I spent the last week and a half with my family. For me, time with family is always an interesting combination of a sweet treat with lots of love, and a battle to show up as myself, not who I was at age 15. In working through that this week, I saw very clearly that my biggest weakness growing up, is now my biggest strength. The thing I spent years being ashamed of and afraid of, is the very thing that is my super power. It is the very thing that gives me purpose in this life. And I’d bet, it’s the same for you.
Since I was a baby, I was sensitive Jessie, emotional Jessie, moody Jessie. My friends and family used to make fun of me for it, and I witnessed my share of eye-rolls whenever I teared up. I got bullied for being afraid in gymnastics, and was told “get over it” when I was struggling emotionally. I’ve been called dramatic, ridiculous, a bitch, you name it. But the thing is, none of that is all that bad.
Let’s be real - my life has been pretty spectacular. I am incredibly fortunate. I was raised by a family who loves me unconditionally. A family who was well-off, and not only able to put food on the table, but provide me with rich experiences that have helped me become who I am today. To this day, my parents (and other family members) support me in the crazy career I’ve chosen, and despite some judgement, are pretty accepting of my life choices. I’ve never been physically or sexually abused, I’m healthy, and well..I’m white. My life’s been…quite easy, in comparison to many.
So why all the tears? Why is Jessie so sensitive?
You know the gene that like, covers up your emotions and puts on a fake smile and goes to work as if everything is great? Yea…I didn’t get that gene. My heart is on my sleeve. And besides a couple of mean names, and eye-rolls, I was never stopped. So I think, part of my sensitivity is simply that, I never had to toughen up. I had the luxury to feel all the feelings, and still have dinner on the table. And while I sometimes feel guilty about my fortune, I feel extremely grateful that I’ve been able to use this fortune for good.
See, sensitivity isn’t just about crying because someone stole your cookie. Sensitivity is about picking up what’s really going on, and having a connection to yourself and others, that many people don’t even see. And while that makes you vulnerable to hurt, and instability, it makes you receptive to so much possibility. And when I describe how I was feeling during a situation that upset me to someone new (a family member, friend, etc), they often say something like, “well yea, we all feel that way.” And that right there, is why this is so special.
We all feel that way.
We ALL feel that way.
This sensitivity is not about my own upset, or hurt feelings. It’s about what having the ability to feel those feelings opens up. No, not everyone cries when their siblings get in a fight, but also, not everyone sees that their siblings are deeply hurting, and the argument was based on unresolved pain within each of them.
So this sensitivity, the thing I’ve been made fun of for and ashamed of for over 2 decades, is actually the source of my power. This is now my light, my purpose, my mission in life. I am put on this earth to be there for others, in their experience of “we all feel that way.” Not to trivialize it (nor to dramatize it), but simply to normalize it. You are not alone. It’s ok to feel that way, because you do, so let yourself feel it. AND, use that awareness and acceptance and discovery to begin to work through it. Rather than waiting for the next big fight to unleash your pain, simply walk through it. Let the tears out or have the uncomfortable conversation - now. And watch it dissolve, little by little. THIS is what I’m here for.
What’s your story? I’d love to hear from you. Do you go home and get made fun of? Are you insecure about something about yourself? Are you ashamed of something you do, or have done, or wish you could do? Do you feel like you have a deep weakness about you?
These are important questions. Not to sit in dwell in the problem of being made fun of, or whatever the case may be, but to look that insecurity straight in the face. Really look at it. And maybe, just maybe, that ugly weakness, can be your glimmering gold. It can be the thing that moves you to be you each day. The thing that impacts the people you love and touch. The thing that inspires you to be better for your partner, or your child, or yourself.
Happy New Year. Let your goals and dreams be based on connection to yourself. Rather than goal-setting to get around your “weaknesses”, why not love them? Goal-set through the insecurity, and into a freedom of sorts. A freedom where not only do you get to love yourself more fully (and therefore BE yourself more fully), but you also know that - we ALL feel that way. Embrace it or not, that’s up to you.