Why Is Sensitivity Stereotyped As Representing Weakness?

With the advent of modern TV commercials, the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of sensitivity is the ad for Sensodyne toothpaste (“Masoodon mein jhanjhanahat” or “numbness of the gums”). Now that these advertisements are everywhere, the world sensitivity has been relegated to a mere joke, though what the ad is trying to say is anything but a joke.

But sensitivity as a trait is so much more than the emotion it explains. As with some others, the way sensitivity is seen as a trait is completely twisted. It’s not exactly what it actually embodies. It is seen more as a negative quality than as a positive one. And that is, in no way, an encouraging statement.

This might be a little vague. Let me explain.

Sensitive people are mostly viewed as those who cry or get angry easily, or in more general terms, those who are affected easily, at the tiniest provocation. They are branded crybabies or short tempered people! But the point is, these are not the only things that define sensitivity as a human trait. It is much more than that.

Sensitivity is the quality wherein a person can gauge what’s going on around them without putting in much effort. This could include gauging emotions, behavior, or situations in general. Such people have the capacity to be sensitive about things that happen around them. They observe more, they understand people better (sometimes in eccentric ways), and they know better than to pick a fight and disrespect others. They may cry without replying. That only means they respect you more than their own arguments mean to them. They may leave the room if they get angry. That only means that respecting you and maintaining that respect means more to them than their venting their temper and saying hurtful things.

Sensitivity is misunderstood in the common world so much that it becomes difficult for one to explain anything about it. Mostly because many people are very unfairly dismissive of sensitive people. They prefer not telling sensitive people anything. “Oh, don’t tell her anything. She’ll get angry and explode!” Or, “Him? He’s such a control freak!” Or, “You react too violently.” And all this, while sensitive people are merely trying to point out the obvious while trying to have a normal conversation that involves information exchange and explanations. (Sensitive people -> more observant. Remember?”)

Many-a-times, a person’s sensitivity is used like an insult – as if it is a bad thing. But once you understand the meaning of the word sensitive, you will be able to see the infinite depths that the quality possesses. You will be able to understand that sensitivity is not just being provoked into tears or anger, but it is also being understanding of the emotions of the people around you. The empathy that you see in them, you build in yourself.

All a sensitive person wants is to people to understand them for who they are, rather than judge them for merely two of the emotions that make up sensitivity.

6 - 25Mar - Why Is Sensitivity Stereotyped Into Representing Weakness

Picture Courtesy: Linnea Butler, LinkedIn!

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