The Unexpected Benefits Of Embracing Your Sensitive Side

Men and women alike have societal pressures that make them retreat from showcasing their sensitivity.


Men are often told they show no emotion at all, making them pompous robots. Meanwhile, women are often told they’re “too sensitive,” “weak-minded,” or “taking everything so personally.”

Regardless of culture’s status quo, sensitivity can’t be summarized as a hyperactive emotion—such is a disservice to the positive change sensitivity can bring. In fact, there are plenty of unexpected benefits to embracing your sensitive side, regardless of gender, if you’re willing to drop the stigmatic definition. Here are a few.

1. Reaching new levels of empathy

Sympathy means that you extend your condolences to someone who is hurt or grieving, but empathy requires that you offer up your heart, BetterUp explains. You take the time to feel what they are feeling, putting yourself in their shoes, no matter how heavy they feel. When you embrace your sensitive side, you can reach new levels of empathy that foster deeper, healthier relationships.

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2. Being someone people can talk to

When others recognize the empathy you exhibit, you become someone they can talk to. You become someone they can trust. Not only are you willing to hear them out, but your sensitivity to their needs allows you to offer genuine encouragement and thoughtful advice (should they ask for it).

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3. Dealing with trauma

Brunette wearing hat©iStock/cipella

When you are sensitive, you can be kind to yourself. This allows you to take note of any trauma that seems to crop up and wreak havoc in your daily life. You more easily notice the heavy, negative thoughts that reoccur in your mind, which gives you material to bring to a therapist, counselor, or trusted mentor who can help you begin dealing with trauma. Sensitivity, when handled healthily, can lead to healing.

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4. Connecting with your partner

When couples are more sensitive to each other’s needs, opinions, hopes, etc., communication is more open, honest, and respectful. This doesn’t mean there won’t be misunderstandings, fights, or occasional meltdowns—because we’re all human—but there’s something to be said for girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives, who make an intentional effort to be sensitive to their partner. It’s a way of saying, “I value who you are and want to communicate in the best way possible for you.”

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5. Thinking before speaking

When you are sensitive to someone’s situation or how they feel, you more easily think before speaking. This is something that I think every human can and should work on. How often do you snap at your spouse who seemed short on the phone before considering how their work day might have gone? What about the cashier who seemed too zoned out to do her job in a timely manner? Could she have received terrible health news the day before?

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6. Discovering new hobbies

Sometimes, sensitivity is as simple as slowing down to notice yourself and understand what makes you tick. When you are sensitive to what brings you joy, you can discover new hobbies. Perhaps your headspace seems much clearer after you’ve gone for a jog outside, taken a painting class, or journaled before bedtime. This sensitivity allows you to invest in what gives you positive energy, creating a more healthy you.

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7. Protecting yourself

It’s important to be sensitive to how others treat you, in word and deed. When you take time to recognize people who talk down to you or abuse your kindness, you can more readily protect yourself from those who crush your spirit. This safeguards your inner circle, allowing you to keep out those who want to mentally and emotionally tear you down.

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8. Appreciating the past

Embracing sensitivity is a mechanism for appreciating the past. You understand what makes people who they are, the history of their family’s unique experiences. When you take time to understand where someone comes from, you allow yourself to be vulnerable to the idea that while others may be different from you, these differences aren’t always “wrong.” You discover that there might be more than one way to make lasagna, decorate the Christmas tree, or spend quality time with cousins.

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9. Engaging the present

Just as sensitivity allows you to appreciate the past, this translates into a healthy way to engage the present. When you discover how people before you did things, you can recognize what was good or bad, right or wrong, about their methods. This makes you sensitive to how you make decisions about what’s now best for you and your family.

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10. Being conscious of the future

Sensitivity towards how things are makes you mindful of the future. People who are sensitive to what’s to come are often the leaders, the innovators, and the motivators for positive change today. They can recognize what went wrong in the past and create a better way forward. They can see what’s working now and find more effective ways to continue implementing the healthy process.

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11. Making room for faith and hope

I’m a faith person, so when I embrace my sensitivity to the spiritual elements of life, I feel more in tune with my Christianity. The sunrise is something I pause and reflect on. People are more than busybodies crowding the streets. Hope is more than just a word. Sensitivity to my faith allows me to look for and believe in miracles and the things that are beyond this world.

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12. Making amends

When you are sensitive to other people, understanding that they can never be perfect, it’s easier to make amends with those who have wronged you. Forgiveness flows faster when you can relate to another person’s humanity, recognizing how you might act in the same negative way towards others given similar circumstances. Meanwhile, you can more readily swallow your pride and apologize when you’re sensitive to how your actions might have hurt someone else.

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13. Being at peace with your actions

When you’re sensitive to how your decisions impact others, you’re more likely to change how you interact with people. Often, this change is for the better. When you begin treating others with the kindness and courtesy you long for, you can be at peace with how you live your life. If you aren’t sensitive to how your words and actions can make or break a person’s day (or their confidence, self-worth, etc.), it’s hard to make adjustments to become a better person.

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14. Releasing bitterness

When sensitivity towards others prods you to change your life for the better, it’s much easier to release bitterness. Bitterness only destroys you; it never hurts the person you are harboring resentment against. Being sensitive to this truth allows you to break free from bitterness’ deep, unrelenting grasp. Life’s too short to be insensitive to just how toxic bitterness can be.

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15. Establishing personal accountability

Being sensitive—being aware of who you are and why you view people and life the way you do—allows you to establish personal accountability. It makes you aware of the weight of big decisions. Meanwhile, it sheds light on how simple actions throughout your day, like a smile or a kind word, can dramatically change someone else for the better.

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Peyton Garland is a boy mama and Tennessee farmer who loves sharing her heart on OCD, postpartum life, and hope in the messy places.