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Sensitivity is a superpower. Cultivate it.

Luba Kassova | August 28, 2023
Sensitivity is a superpower. Cultivate it. Sensitivity is a superpower. Cultivate it.

I grew up believing that being sensitive is a weakness, something I had to learn to cope with. When I was young my friends teased me for being “overly sensitive” or “touchy”; for “overthinking things” or “philosophising”. My mother worried for me, mistaking my sensitivity for weakness. By the time I hit my teenage years I had learned to hide or suppress my sensitivity, putting on a show of bravado, which – I realise in hindsight – significantly delayed the start of my writing career. Nowadays my sons response to many things I deliberate over is frequently “it’s not that deep”. Their reactions reactivate my teenage memories.

In recent years I have come to understand that being sensitive is an asset. It propels you to empathise deeply with others and to search for answers and solutions to uncomfortable aspects of reality. Last week, reading Minka Kelly’s harrowing memoir Tell Me Everything, I came across an assessment of sensitivity that made me realise that sensitivity can be the force that drives people to take action. According to Kelly’s drama teacher Janet, quoted in the book: “Sensitive people change the world, and the rest don’t give a damn”. This crystallised for me that being sensitive is a superpower. To make a positive difference in the world you need to really care about it and feel deeply for it. Sensitivity is the fuel in a car, the paddle of a canoe, the sail of a boat.

So, if you are around children or adults who are sensitive, let them know that this is their superpower. Celebrate it with them and consider offering a bit of your time to discuss seemingly pointless aspects of reality that they care deeply about. That would be the best and most empowering present you could give any sensitive human being.

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