ISFJ: DEFEND YOUR SENSITIVITY

Someone told me that I was too sensitive recently. That I carry myself too highly.

Someone said that as if that is a bad thing.

I’m sensitive and I’m proud of it. Every sensitive goddamn bone in my body — every insecure stretch mark and cellulite dip. See, the thing is… being sensitive is treated as a weakness. It’s treated as if my armor isn’t as strong as someone else. He’s wearing chainmail and I’m wearing a cotton garbs. But.. it’s not.

Being sensitive is understanding my emotions. It’s understanding when things aren’t right. It’s trusting yourself to cry when you need to. I’m a caring person, a funny person, a person who does her best and being sensitive is only one part of what I like about myself.

It took 10 long years to actually give a shit about myself and believe I can do anything I set my mind to. It took a long time of looking in the mirror and hating myself or immediately regretting every word that comes out of my mouth.

Don’t confuse sensitivity for a blossoming empowerment. Don’t turn your nose up at people who spent their entire life building up walls to protect themselves.

Sensitivity isn’t something that should be shamed. Sensitivity is not weakness or lack of pushing through. When I heard I was “too sensitive” — I was hurt. Yeah, it may be joking or not malicious, but the context of sensitivity being a downfall is baffling.

What’s wrong with being in touch with your own threshold?
What’s wrong with knowing something was disrespecting my boundaries?
What’s wrong with calling out injustices in the world?
What’s wrong with being the quiet girl in your friend’s circle?
What’s wrong with so-so at socializing?
What’s wrong with being vulnerable?

I strive for a world where sensitivity, empathy, and metal health can work together professionally and personally without shame. But, I get it — it’s hard. So what do you do, Sensitive Sally?

Take power in your sensitivity when no one else will empower you.

There’s a fine line between being sensitive and being introverted. My personality type is an ISFJ: The Defender. It’s a personality type that tugs at both functioning and protecting — balancing self-care and helping others.

ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity.

This makes being “too sensitive” not a simple task of nutting up or toughening up. It’s ingrained in our DNA. When someone tells me I’m “too sensitive”, it’s just like saying my hair is brown. I know I’m sensitive, but I’m not too sensitive.

ISFJs are so passionate — they care so much about the work they do and become intertwined. Our weakness lists the following that rings true:

Take Things Too Personally — ISFJs have trouble separating personal and impersonal situations — any situation is still an interaction between two people, after all — and any negativity from conflict or criticism can carry over from their professional to their personal lives, and back again.

It’s a daily struggle for us. We play this balancing act that we fail at. I’ve begun to actively separate work and my personal life because it’s killed me this year. I’ve begun to make improvements but — no, not because I’m too sensitive. I take my sensitivity and remove myself from situations where that is put onto a negative pedestal. Challenge me, but don’t try and change me.

Any issue around which you are particularly sensitive is likely to be what is called a “core gift” — something about yourself that is precious and essential to who you are. It’s a trait, just like any other.

It’s hard not to take being called sensitive (again: context and tone) as a personal fault. We run the situation through our heads, feel bad, and then blame ourselves. Ask this question: “Was that genuinely an upsetting thing, or am I really blowing this out of proportion?” This helps put things into perspective for you. If you’re truly upset, own that. If you’re not keen on a joke, be firm.

Don’t allow gaslighting to happen.

Named after a 1944 film with Ingrid Bergman, it refers to manipulating someone to the extent that she starts to question her reality. In a way, you’re too sensitive can be a sense of manipulation. I’ve been blessed to have this situation only occur a few times, but many people suffer from having their sensitivity twisted into this huge fault when in reality… it’s just a reaction or personality trait.

The next time someone accuses you of being too sensitive, take the time to read between the lines. Think about the situation and what they’re really saying without submitting to guilt or blame. Defend yourself, defend your sensitivity and accept the empowerment of yourself.

After all, what’s really so bad about being sensitive?