Tuesday, June 15, 2010

“You’re too sensitive”

I’ve heard that all my life. Maybe artists are more likely to find some sort of personal stake in situations that really aren’t about them. Maybe the personal identification with situations, geographies,MP900178845 people is part of the source of the creativity – defining that connection for others to see/hear/experience. Or maybe it was just me. I’ve worked really hard as an adult to stop putting myself at the center of the universe. But there is a flip side to that. It comes with the risk of always putting someone else there. Anyone else. Finding that balance is tricky.

I was told once by a fellow Libran that although the search for balance is key to ‘being’ a Libra, they will more often be swinging wildly from one extreme to the other. I was never much into Astrology, but sometimes a statement like that just sticks with you. And I think it speaks to the ordeal of trying to balance your own needs with those of others in your life. And it makes you wonder in every situation where you sense a tension “am I looking at this from too personal a vantage point?”

But then there are times when you know someone is not being ‘real’ with you. When their words say one thing, but their tone says something different. When the difference between the two is important. I still can’t cope with that. I think I will never be able to cope with that.

I was once called '”painfully honest” by a former boss. I considered that a compliment. But as my mother used to say, “There is a difference between being honest, and telling everything you know”. I think I have managed to incorporate that adage into my interpersonal relations, but somehow there is a truth that isn’t addressed by that statement. There are times when the choice is not simply between expressing your opinion and keeping you mouth shut. I can’t find any rules for those situations.

The older I get, the more often I find myself out of patience with the game-playing, the conversational dance around a bottomless pit. A flawless pas de deux lets you live to dance another day, a false step sends you into oblivion. Why would a person ‘beat around the bush’ and therefore risk not making their point understood? Why am I being asked to ‘read between the lines’ of situations that I am not involved in, and therefore can’t fully understand until you tell me? I am out of patience with answering questions forthrightly, participating in conversations without guile, and then feeling as if I am smacked in the face by someone who feels certain it can’t be as simple as that. Yes, it can. And you know what? The world would be a gentler place if we could all just be honest.


  1. Thanks LeeAnn. I love it, and yes, I agree.
    -Dianne Sonnenberg

  2. Amen! We sound a lot alike between being overly sensitive and painfully honest.

  3. You need the sensitivity. You are an artist! But sensitivity is one thing and being touchy is another. Re people who beat around the bush: it's part of their nature. Re being too honest: Once you know you want to get rid of this aspect of your character do your very best to change it.

  4. Don't change a thing. It's the idiots who have to change. (Oh, did I type that out loud?)

  5. Thanks for all your comments guys. I know it's silly, but it really does help to know there are people out there who understand what I'm talking about.

  6. Interesting thoughts. My son is being bullied at school and their response to my enquiry was that he's "too sensitive." Shame on us! I really like your idea that connects sensitivity with creativity. Be true!

  7. Oh boy - I remember so well having to walk that line with my children - especially hard for me since I didn't really know where the line was in my own life! It's awfully hard to expect a child to have the perspective required to know when bullying is really about him, and when it's really a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My heart goes out to you - good luck!

  8. So very well said. I, too, have been accused of being too sensitive about a lot of things and yet too honest about others. I'm tired of the flack. Why are those two qualities seen as negatives? I don't want to play games, either.
    I think I'll try to apply your words below to other aspects of my life that I tend to overthink:

    "...it can't be as simple as that. Yes, it can."

  9. Yes Carolyn! Don't we over-complicate our lives terribly? And in terms of the problem of "over-thinking things", I used to teach piano lessons, mostly to children. Often I found that they 'knew' how to do something, but would over-think it and the gears in the head would jam up. My phrase that everyone heard at some point, some on a regular basis - "Don't think. Just do" You'd be amazed what you can accomplish it when you don't stop to consider whether or not you "can"!



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