Awareness can be a pain.
You don’t really get to pick what you are aware of. There is no simple way to be aware of the good stuff and not to the bad stuff.
It’s even trickier than that. Sometimes, what we think of as good stuff is stuff that we are comfortable with but is blocking the way to better stuff, and sometimes what we think of as bad stuff contains lessons that will open the way to new understanding and new delights.
You don’t get to pick what you are aware of, but you do get to decide how to manage that awareness. Do you ignore, engage, or just get overwhelmed?
People who identify as “highly sensitive” are keenly aware of the costs of too much awareness.
We have spent our lives trying to explain what we see in the world, trying to help other people who we can see need change, trying to find people to help us navigate through the torrent of awareness that we find overwhelming, and running into dead ends.
Instead of being understood and appreciated, we are often seen as touchy, intense, and overly sensitive. People want to help us shut down our awareness rather than to help us engage and polish it.
Instead of our awareness making us feel connected and powerful, a valuable asset to our group, it can make us feel lost and lonely. We become frustrated and isolated, working to put on a front that keeps us functional in a world where an ever increasing pace means that little stresses, fights and challenges are just seen as normal.
People don’t seem to understand how much our sensitivity turns what they see as little irritants into big challenges for us. We try and explain our experience, but understanding it takes a kind of sensitivity that most people don’t have. Even the people who are sensitive are often bogged down in their own challenges of sensitivity, not able to be present for us.
The world around us gets faster and more intrusive, assuming that consumers can act as shock absorbers as things get tighter, which makes people around us more and more consumed with just staying on the treadmill, with little room for their own awareness and even less for those around them.
Our awareness, though, our sensitivity to people and situations around us, isn’t just a burden, it is also a gift. Running from it is like trying to run away from our own feet; wherever we end up, there they will still be.
If you find your sensitivity has always been cranked up and you are looking for better ways to use it in the world, you might benefit from reading about highly sensitive people, and even seeking out gatherings and professionals that offer support.
It might help turn that pain of awareness into bliss.