My friend recently said something that struck a chord within me. She said “I’d much rather experience life like it’s too much than too little, ya know?” during a discussion about our degrees of sensitivity and the pain (and/or pleasure) that it can often bring with it.
This got me thinking, and I decided I would use her insight and our discussion as a topic for a blog post:
Being emotionally sensitive can subject an individual to such seemingly endless, horrifically tormenting and excruciatingly debilitating internal experiences.
Being sensitive can lead to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, sadness, fear, jealousy, guilt, shame – you name it.
Being sensitive can perpetuate one’s suffering even further when accompanied by hyper-vigilance (as it often is), as being hyper-vigilant means finding (often untrue) evidence in one’s environment to back up all the cloggy messy sh*t already festering in the corners of one’s brain. This will inevitably act to cycle one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensitivities, even deeper.
Being sensitive can lead to tears which cascade in waterfalls; outbursts which erupt like uncontrollable volcanic eruptions; thoughts and feelings so overwhelming that they take over reality and render their victim paralysed. Often.
Being sensitive in this way is like being an “emotional burns victim”, in which individuals experience the ups and downs of life without much of an emotional buffer at all. If anything has the potential to sting, it hurts like nothing else. With little protection or immunity, we remain lost, delicate and vulnerable in a scarily fragile way.
In my experience, being sensitive can hurt so much that emotions may feel like weapons harmful enough to stop a brain ticking, a heart beating, a person breathing; inducing pain enough to kill.
Being sensitive has at times put me in touch with the darkest of internal storms and the most intense emotional reactions imaginable……
AND, it has also, during other periods, enabled me to feel such alternatively pleasant sensations that they almost make the suffering worthwhile.
Being sensitive can paradoxically, in this way, bring with it a unique beauty, infinite connectedness, rare liberation and unconditional love.
Being sensitive in this way has at times put me in touch with a happiness that contains a mindfulness and rawness many would fail to replicate.
Being sensitive has given me the proud happy tears to cry in response to beautiful music, children laughing, animals in the wild, charitable acts of kindness, my dogs greeting me when I get home, phenomenal natural sites, challenges pursued and achieved, loving acts of friends and family, connecting with creativity, experiences like skiing, parasailing, roller-coastering, engaging in other cultures and lifestyles… (there are too many to count.)
Being sensitive has enabled me to retain pixel-for-pixel memories of spectacular people I have met, magical places I have visited, words people have expressed to me and positive feelings evoked within me – all unique and wonderful experiences which have become part of the story of my life.
Being sensitive has also given me the opportunity to experience life for all that it CAN be, instead of what it is NOT, even when the two may feel inextricably linked or somehow convolutedly related, or even incompatible.
Even though when I am amidst a crisis, or simply during an averagely painful day, it HURTS to feel things to the extent I tend to experience them… Even though the feelings of pure connected happiness and freedom may lose out in quantity to the former by one to twenty… Even though oftentimes within a moment of pain I will wish and beg and plead for anything to take me away from its sheer intensity…
I can hands down say that ultimately, I would rather be sensitive than not… I would rather have intense experiences than be a flat-lining numbed out unfeeling zombie dummy… Or even experiencing life as merely mediocre… I would rather feel SOMETHING other than dissociated nothingness even if it hurts like a mother-fuc*er at times…
It makes the pain bearable because at least I know I am alive. At least I am feeling something. I least I am connected, regardless of the context or affect direction. And at least I can experience the positively beautiful moments in the way that I can do. At least I can retain a sense of immense gratitude and love within those latter moments: The moments which make the pain worthwhile.
Ultimately, I would rather experience life like it’s too much than too little, ya know?