As a sensitive soul, you appreciate the finer things in life, such as watching your own mental movie of your worst mistakes while laying in bed at night or re-watching the end of Titanic for a good sob. You wear your heart on your sleeve and read books of poetry—feeble attempts to explain the many feelings that make you more tender than the average person. And though it might have seemed like no big deal when you were younger, you’re an adult now. And bursting into tears at the drop of a hat is probably not winning you any brownie points with the boss (or your date).
So, put down the Robert Frost and stop listening to the Robert Smith. It’s time for you to muster up the courage to explore the biggest signs that point to a higher-than-normal sensitivity. And if you check off all (or some) of these boxes, well, you should really bone up on the 20 Signs You’re Afraid of Being Alone.
You have difficulty letting go of negative thoughts.
No matter what side of the bed you woke up on, the negative thoughts you experience on a daily basis tend to be incredibly pervasive, twisting your brightest days into anxiety-ridden nightmares. When you’re overly-sensitive, any insecurity or perceived judgment becomes a tangled mess of negativity that you struggle to overcome. And for more ways to let go of unneeded negativity, try out one of these 75 Genius Tricks to Get Instantly Happy.
You criticize yourself all the time.
Not only are the expectations you set for yourself incredibly high (your to-do lists often rival those set by top government officials), you’re also prone to criticizing yourself for not meeting these lofty goals. In this way, you are your own worst enemy, setting nearly impossible standards for yourself while actively ignoring any personal progress made—your black-and-white view of what accomplishment looks like will only set you up for failure in your eyes. Alternatively, even though you are highly critical of yourself, you often forgive others for neglecting to achieve either the small successes that they desire or those that you wish for them.
You fear rejection.
Your naturally anxious nature only heightens your fear of rejection in any capacity—whether or not the fear is warranted. This fear of rejection can especially become an issue when entering into romantic relationships, as the vulnerability required to trust your partner and open up to them can ignite feelings of extreme unease, possibly causing you to forego any intimate interactions in favor of security. Outside of romantic relationships, you tend not to go for that promotion at work or wear that edgy new top in fear that others will reject you. And if you’re looking to amp up your self-esteem, check out these 70 Genius Tricks to Boost Your Confidence.
Your stress becomes physical pain.
Eventually, this repressed anxiety you feel can actually turn into physical symptoms, like headaches and relatively minor stomach issues. These physical symptoms can either be initiated from one incident that was particularly upsetting or stressful or can accumulate over days and weeks from the suppression of negative thoughts that eventually boil over on to the surface.
You take things personally.
This one is probably a no-brainer, but it’s still worth pointing out that, while many of us may read into the actions or words of others, there is a fine line between pondering an interaction and then letting it go, and obsessing over one comment and then eventually letting it ruin your entire day.
Often those with increased sensitivities can’t take a playful jab aimed in their direction, no matter how light in subject matter it may be. Nearly every comment not entirely positive in nature is further analyzed and subsequently obsessed over if it doesn’t match with the way you would like yourself to be perceived. And for more behaviors to avoid, check out these 15 Daily Habits That Are Killing Your Confidence.
You worry about what others think of you.
Your anxiety over what others think of you applies to more than just those in your inner circle—even a lingering look from a stranger on your morning commute can send your negative thoughts into a tailspin. In your eyes, people are analyzing your every move and you feel unable to face their supposed criticism, though it’s safe to say that these criticisms are more or less the ones you throw at yourself when feelings of inadequacy run rampant.
You have a hard time accepting critical feedback.
Whether it’s an important performance review at work or your best friend was very vocal in her disapproval of your latest haircut, any negative feedback you receive seems to truly cut into your psyche. This is especially the case since an overly-sensitive person already struggles with the way they are perceived everyday—and this outwardly negative feedback just becomes a sort of validation for the insults you’ve already internally thrown at yourself.
You feel self-conscious in romantically intimate situations.
Even if you have been romantically committed to the same person for a number of years, it can still be difficult to trust them with the heavy range of emotion that you constantly wear on your sleeve. You often overanalyze their every action as it relates to you—like questioning why they didn’t kiss you before they left for work, or constantly worrying that those flurry of text messages they just received are sinister in nature. Every fight or small disagreement feels like an earthquake, and you often are overwhelmed with emotion in the aftermath, causing you to blurt out the wrong thing in the heat of the moment, or just to shut down completely.
You feel uncomfortable in large crowds.
Large public crowds are often completely agitating for those more empathetic in nature, as too many events occurring simultaneously can overwhelm and exhaust you. While you’re great at reading the emotions of others in more confined spaces, a trip into the city streets teeming with emotion can, at best, be entirely too uncomfortable. It also goes without saying that sensitive people don’t do well in dense cities like New York and Chicago, where tempers flare and emotions on the street are entirely too palpable.
