How to be Sensitive, but not Easily Offended

Author: Diana Bigham, LMFT-S

Have you ever been told, “You’re too sensitive,” or “Get over it,” after someone hurt you? Or maybe you’ve been guilty of saying that to someone else? Sometimes we can feel dismissed and then paralyzed about how to respond. Offense is an injury not to our body, but to our soul and it can be painful. But what’s the alternative? To stuff our emotions or get argumentative with someone who just doesn’t get it anyway?

There have been times when I dealt with my emotions by stuffing them, telling myself that I just won’t share how I really feel, or just bluntly arguing to get my point across. I found myself in a pattern of broken and disconnected relationships, never feeling truly known.

Through additional experiences in life, I finally learned how to protect my heart, while staying authentically connected in order to love people well. Am I perfect at it? Not by any means, but I have come a LONG way.  I have learned to be sensitive, but not easily offended.

Let’s define sensitivity and give it a new label. To me, sensitivity means being attuned, which is to be aware of what is happening. This involves staying connected to the heart and aware of what’s going on around you. I want to be sensitive to my children’s needs. This is a good thing. I don’t want to be cold, disconnected from my heart, and just going through the motions day to day. To be offended means you are getting hurt or disappointed. This may mean we may need to adjust our expectations of situations or people.    

Through the process of learning to be sensitive, but not easily offended, I began to:

  • Own my own emotions and not take responsibility for others’ actions or emotions.
  • Validate my own emotions and stop looking to others to keep me happy.
  • Get healed from my own issues.
  • Find a place in my heart where I could love those who are offensive by adopting a new mindset.

Are you wondering how to do this and still love people authentically?

  • Do a heart check. Know your buttons that people push. Recognize other people are growing too!
  • Renew your perspectives about people and situations and shift your expectations.
  • Be open to using a new strategy or boundary-making skill. Find a new way of relating to stay healthy.

We all need healthy relationships. If you find that you are chronically disappointed in people, it may mean that you are looking to others to satisfy your emotional needs. If you have a hard time getting unstuck, consider scheduling a consultation to detail a plan that works for you.

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