It’s not easy being sensitive in today’s world. I have always been one that will get emotional easily. I was recently at my dad’s memorial, and my uncle mentioned that there’s a family trait where we get emotional over the dumbest things, really any little thing can set us off. He doesn’t have it, but he mentioned several family members who do. It was a relief to me. Being this is a family trait, it means that this surge of emotion is something that I’m stuck with, rather than something that developed in me.
I’ve passed it on
My son has the trait as well. I spent the better part of his preteens trying to teach him to hide it because no one likes a man who cries. I could tell him this in earnest because I have the same tendency. My eyes will tear up when I speak about something I really like or admire, even. It’s maddening. Our society sees this behavior as a sign of weakness, and in children, a sign of approval for bullying. It makes you a target. And for all the BS going around about bullying, I don’t see anything being done to bullies. It’s easy to stop. We have zero-tolerance for everything else today, why not start having a zero-tolerance for bullying behavior? As always, I digress.
So yes, I’m emotional. But I control my emotions, for the most part, it’s only the sadness that overcomes me from time to time. It’s the emotions that manifest into physical cues that I can’t control. So anger will be obvious, as well extreme sadness. I will tear up. I guess if there is an emotional scale, we’re the polar opposite of a psychopath. We feel everything.
I feel everything on a larger scale
I wonder if there’s a culture that sees this behavior for what it is, being in touch with the environment around you, and being taken aback when something bad happens. We are equally affected by incidents that make us happy, but no one seems to care about those. They only care about the ones that make you cry, like a dog on the side of the road, or a story about someone struggling in life. Or Heaven forbid, an injured cat struggling for life. Cue the waterworks.
I’ve had to change things
I’ve had to adjust my facebook feed to not show me those types of things. As a matter of fact, I try hard to just stay off of Facebook these days, as it can have such an effect on my mood. I read a while back that the algorithm Facebook uses doesn’t determine between good and bad, so if you click “like” on an animal story, it will show you animal stories, regardless of whether they are uplifting or disheartening. That’s a struggle for me. I want to read the uplifting ones, but stories about animals suffering get me every single time. I just can’t read them anymore.
Fortunately, I know I’m like this, so it’s not like I let it affect my behavior. I don’t need to give money to every cause I feel strongly for. I’d have no money left. So there’s not a link between being emotional and strength of will. Feeling more doesn’t make you a lesser person, it makes you more human. I have to control my emotions continually. If anything, it makes me stronger because I’m constantly focused on not letting my emotions control me. Again, except for the physical responses you can’t control, I do a very good job of not letting them out. The first step was realizing that I’m this way. Once I know that I’m overly sensitive, I can take steps to not respond to what I’m feeling.
How did this survive?
I imagine in caveman days, this was a valuable trait. Maybe not, now that I think about it. Cavemen crying doesn’t seem to be a really solid argument point here. So how did this trait evolve? Is it true that women prefer sensitive guys? If so, OK, that makes sense. My sensitive ancestors got the ladies. But how, if this is true, does society hold sensitive guys in such contempt while women search for them? These seem like mutually exclusive ideas. Yet, here I sit, with a genetic predisposition to be ruled by my emotions. It’s frustrating to not be in complete control of yourself. But then again, it’s probably why I have to turn to writing to stay sane. At least I have an outlet, I know others in my family who aren’t so lucky.
This post really breaks the rules. I have no call to action, I have no real reason to post this, and I have nothing to teach you if you are like me. All I can do is commiserate with your plight. Feel free to drop me a note in the comments, either way.
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