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  • Carla Barber

Why Sensitivity is my Superpower

Many times in my life I've been told I'm "too sensitive" and, of course, because I'm a sensitive person I take this personally and feel like I have to justify myself as it feels like a negative judgment.


However, since completing CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and seeing behind the scenes certifying in therapy and coaching courses and meeting all kinds of people around the globe... I've learned that my sensitivity is my superpower, not my weakness.


Those of you who believe being "too sensitive" is a thing, may be thinking "How can you think being sensitive is a strength!?". Well, we all have our own strengths and they differ depending on who we are, how we grow up and who we meet. Like, yours may be that you're not sensitive and this works to your advantage in your life.


Commonly people think sensitivity is a weakness or negative trait to have. For me, it did use to be a weakness but, this was due to being told so. When I learned to retrain my mind to change my own perspective, belief and view towards it, only then did I start to use sensitivity to my advantage.


Let's look at how sensitivity is defined in the dictionary:

"Quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences."

and

"Having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others' feelings."

Being able to read people and situations with a clear mind free from barriers, such as; views, opinions and beliefs, means I guide and lead rather than react and try to control.


Now, I'm resilient and strong even though I'm sensitive. How? Let's break this down...


Resilience comes from being capable to bounce back quickly from things. It's being aware of situations, our own emotional reactions and behaviours of others. In order to manage feelings, it's essential to understand what's causing them and why. By developing self-awareness, resilience helps maintain a neutral perspective of a situation to think of new ways to troubleshoot and tackle problems.


Another characteristic of resilience is the understanding that life is full of challenges and change. While many problems can't be avoided, we can be open, flexible and willing to adapt to change.


One of my favourite quotes is:

“The only constant in life, is change.” - Heraclitus

When we learn to embrace and believe this fact, it's amazing how many doors open wide to allow for adaptability and creation. The world has black and white but in my experience, the most fun comes from the grey areas as there's so much more to play with!


Strength, of course in mental not physical meaning, is the capability to cope with the stresses, pressures and challenges life throws our way. For example: if you've ever had a manager has insensitive behaviors such as; lack of composure, lack of empathy, black-and-white driven and or focuses on helping those in the team who are most like them... these types of managers have an opportunity to build their strength.


Sensitivity, like any other skill, can only become a skill if a person wants to learn it. Which usually, if the above are more natural behaviors a benefit in developing sensitivity will rarely be seen.


Strength and resilience on the other hand interlink. When we're able to cope with stress, pressure, challenge and change we stop projecting our own incapability onto others which in turn will develop our interpersonal and composure skills. This makes us stronger and more resilient. It also enables a more level head to be able to better lead and guide our team no matter their personality types.


Putting all this together, 10 years ago I would have been a terrible Life Coach. My sensitivity and empathy levels were out of control meaning I would take on people's emotions and life problems to a point where it consumed me almost as much as it would them. I wasn't in control or understanding of what these traits were and how they could serve me and others.


But, now I know, my sensitivity enables me to detect true emotional state - beyond the front someone may be portraying - and have conversations with people on their level. I subconsciously adapt my body language, tone of voice and even words I used that will best serve them.


As a Coach, this means I identify when someone isn't being true to themself, where they need guidance and if we can work together. Without sensitivity, I could end up guiding people in the wrong direction, making false identifications or even be blinded by my own views, opinions or beliefs.


So, why is sensitivity my superpower? Because for me, I wouldn't be me without it. I'm not "too sensitive", "too nice", "a pushover", "lazy" or "easy". I'm generous, intuitive, dedicated, have immense attention to detail and a natural Coach. My communication skills are in my mastery. Knowing how to identify all kinds of feelings that go way below the surface means, I really do know how someone is feeling, therefore, know what words to avoid and utilise.


In essence. Being highly self-aware I've enabled my sensitivity to level up. I engage my feeling and thinking elements of the brain simultaneously which is a skill I've learned and mastered over the years.


Sensitivity enables me to be empathetic and have high emotional intelligence. Why would I not want that!?

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