Red Hook, New York
Body/Soul | Local culture | Soft news
19 October 2021 01:28PM
Caroline Phipps


First published in Berkshire Style Magazine (https://berkshirestyle.com/features/Hyper-Sensitive.html), I will be discussing “Are You Hyper-Sensitive?” on WKZE 98.1fm with Up & Running Morning Show DJ Rick Schneider on Thursday, 28th October at 9am. (https://981kze.com).

Feeling offended, and expressing outrage, is now all the rage affecting every aspect of our lives. And short fuses and limited tolerance have their place, of course, when offence is serious and damaging. But in my inner elegance coaching practice, there’s an increasing hyper-sensitivity to perceived, and real, slights that’s become the issue dominating relationships and it’s causing unnecessary pain and confusion.

The emotional trip wires created by this heightened sensitivity are becoming increasingly hard to navigate. The last thing most of us want is to cause offence (particularly with loved ones) and this ironically plays right into the hands of those who understand the power of being deliberately offensive for their own ends. Offence can only be caused when we are quick to take offence. Politicians, for example, understand this only too well. The sting is instant and it’s a cheap way to make a splash, or feel superior, without having to make any effort.

So, why are we so easy to offend? Rudeness, blame, bullying, condescension, discrimination, and shaming, trigger numerous negative feelings, from outrage and resentment to hurt and humiliation. Feeling unjustly treated or judged in this way kicks in our primitive survival impulse, “how dare they?”

These overwhelming negative emotions render us powerless because they put us in the additionally miserable situation of feeling at the mercy of other people. To retain our power, we need to ask ourselves, why am I so easy to offend? What makes me so susceptible to the opinions of others?

Much of our sense of self-worth comes from when we were children. The first information we gather about ourselves is from the world around us. If our early experiences were negative, or perhaps conversely, we were over-protected, it may make us more susceptible to taking offence later as we are overly reliant on others to tell us who we are.

To get free of these negative patterns we need to strengthen our sense of who, and what, we are: So, the next time you feel offended:

Give the person the benefit of the doubt – remember most of us aren’t wanting to cause offence.
Don’t take it personally – it usually has less to do with you and more to do with them.
Ask yourself am I making a mountain out of molehill?
Am I looking to take offence?
Did I, even accidently, offend them first?
Is there a way I can take it constructively?

Removing ourselves from this negative cycle will improve the quality of our lives and our relationships by increasing trust, dialing down unnecessary drama and relieving tension. Think of it this way, less can get under your skin when your skin is less sensitive and the more comfortable and peaceful you will be.

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