Thanks, always, to Louis C.K, for providing thought-provoking brain snacks.
As a sensitive kid growing up, my feelings were always hurt. A sideways look from a classmate or seeing whispers between friends were enough to upset me and trigger the tears. Sometimes, my feelings were hurt on purpose (even before the Internet, children were cruel) but sometimes, no one meant any harm and I was being overly sensitive.
I’m still just as sensitive and thin-skinned, but I’ve developed some emotional armour in my old age that keeps me from being hurt all the time. And while I’ve learned to adapt, I still think that there is some responsibility to claim when we become aware that we have hurt someone.
Hurt feelings are often a product of mismatched expectations: I wanted him to do this, he didn’t do this, and now my feelings are hurt. And while the dynamics of the relationship will often dictate how candid you can be about your wants and needs, communicating your expectations can save you many hours (or years) of hurt feelings.
The good ones, the ones who care about you, don’t want to see you hurt, and will likely make attempts to modify their behaviour or make amends. The others will show you how much you matter by way of how much they are willing to address what is upsetting you. How someone feels about you and how they treat you are intimately related – you will get your answer to the former by observing the latter.
“I didn’t mean to…”
“You’re so sensitive!”
“That’s just the way I am”
For all you sensitive folk out there, don’t let these phrases make you feel dismissed. Your feelings are valid and are worthy of attention and respect, especially by people who claim to care about you. Communicate your needs, express your frustrations, and continue being soft – this world needs more empathy.