“Get sensitized. That is all.”

This spoke to me last night, right before my nightly journaling session. But even after completing my entry, the thoughts have been swarming around in my head since.

I feel like people who are sensitized, in touch with their emotions and can express them openly are almost looked down upon in today’s world.

“Suck it up.” “Just deal with it.” “Stop being such a baby.” “Be a man.” “You’re such a pussy.” “It’s not that big of a deal.” “Get over it.”

These are just some words our society lives by and preaches. You’re sad? Too bad. Don’t cry about it. Crying is weak. You’re angry? Stop being such a psycho. The only thing that seems acceptable is happiness. And you see it all over social media.

No one posts their crying face in the middle of a bout of bad depression. Not many people (myself included) post videos of their failures and frustrations during a workout.

Happy pictures with friends, selfies with full faces of flawless makeup, shirtless pictures with perfect abs — these are the pictures that flood most people’s Instagram feeds and Facebook pages. I think that this “perfection” is a huge reason why people have become desensitized to their feelings and are incapable of expressing them. Because if they do, they are weak, childish and a loser.

I constantly fight with my reactions to things. I am an extremely emotional person. I wear my heart on my sleeve always. I’ll curse and yell if I’m pissed off, I’ll cry if I’m sad, and I’ll cry if someone else is hurting. I feel things very deeply. There are times my heart literally hurts — a lot of the time for myself and many times for others.

If I hear of someone dying from suicide, I can’t help but hurt for them. If someone reaches out to me because they are struggling and need help, I ache with them. And of course, I struggle greatly with things from my past, things going on in the present and thoughts of my future.

Past relationships that have ended poorly, recent happenings that have broken my spirit once again, family situations, and the scary prospect of the future all weigh heavily, constantly on me everyday. And I physically feel it.

And for a long time I thought this was a bad things. Sometimes I still do. I hate that I get upset about things that happened two years ago. I hate having conversations over and over in my head and getting sick to my stomach. I hate caring so much.

But sometimes I view my ability to feel as a blessing. Those times spent with friends who know how to lift me up when I’m lowest, accomplishing a goal I never thought possible, giving a gift to someone that makes their face light up, making someone laugh, even if it’s at my expense, seeing a loved on succeed. These are the things that make my heart swell and hurt in a good way. There are times I am happy to be alive and can momentarily forget my past and future. And if I couldn’t feel the bad things like I do, I would never experience these beautiful moments.

Someone recently said to me, “Someone could punch you in the face and you’d turn around and apologize to them.” Nothing has ever rung more true.

And thinking about it, I’m really not sure why. Maybe it’s because I hate confrontation. Maybe it’s because I want to be liked. But I think a huge part of it is that my feelings are being felt for them.

Someone who hurts you purposefully, with words or actions, must be going through something. And I don’t like seeing that. Maybe I’m apologizing for their pain. Maybe I’m apologizing because I may have contributed to that pain.

But at the end of the day, my thoughts keep coming back to the idea that if we had more sensitized people in the world, could you imagine how different the things could be? If empathy was valued more than being hard and emotionless could you imagine what would happen? What if people were comfortable with saying how they feel instead of internalizing everything and taking it out on others?

I think there’d be a lot less pain caused by confusion, many more smiles instead of the dead pan stares so many people have on constantly. And most importantly, much more understanding for others.

This isn’t something I’ll ever be able to change for others. People only change if they want to. But what I can do is accept that this is who I am: a sad, and happy, and angry, and loving, and emotional person who feels things to her core…and that is never something I should be ashamed of.

Like what you read? Give Kate Branciforte a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.