“You need to grow a thicker skin, Jen.”
“You’re just too sensitive, Jennifer.”
As I was growing up, family and friends liked to shower me with these words of wisdom. Unfortunately, although they thought they were being supportive, their advice had quite the opposite effect on me.
Instead of feeling protected, empowered and resilient, I felt vulnerable, broken and a failure. What was wrong with me? Why was I plagued with such an overly sensitive personality that had me taking things so personally? I always felt judged and hurt.
I felt unworthy through elementary school, high school, my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, marriage and two children. It wasn’t until I found myself with chronic daily migraines, anxiety attacks and depression that I knew I needed to make a change. That’s when I began to read, study and search out coaches, healers and therapists who could give me the tools I needed to shift my perception of myself and the world.
The more I learned, the more balanced and aligned I felt. I no longer viewed my sensitivity as my achilles heel, but rather my superpower. I moved from feeling unworthy, to feeling empowered. There are many books and mentors that helped me shift my perception, but I believe there are five crucial steps that will turn your sensitivity into your superpower.
Stop Placing Expectations on Others
We get hurt when others don’t meet the expectations we place on them. I don’t wake up every morning thinking I’m going to win the lottery, and when it doesn’t happen, I don’t feel hurt. On the other hand, when I set expectations on my children or my spouse, I am hurt when they aren’t met. I am not hurt by my family, but rather by the expectations I put on them. By surrendering our control and expectations, we also release the result of being hurt if/when those expectations are not met.
Recognize Judgment Disguised as Morals
I’m going to be completely transparent and vulnerable here. For years I had no idea I judged others. Truth? I saw myself as the good one (insert palm to forehead here along with major eye roll). I felt hurt by their decisions, their words and their actions because I judged them to be lesser than what I would choose. Wasn’t it a surprise when I discovered I had been disguising my judgment as morals? My hurt feelings came from judgment of how they should act and speak. I was setting the bar for them based on my judgment. I’m sliding in the word should here. If you are like me and don’t recognize the hidden judgment, simply pay attention to where you find yourself inserting the word should. It always accompanies judgment. When we drop the shoulds that tether us to judgment, we also drop the hurt.
Understanding the Opposite of What We Know is Also True
Growing up, I was taught there was right and there was wrong. And if knew I was right, then obviously it meant the other person was wrong. We couldn’t both be right. Could we? Today I can answer with a resounding YES!! There were so many times in my life I felt I had been wronged and hurt by a friend because they were wrong. Here is the secret I didn’t know: the opposite of what I know is also true. Just because the other person has an opposing idea, it doesn’t make it wrong. Their right is as true for him/her, as mine is for me. I was hurt because I was rooted in my rightness. But as we begin to realize that the opposite of what I know is also true, we can find peace and the release of hurt.
Be Grateful for the Pain and the Person Who Delivers It
Just like I believed in the simplicity of right and wrong, I also believed people were either good or bad. In my mind, the definition of a good person was someone who was kind and loving and agreed with me. The definition of a bad person was someone who hurt me by arguing and disagreeing with me. That unworthiness led me to think I was less than. What I didn’t understand at the time was we invite people into our lives to help us get clear on our beliefs. How do we know if we are willing to fight for a choice or belief or decision, if we do not call someone in to challenge us? Seeing the person as a vessel of clarity and kindness, not pain and hurt, allows us to view them as a mirror. They reflect in us any doubts we may have and they give us the opportunity to get clear and grounded. I now give gratitude for the pain and people who help give me get clear.
Identify Conditional Love When You See It
Here is the twist, I’m not talking about the love someone gives you, I’m talking about what we give others. I was so quick to feel hurt by others, I never realized that I was giving love with conditions attached. The definition of unconditional love is giving love without expectation. Can you see where I’m going with this? If you guessed that I’m circling back to my first step, not setting expectations, you would be correct. When we love others with the expectation to have them meet our needs, we are not loving unconditionally and we are setting ourselves up for pain. But if we love without the attachment of an outcome or condition, we are loving at the highest level possible. We are loving for someone else, not for our own fulfillment. Choosing to love unconditionally means releasing the condition attached to pain.
These five steps will work for anyone who is willing to choose to see things differently. If you are looking for more information on how to shift your perception and feel happy today, visit me at www.jenkupcho.com.