If you are an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), I’m sure you’ve had people tell you to toughen up. I'm sure you've been ridiculed for being moved by something that seems insignificant.
People say things like, “I don’t know what you’re getting so emotional about. It’s not like we can do anything about it!” You may have also encountered dishonesty because others didn’t “want to hurt your feelings”. (When the truth is, it hurts more when you find out about their dishonesty.)
Being sensitive is often considered negative in our society. You are usually expected to always be tough, strong, and independent. Many consider sensitivity to be a weakness.
In some ways, we do have to learn to adapt and toughen up in some situations. Yet, I want to make the point that there is nothing wrong with your sensitivity. It can even be useful in Christ’s cause. There is nothing sinful or wrong about it. It’s just you being you.
This year, Disney/Pixar released the film Inside Out. The film was about personified emotions living inside a girl named Riley’s mind. Their names were Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust and Fear. Joy, the emotion who put herself in charge, does everything she can to keep Riley happy and joyful. She rarely lets Sadness do anything, and doesn’t see the purpose in having her there. Sadness has a tendency to be glum, pessimistic, and lethargic. But Sadness is also intelligent, intuitive, and empathetic.
|Sadness. She can't even today.|
Throughout the movie, Joy begins to see that Sadness has her place. Sadness had the ability to empathize with and comfort others. She could help Riley connect with her loved ones on a deeper level. We can learn things from our sadness, and all our emotions. This includes how we express our emotions and comfort others.
|Sadness comforts Bing Bong.|
This mirrors real life. People who are sensitive are also often empathetic. They feel what others are feeling, and can be incredible comforters and encouragers. People who are sensitive can change the world.
Barnabas was an encourager, and was loving to his brethren (Acts 4:36.) Jeremiah wept for his people who had fallen into sin (Jeremiah 13:17.) People who feel deeply can do great things for God and for the church. If you fall into the category of “bleeding hearts”, guess what? You’re in good company.
While we have this sensitivity, we must be careful to not let it rule us. Sensitivity can lead to cowardice and dishonesty. We must fight to develop a thicker skin to keep moving forward in Christ’s cause. We must continue to hope and trust God that he will not leave us. With that knowledge, keep using that big, beautiful heart to change the world!