Are You Easily Hurt?

Until the day someone develops a cream to thicken skin, I need to find ways to fight my hypersensitivity. †One rough word, and I am bruised for the entire day, and sleepless at night. A reproachful glance cuts me to the quick. †In Ayurvedic terms, I am a typical ĎVataí personóprone to nervousness, anxiety, and yes, hypersensitivity.

Until recently, I hadnít quite noticed this aspect of my personality. But with time, you start introspecting a bit more, I think. And I only had to scratch the surface of my being to realise just how sensitive I am. To a limit, being this way is actually a good thing, because it helps you address your faults and attempt to correct them. But in excess, hypersensitivty can become damaging to yourself and your relationships. You become moody, irritable, aggressive, defensiveóand what they call too touchy.

Why Iíve brought it up in this post today is not simply to come clean on this negative trait of mine. Iíve lately been exploring a few ways of controlling my reactions to things and people. Sharing some of the helpful ones with you:

1. After the first reaction, try and see why the other person has said what they did. To understand is to forgive, and eventually, to heal. I know this is pretty common sense, but earlier, I wasnít doing this, and now I do. It does make a big difference. In addition to analysing the words and actions, I also remind myself of the good things and times, when the same person did good, helpful things for me. Immediately mitigates the resentment.

2. Find something to distract you. Iíve lost count of the number of times Iíve given in to wallowing, reaching out for comfort food, refusing to go out and try to forget things. Now, I determinedly change my clothes and step out. The moment I am inside a big bookstore,† I feel like I’ve been hugged. I am happy! Try doing something you love when youíre hurt.

3. Calm your mind. This is one tough thing to achieve. Trying to sit down in silence when youíre upset is very hard. But Iíve found a simple way out. I just donít try to sit in silence. What I do is, find a mechanical activity to do, if for some reason I cannot go out. So, Iíll start rearranging my cupboard, ironing clothes or chopping vegetables, chanting a simple prayer as I do. Slowly, the words become as easy and mechanical as the act of washing or chopping. The effect is tremendously soothing.

I am sure you have some wonderful ideas on handling touchiness, too. Care to share?

82 comments

Elisa F.
Elisa F3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Jay Williamson
Jay w5 years ago

this me to a t but never knew there was a term for it will start looking at this vata personality type and what i can do to improve my sensitivity

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Suzanne Loewen
Suzanne L5 years ago

What you are describing has also been the subject of a couple of books by Elaine Aron - "The Highly Sensitive Person" and "The Highly Sensitive Person's Workbook". I have recommended both of these to many people who struggle with issues because they are highly sensitive. Aron also has a website. It is a quality to prize in yourself as highly sensitive people can experience subtleties in life that others would overlook.

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Patty B.
Patty B5 years ago

I am also a Vata...AND...very sensitive as well .
What I have done to overcome sensitivity and some shyness is to volunteer at a food bank once a month (it is only held once a month) and I am taking acting classes .Volunteering just makes you connect with people where the common purpose is to something good for other people and your mind off of yourself. Acting class has a lot of improv with different roles and situations .It is making me more outgoing and less likely to take any crap from people .

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Scott Rubel
Scott Rubel5 years ago

Get involved in politics, even on a local neighborhood council or neighborhood improvement level. This will turn you into a pachyderm pretty quick. You will also learn how many times you may say something that hurts someone else that you never saw or intended.

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heather g.
heather g5 years ago

Shubrah, I always enjoy your articles very much. I also like KarenT's comment.
Shubrah, you sound as if you are well on your way to finding out how to deal with often unexpected cruel remarks. They often come out of the blue like an arrow that pierces your heart.... perhaps sensitive souls even appear more vulnerable to bullies.

I think there are many bullies that one comes across in one's life. They are mostly unhappy or fearful people who strike out at others. It is a really helpful lesson to understand fully that cruel remarks made - are about THAT person making them - not you!
When that hurtful remark pops back into your mind - cancel it by repeating something positive that makes you feel better. I'm sure you project serenity and grace to the world and it's best not to let yourself stoop down to the level of a spiteful person.

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holly masih
.5 years ago

a lot of times it is just a misunderstanding.a lot of times we say things and people take it to mean something totally different than intended.make sure that you understand what the person means before you get all bent out of shape.even if it was meant to be hurtful,try not to dwell on it.if someone consistently is saying hurtful things on purpose,it may be a good idea to put some distance between you and the person.

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Karen T.
Karen Thornton5 years ago

Sometimes hurtful comments are, in the eyes of the person speaking them, meant to" help" and that may be a positive thing sometimes; but more often than not a sensitive person is dealing with confident aggressive people with a touch of bully, and that's not OK! I am over-sensitive and have learned to think in my mind about what a nice person I am. I recognize I cannot change other people's behavior, and that the ugly stuff people choose to dish out to me is "THEIR STUFF" --- not mine. Separate their hurtful stuff from your good stuff. See it as theirs to own not yours. It really helps me to not feel wounded.

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Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Good tips to keep in mind. Over the years I've become a bit tougher, but have always had trouble finding the balance between determined self-preservation and turning my back on and closing out the rest of the world. It can be a balancing act, but I think your tips will be helpful. Thanks Shubhra.

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Carolanne Powell
C Powell5 years ago

Another helpful coping mechanism is to imagine that same person/people saying something very positive. Perhaps the opposite to what was said or make up a positive scenario in your mind. It is surprising how beneficial this can be & with practice, actually works. Keep in mind too that the person saying the hurtful comment may be having a bad time & is in a negative state themselves, or you may be taking things out of context. Just think POSITIVE xx

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