How I kept my power by learning to feel everything.

Image by Justin Kauffman at Unsplash

Image by Justin Kauffman at Unsplash

People often ask me: "Do you ever turn off?"

The short answer is: No.

And why would I ever want to?

To live in the world with heightened perceptivity is not always easy. I spent a few years investing in doing deep inner work to not feel hijacked by the amount of sensory input I was receiving on an almost constant basis. I am still doing work to continue to refine and hone myself. I learn new things every single day about how much power comes with this gift, and how much responsibility it requires from me. It's deeply humbling most of the time. And it's also deeply inspiring.

I did not always experience the world this way. I was always visually perceptive and astute, but I had managed to numb and block most of the input coming toward me in order to function. This was how I managed to live in the center of New York City, work in office environments of thousands of people, and not implode. I thought I had it all figured out because I could "turn off" my emotions, but what I didn't realize was how much damage that unconscious choice was causing me, my relationships, and even my career.

I genuinely had no clue. I was just doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing as an adult.

Until I couldn't anymore. I provoked myself enough with intense international travel and deep somatic excavation through yoga and then weightlifting that my body turned on and wouldn't turn off again. I could no longer run away (from myself).

I personally believe this level of sensitivity is our birthright. Yes, it's been shut down and laying dormant for most people for generations. AND I assure you, your current self-identification as a rational non-emotional person is not your true essence. We are all sentient beings, and to allow ourselves to feel is to allow ourselves to truly be alive.

I'm so happy to see Psychology Today beginning to acknowledge the gift behind sensitivity, without also painting it as a weakness.

What is your experience with your own sensitivity? Do you feel like your emotions are an exclusively inner-world experience, or do you feel controlled by them when they surface? Have you been known to shut down how you feel to accommodate other people?