Being Less Sensitive and More Outspoken
If you’re finding that you’re getting offended more frequently, or that your feelings are getting hurt in deeper ways, it’s a distinct possiblilty that the problem lies with you and not with those offending.
That’s not in any way a criticism. It’s actually good news and a wonderful realization because you have control over your feelings. You can decide to exercise that control at any time. You can decide what is going to trigger, offend or hurt your feelings, and what is not.
Here are a few things that might help you develop a healthy perspective, while gaining mastery of your feelings and being less sensitive.
1. There’s an enormous gap between truth and opinion
We may know this logically but it can be challenging to remember or accept when strong emotions or vulnerability allow us to blur the lines. You may find yourself placing too much weight on the opinions of others, whether they may be close to you or even relative strangers.
For instance, your employer may offer a lackluster review based on qualities they value but that does not mean they are in any way representative of you as a person.
Try to absorb and reframe criticism by considering the source and the purpose behind it. It is entirely up to you to decide if it is constructive and whether it has value or merit to make you a better person.
2. Emotional control feels good
Remember this if nothing else, being less sensitive is not about being zen or dispassionate or detached.
It is about developing a mindful and strategic approach to placing emotional levees, to controlling or keeping at bay any emotional storm surges. You will soon realize that you absolutely have the final say in how you feel or react in any given situation.
3. Feelings are not facts
This is crucial. You will meet people who confuse the two every day. You may confuse them at times. Just take a breath and draw your conclusions by synthesizing logic with reason.
Your inner feelings and surface emotions are like essential divining rods, leading you to a sought after place, but in order to reach the life giving water you must then dig. Good tools, perspectives and approaches help you dig more efficiently.
4. Free speech matters and dissent is healthy
It can never be extolled too loudly that free speech is the cornerstone of freedom, truth and liberty. It is in the very bedrock of the best and most enduring democratic governments. Without it tyranny and despotism have and will ultimately prevail. This is true of societies, communities and relationships. Never let anyone dissuade you into thinking otherwise or you willingly relinquish the very freedoms that are your birthright.
When efforts are made to silence or cancel free speech then they need to be addressed and measures taken to ensure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone given a place at the table, a forum and opportunity to speak, to feel represented in any discourse, public or private. You feel respected, valued and empowered when you are truly heard, regardless of the outcome.
You might do well to ignore those who stoke those toxic embers but to call them out, to oppose them, to hold them accountable and to take them to task is to embody the very principles that free speech represents and the very best in us all.
We would not exist as a country without countless people who have risked their reputations, their fortunes and their lives to do just that. Your voice is as important as anyone else’s. Use it and don’t allow yourself to be silent or silenced.
Not everyone has to agree with you or your ideas but it’s crucially important to speak your mind anyhow, to propel the conversations, relationships and potential solutions forward.
5. You might learn something
There is always the possibility that I’m wrong or that I’ve offended and that I might be cancelled for it in some way, shape or fashion. There is always a chance I’ve injured some overly-sensitive hothouse flower with my direct words and rebukes. I’m not sorry, not one whit.
It’s better to be wrong and cancelled than to be silenced. You only learn by being wrong, a lot. You learn by making mistakes, a lot of them. You learn by listening to those you respect and those you love. You learn through pain, through hardship and through challenges.
You know when you don’t learn and when your chances to learn come to a screeching halt? When you follow the long line of a silent, silenced and subjugated majority…right off a cliff.
So remember, the next time you find your feelings are getting hurt, to process the idea in your head and not in your heart. Ask yourself whether the difficult information you just received has any worth, and try to determine whether you can actually benefit by learning something new. At the very least, try to remember to support another person‘s right to have an opinion counter to yours. Silencing another person is as distasteful, not to mention dangerous, as you being silenced yourself.
Lisa Ryan LPC
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