I grew up hearing often, "Stephanie don't be soooooo sensitiveeee!" In hearing these external messages my young brain was shaped and made to believe that sensitivity was a weakness, it was something I needed to hide, and that I had to show up strong no matter what. It took me until I was around 25 years old to have those beliefs challenged and that actually my sensitivity to just about everything is my super power and where my strength and gifts reside.
While in internship for my Masters Degree in Body Psychotherapy I had my supervisor once ask me, "What if all the emotions you are feeling in your session is something your client might also be feeling too?" Considering this was like a light bulb went off in my head. I could actually use my emotions and sensations in my body as information for what those around me might also be feeling and processing themselves to connect with them on a deeper level and I don't have to view my sensitivity to my surroundings as "bad" or something I need to push away.
I have always had a sensitive digestive tract and I have always felt my emotions quite intensely. These two things are related and inter-connected. When we feel things deeply but do not allow ourselves the space and time to allow our emotions to be felt all those emotions can get trapped in our digestive tract waiting to be processed and assimilated. Body Psychotherapist, Gerda Boyesen, came up with the term psycho-peristalsis which basically describes the digestion of life experiences. Wounds, trauma, past struggles can all get trapped in our digestive tract waiting to be processed and assimilated into our being. A lot of the work I needed to do in the healing of my gut was giving myself that space and time to process and release old wounds and old beliefs from my body that was no longer serving me in my life.
Now whenever I find myself with an upset stomach I can slow down, rub my belly, and explore what emotions are trying to bubble up from inside that just need to be felt and heard and appreciated for their presence. Our sensitivity in this way can be viewed as the greatest gift to show us how we are processing our external environment and guide us in how we can show up more honestly within ourselves and with others. Have you ever felt anxious while around a dear friend? Have you ever had a feeling someone was going to call and then they did? Have you ever cried and had no idea why you were crying but you just knew you needed to cry?
This is all sensitivity to your surroundings running through you.
If you have ever considered your sensitivity a "negative" thing I invite you to adopt a new view. Put on your sensitivity super hero cape and explore what perhaps your sensitivity is trying to teach you and how it is even guiding you in deeply connecting with yourself and others. We can use our sensitivity as the greatest gift to support ourselves and others in truly being seen and that we empathize and relate on a very deep level of how painful and intensely joyful this human experience can be.