by Soksambath Pichny
I know you’ve probably been told that we should never take things personally. Well, I also tell this to myself A LOT. But, what does this exactly mean? Well, taking things personally means to take whatever happens to you and around you to heart. This includes everything, from people’s words to their actions. They all affect you on a personal level. You’re responsive to changes (even the small ones), and your often guided by your emotions. Because of this, taking things personally or being sensitive can somehow be seen as a weakness since we can also easily get hurt by almost everything.
But, no matter how hard I try to tell myself to stop doing this, it just doesn’t seem to work. I’m not sure about you but for me, whenever someone tells me to “Stop taking things so personal all the time!” or to “Stop being so sensitive!”, I have no idea what to do. Should I go and take a walk? Or take a shower so that those feelings would go away? How to stop it?
In her Tedx Talk about highly sensitive people, Elena Herdieckerhoff puts her finger on this problem by saying, ‘When you tell sensitive people that they’re being too sensitive, it’s like telling a person with blue eyes that their eyes are too blue. No matter how many times you tell them, their eyes will still remain blue.’
So, I think if I can’t change or stop it, why don’t I just embrace it?
When you’re sensitive, it means you are more empathetic and compassionate. You think about your feelings a lot, but at the same time, you can also understand other people’s feelings. You put yourself in others’ shoes and you also feel more compassionate towards them. You know how words or actions can be hurtful, so you wouldn’t say or do anything to hurt other people. That’s something nice because empathy and compassion are qualities that the world needs, right?
You also notice every little detail, which can help you to be more aware of your surroundings. You see the bigger picture of situations. You ask for causes and effects. You can also make better decisions or judgments since you look at the other sides of stories. You can detect changes in a person, a friendship or a relationship. When your friend starts acting weird, you’ll notice it. You try to see what’s wrong and do something about it.
Moreover, being sensitive can also help you to see through people (I mean not in a creepy way but in a good way). Since you see and think about their actions, you can somehow determine what they’re like, what they’re going to do, or what they intend to do. That way you can see whether they’re trustworthy or not. And you can also avoid them and protect yourself if they’re dangerous.
I know it can be uneasy sometimes not being able to ignore even the small details. But, I think it can also be helpful because if anything troubles you, you would then try to change it and find solutions.
That way you can also take actions to solve problems. I believe that the cause of many problems in our society is ignorance. Whether they notice the problems or not, some people still choose to ignore them. So, by being sensitive and taking things personally, you’ll notice changes and if necessary start to take actions.
Even if the problem isn’t affecting you directly, you feel sympathetic to those who are affected because you put your emotions on the front line. You don’t think, ‘It’s none of my business’. You’d try to offer help and do your best to stop the unfortunate action or feeling from happening again to you, your family or other people. And once you start to take actions, you can also become physically and emotionally committed to the cause.
So, that’s all! And I hope that after reading this, you’ll stop thinking that being sensitive or taking things to heart are weaknesses. Because in fact, if you do it right, it could be your biggest strength to help yourself and others as well!
Thank you and see you in the upcoming blogs!
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.