Let me join you in harnessing your experience with one of the more devastating, thoughtless, accusations made by non-ADD people about those of us with an ADD style of Brain Construction.
“You’re Too Sensitive”
This phrase, “You’re too sensitive” may be applied to the five physical senses: Seeing, hearing, feeling (touching), tasting, and smelling, to our emotional sensitivity system, and to our responses to life stress and loss in general.
Why would anyone consider your visual sense to be too astute or not astute enough? It is true that some people are sensitive when facing the glass windows they look out of during daytime hour. They may need to move or even wear sunglasses indoors to cut the glare. We all know what it’s like to try having a conversation with someone wearing dark sunglasses – not a conversational plus.
On the other hand, perhaps others complain about not being able to read a menu clearly because there is not enough light to see the small print.
Both of these examples are known personally to me.
Neither is “caused” by ADD, but those of us with a high sensitivity rating as an ADD person will feel the effects in a heightened way.
But what is so bad about being sensitive to visual input? Look at it this way. If your whole body is fine-tuned to your senses, you constantly add stress to your body during your waking hours.
When it comes to hearing, I’ve never forgotten the criticism, “You’re too sensitive,” that a grandfather leveled on his 18-month-old grandson when the child covered his ears and started to cry as an eighteen-wheeler passed the family car in which he was riding.
The positive side of his auditory sensitivity only showed itself years later as the boy became a young man whose sensitive hearing allowed him to become a talented musician. Meanwhile, think about the number of venues in schools, at home, on the streets, at circuses and sporting events, when his auditory system was bombasted by stimulating noise at the level of overwhelm. Hopefully, neither his grandfather nor anyone else criticized him further.
The good news is that when we turn to consideration of sensitivity to touch it became a positive attribute for one young woman when she became a massage therapist of the highest order. Little did anyone know she wore her lingerie with the seam-sides facing out so the seams didn’t rub her sensitive skin and the tags no longer caused her to itch.
Finally, smelling and tasting emulate more opposite ends of an asset and liability continuum. Imagine the people whose sense of smell and taste helps them to discriminate the value of coffee beans, so much so that they earn an awesome living from their ability to assess the product.
But what do you suppose is the liability of being able to assess minute differences because of having a sensitive smell and taste? Yes, you get it. These self-same people smell anything that is minutely old or worn out, rotting or deteriorating . . . even a tiny bit.
Now, you can check your own amount of sensitivity regarding the five senses above.
Now let us turn to Emotional Sensitivity which makes up a major Attribute of people with ADD.
Those of us who reflect a BrainStyle with a high number of ADD traits tend to have strong intuition and feelings that outgrow and outlast those of many others we know with few ADD traits.
For example, feeling deeply leads to the wonderful human emotion of compassion for others, but it also brings us in touch with the pain of loss and hurt, be it a response to seeing a dead bird on the sidewalk, or the skinned knee of a small child. Maybe it’s hearing of another’s sad story.
However, it’s one thing to feel your own feelings of sadness, joy, embarrassment, and excitement and another to also feel the many feelings of others you know. You feel the pain of even those you don’t know. You may never meet the person because the source of your connection is a stranger across the room or a personality on a television show.
Add to that the painful feelings brought by endings of all kinds: loss, death, and vulnerabilities. Yet these painful feelings are often balanced by compassion, love lost only because it was there in the first place, and new beginnings that grow in strength as we learn to create new pathways to be followed if we choose.
Oh my, how fully we may feel each and every one of the feelings brought by the art of living when we are a sensitive ADD person who chooses to live embracing our ADD as fully as we can. That’s a lot of feeling!
It means, simply, they don’t feel to the degree to which you and I may. Perhaps they’ve learned to turn off their emotions, or maybe they are actually quite sensitive, so much so that your feelings affect them, but they don’t want to have to deal with them.
You can say, “I’m sorry that my feelings are bothering you. That is not my intent.” Or you may say something to the effect of, “I see that we are made differently.”
“I’m just the right amount sensitive for Me!”