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Highly Sensitive and That's Okay

Self-acceptance in a world filled with noise

Woman crying
Photography by Aliyah Jamous

“Did you cry?”

He already knew the answer because he knew me. A highly sensitive introvert who had just sat through a reading done by one of her heroes. Instead of crying though, the rest of the audience laughed. After all, the scene was meant to be funny.

Step back three years and not only would this experience not have happened, but I wouldn’t have allowed myself to cry either.

I used to live in a world filled with ‘stuff’. Things which unintentionally caused me stress, worry, and anxiety. You see, as a highly sensitive person, an overabundance of stimulation from things or people can be a major problem.

The things in my life (and sometimes the people), would overwhelm me and their sheer existence was enough to make me feel trapped in my own home. The chaos and disorder of my personal living space became so much of a burden that I would withdraw, unable to process the abundance of ‘stuff’ around me.

When I removed the clutter from my life, the chaos goes with it. Out went the ornaments and in came fresh air. Gone were the extra items on my to-do list and in came more time with friends and family. Out went the inner critic and in came an appreciation for my unique and introverted nature.

Crying in public, letting myself feel and experience my heightened range of emotions is no longer a problem. What started as a practice in reducing ‘stuff’, turned into a practice of self-acceptance and growth.

By hiding and ignoring your true nature, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice, but the people around you, too. Because when we embrace who we truly are, we encourage others to do the same and wouldn’t that be a wonderful world to live in?

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