I Found Buried Treasure
Janet, you are so sensitive!
I used to hear that from my mom and when she said it, I just knew it was a bad thing. And so, like a good girl, I became less and less sensitive. Of course, I didn’t bother to ask what she meant by being sensitive. I thought she meant my feelings got hurt easily. I don’t remember if my feelings did get hurt easily or not. Maybe.
I do remember that I put my whole heart into my friendships and I wasn’t able to distinguish a real friend from someone who wanted information, or who wanted to borrow my yearbook (only to cut out pictures of their newfound love that went to my Jr. High School), or if I would be tossed aside for the next best friend.
Yeah, so maybe my feelings did get hurt. But at least I had feelings.
And through the years, I became less and less sensitive. I viewed being sensitive as a flaw and a fault. It was something to be denied and contained. I never questioned that. And I became very good at blocking and burying my feelings.
The problem is, it wasn’t just my sensitivity that got buried, it was also my joy.
And I thought I was a master at hiding this part of who I was. But there are people in our lives that see through the carefully-sculpted veneer. I thought I was so clever and then a good friend of mine said these words the week before I moved to Arizona:
Janet, you are a delicate flower!
Wham! Double wham! Well, I got on my ‘high horse’ and denied this completely. Wasn’t being a ‘delicate flower’ the same as being sensitive? But through all of my vehement denials, her statement has stuck with me for the past 15 years!
Her statement cut to the core of me. And it frightened me.
You see, it wasn’t safe to be delicate or vulnerable or sensitive in my 25-year marriage. So, in my mind, being a ‘delicate flower’ was something that needed to be eradicated once and for all!
But this idea never went away. I began to think about what it might mean to be a ‘delicate flower’ or to be ‘sensitive.’ And maybe it didn’t mean that my feelings got hurt easily at all. Maybe it means that I feel things deeply; that I am compassionate, and empathetic. Maybe it means that beyond the exterior I present to the world, my heart is wide open.
And then about 6 years ago, I attended a retreat where we were put into groups. I was in the group of sensitive souls – the healers. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with my grouping (because, by the way, I’ve also denied my healing ability as well). And here’s what I learned from that retreat: not only was my sensitivity NOT a flaw, but it was my strength, my talent, and my gift. Wham! Double Wham!
So let me ask you these questions:
- What strength, talent, or gift have you been denying because you thought it was a flaw?
- What did you get ridiculed for as a child?
- What part of your personality was misunderstood by your family?
When I have allowed this particular piece of my personality to show itself (my sensitivity), magic happens. And I’ll be honest, it has frightened me. But since that retreat back in 2015, I’ve made a decision to show up. All of me, delicate flower and all. I found my buried treasure.
And it really wasn’t until I let that buried part become known (not only to me, but to the world as well) that I was able to fully engage in my purpose.
So, let’s get to the beautiful core of who you are that you might have buried. Get a piece of paper and just start writing: I am _____________. Fill in the blank. See if you can find 50 - 100 things. Oh, you’ll likely start with the roles you play, like I am a father, I am a mother, I am a friend, I am (occupation), I am (name).
And then maybe you’ll move into your feelings, like I am frustrated, I am sad, I am happy, I am hopeful, I am tired.
And then maybe you’ll move onto ideas you have about yourself, like I am successful, I am a failure, I am independent, I am working my way to the top.
And then take your list and see which of these identities you over-identify with. And see which ones you want to avoid and deny. And for these, dig deep and see if this is actually your strength, talent, or gift that has been buried so you could fit in.
I’d be interested to hear what you come up with.
Say yes to yourself by being willing to look at (and love) those parts of you that you’ve buried.
Sometimes you just need some encouragement or a small course correction. Moving out of your comfort zone can be scary, but you’re not alone and you are stronger than you think. If you’re ready for a different point of view or to shift to something new, I can help. You can connect with me by scheduling your free 45-minute Say Yes to Yourself Strategy call by clicking the button below.