You feel upset or anxious after reading negative news.
While this may be entirely too relatable in this day and age, feelings of anxiety and tension after reading about current events is yet another signifier of your heightened sensitivity. Even if you know that there is no need to take the negative news so personally, you almost feel as though you are partly to blame for the plight of others, leaving you with an undeserved guilt. On the other hand, a story about a flawed political leader or outbreak of illness can make you worry endlessly about how it’s going to affect you—even if the odds of that happening are slim to none.
You often feel unhappy on social media.
Nothing makes you face your fear of inadequacy like a quick scroll through Instagram, where your tendency to compare yourself to others is all too easy. However, unlike others who can log off and leave the comparisons behind, you let these differences between yourself and others weigh heavily on your mind until they spiral into an unhealthy obsession. At the end of the day, you can never just log off social media. And for more reasons why that’s a bad move, learn the 20 Ways Social Media Stresses Us Out.
Your bad days impact your eating and sleeping habits.
Your bad days become more than just a need to blow off some steam at the bar after an off day at work—they can actually cause your anxiety to skyrocket, affecting your eating and sleeping habits. More often than not, you’d rather focus intensely on every bad aspect of the day, replaying scenes until you realize that it’s been hours since your last meal—it’s often utterly paralyzing.
You are easily startled by loud noises and bright lights.
Similar to your fear of large crowds, sensitive people are easily startled by loud noises, bright lights, or anything else that is unexpected. Because of your need to feel prepared for every situation, anything that serves as a shock to your system is highly annoying and a cause for concern. Pro tip: Don’t accept future invitations to Fourth of July parties—you’d rather be cooped up in bed anyway, far away from the possibly targeted attacks. Also, you may have misophonia! To find out, This Is What It’s Like to Be Allergic to Sounds.
Group outings challenge you.
Your empathetic and intuitive nature makes you the best at one-on-one interactions, as there is only one person to read. But adding more friends (and their dates) to that equation is only a recipe for disaster. Group outings are difficult for you because dominating the conversation or attempting to win the attention of others feels contrary to your more passive personality. After these outings, you feel exhausted and need to recharge your social batteries.
You’re overly emotional about many things.
Whether or not we’re willing to admit it, we all definitely cried at the end of Titanic—but you likely cried through the credits, after the second helping of popcorn, and into the more uplifting movie you picked to watch as a palette cleanser. And while there’s nothing wrong with a good cry every once in a while, there are times that you can’t seem to keep your emotions in check even when they’re only slightly provoked. Even if you can’t relate at all to Jack Dawson’s story, your empathy has the power to extend to fictional characters and plot lines just the same.
You’re extremely empathetic.
Though we have touched on it quite a bit, it’s important to emphasize that what may be at the root of your sensitivity is actually a really great trait to possess. Your compassion and empathy make others trust you and lean on you in times of joy and sadness—and it can even work to your advantage in many situations that require you to make a quick reading of someone’s character. So, while yes, your compassion makes you more likely to cry at the end of Marley and Me, it also gives you a wonderful tool to better understand the people in your life.
Driving is a nightmare.
If you’re too sensitive, it’s very likely that you detest driving—and only do so with loud music while skipping every highway in favor of back roads. While your road rage isn’t necessarily aggressive, you tend to be easily driven to anger when people cut you off or dare to take your right of way. Rush hour is your worst enemy, as anxiety levels increase and your number of inhibitions decrease.
“Hangry” is very real for you.
At this point in your life, your friends probably know not to poke the sleeping bear that is your empty stomach. After a few hours without food, your hunger is all that you can think about, causing you to say and do things that were a direct result of your altered (and grumpy) state. You never meant those things you said when you were hungry—or, well, maybe you did.
You’re always dishing about the drama in your life.
Your friends are always marveling at the amount of drama you attract—and you’re always more than happy to tell them all about it. This might be the case because you either crave validation from those closest to you, or simply because you really do just attract that much drama. If you’re finding that your life is a never-ending soap opera, it may be because you have the tendency to blow most stories out of proportion—but there’s no need to worry, this is just your sensitivity speaking.
You need time to recover from social situations.
While alone time is probably essential for all humans, it’s especially vital to you in order to recharge after those social situations that require more than the usual amount of effort. If you’re more sensitive than most, you probably know at this point that scheduling more than two social events in your calendar during the week is cause for concern. And for more ways to relax on your own, check out these 50 Best ASMR Youtube Videos That Tingle and Relax.
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