The Highly Sensitive Mom
I hear these phrases a lot:
- You’re too sensitive
- You need to grow a pair (uhm, how is that going to work?)
- You need to develop a thicker skin
- Why are you crying now?
- Oh great, you’re in a mood again.
My A-HA Moment
I don’t get much free time, so reading anything is a rare luxury. During one of those rare moments, however, I stumbled upon an article on The Huffington Post titled “16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People.” Every single habit applied to me. The light bulb went on with a brilliant flash, and I realized OMG…I’m a highly sensitive person.
When something sad occurs…I cry. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie (OMG…can’t watch Beaches without bawling my eyes out), or a story on the news. I feel the sadness deeply, however, when something happy occurs…I feel the joy! Violent movies make me feel nauseous, because I can’t handle the hate they reflect.
The article made me feel SO much better. I’ve always felt so alone and guilty that I was a bad friend, employee, wife, and mom, because I’m so overly sensitive. Well, if an entire article is written about it, I can’t be alone, right?
I don’t think being overly sensitive is a bad thing. Because I feel so much, I go out of my way to make other people feel happy. I’m more compassionate and optimistic, and always want to help others.
I put a lot of effort into making people laugh, and into not annoying them, because I feel emotions so strongly. The feeling of being liked and respected is something for which I work really hard.
Is There Something Wrong with Me?
It’s not easy being an overly sensitive woman AND a mom. If the kids are misbehaving, I immediately think I’m being a bad mom, and I’m not teaching them properly to be well-adjusted citizens. I’m constantly judging myself.
If a coworker isn’t talking to me, I immediately think they don’t like me, and not that they’re busy and absorbed with their current project.
Being overly sensitive doesn’t necessarily have to hold us back. Now that I have a little hope, and that it’s not that something inside me is broken. I know that what I’ve been doing to cope with having rock-bottom low self-esteem, has actually helped me cope with being a highly-sensitive mom.
Steps I take to cope with being an overly sensitive mom:
Take a Deep Breath
First and foremost, BREATHE!! This is a positive step to take in anything you do. Not only will you relax physically, but that pause may be just enough for your logical side to catch up with your emotional side.
Look Deeper into the Situation
Most of the time, people don’t ignore you because they don’t like you. They most likely didn’t hear you say hello. We all get busy, and sometimes we get super focused on what we’re doing. They might be dealing with super stressful situations at home, and are doing everything they can to hold it together themselves. If our kids are throwing a fit in the grocery store, consider whether they’re tired, hungry, or just plain over-whelmed. Kids can’t handle social situations like adults can.
Moms have a bad habit of judging ourselves against other moms. We are our own worst enemy. We are no better, and no worse, than the person next to us.
Not to mention, enjoy the gifts you are given and strive to live in the present. Accept every day as a gift, and always look for the beauty in life. As overly sensitive people, we are programmed to enjoy that beauty more deeply.
Take Care of Yourself
If your life feels out of control, being overly sensitive will make everything seem WAY worse than it is. As a result, we feel the chaos as a tornado barreling down on us, versus the slight breeze someone else feels. Eat healthy, drink lots of water, and find a way to stay active. It takes a lot of energy out of you. You have to be at your best to cope.
Always work to improve yourself
Read an article on a topic you enjoy, listen to a podcast, learn to sew, or cook, or draw…anything that moves you forward. The energy you would normally spend worrying about how you are too sensitive can be funneled into positive activity.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
No one is perfect. We all have flaws and warped perceptions about ourselves. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t beat yourself up because you’re “too sensitive” and are having trouble coping. Above all, just let it go, and remember tomorrow is another day.