhelmed by all that life is demanding of me, I ask for help.
The more you trust and honor yourself, the better you’ll craft a life that suits your unique feelings, desires and needs.
4. Letting Worry and Guilt Consume You
As sensitive souls, we worry so much about our emotional footprint. Did we say the wrong thing? Do the wrong thing? Act the wrong way?
Just when I think I’ve come so far with treating myself well, close friends will point out how harshly I’m actually addressing myself and my perceived errors. It’s only when they reflect my words back to me that the reality becomes clear.
We all make mistakes. We all have to live and learn. But to make mistakes and then beat yourself up endlessly for them, is a rough way of living.
You can choose to obsess over your perceived errors, or you can choose to live. You can choose to treat yourself horribly, or you can choose to treat yourself with the forgiving and graceful heart you give to others.
These aren’t choices you make once, you make them over and over again every time you begin to feel consumed by thoughts of your missteps.
Sensitive people can be zones of comfort for others, but war zones internally.
End the war, show yourself the compassion you share so generously with others.
5. Not Finding Joy in All the Feelings
There is joy in the tears. Joy in the struggles. Joy in all the ups and downs.
As I go through early motherhood, I constantly face the choice – do I feel the joy or do I only feel the struggle?
The last year with two little ones while juggling a new career has quite possibly been the hardest year of my life. But it’s also been the best year of my life. And when I’m being consumed by chaos and sleep deprivation, I have to constantly look for the joy. Because it’s there. It’s always there when you look for it.
Things don’t have to be perfect to feel happy. Perfect never comes. It’s up to us to find happiness within the imperfections. Within the chaos. Within the roller coaster of heightened emotions. Within the tough lessons.
I’m learning to find joy in my exhaustion, because I know I’m fully living. Joy in my longings, because they lure me forward when I’m too tired to think. Joy in my anguish, because the lessons I learn will guide my life.
And when my little girls look at me, I want them to see the mama who finds joy in every moment, no matter how hard life can get. And so no matter what, I’ll keep looking for it.
A Life Without Regrets?
We may not be able to avoid all regrets, but some of them are within our control.
Our belief in ourselves, our softness, our happiness, we’ve probably all given those away, or had them taken, at some point in our lives.
But every day is a new beginning. We can choose a new path.
A path that honors our sensitive emotions, with no regrets.
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