Those who have heightened emotions and are highly sensitive people are often taught to view their mind as something to be afraid of. The stigmatized lenses around them are characterized by behaviors that are attention-seeking or dramatic. This is wrong, due to the comprehensible nature of the reasons why this occurs.
When one feels emotions in extremes, it can be as if the external world is throwing too much information out to handle or to get a grasp on. There is so much buzz happening that it can be similar to receiving sensory overload.
Without a doubt, these feelings of overstimulation can be overwhelming, especially as a college student whose life and schedule is built around the mentality that everything needs to be completed as soon as possible, in the best quality. In this high pressure scenario, it is simple for high emotions to become all-consuming. This is normal, but management is crucial. I argue that this is not necessarily a negative thing: Being a highly sensitive person who takes in a great deal of knowledge from the outer world can be enriching and insightful. The stigma surrounding these types of people is unjust and I hope to display a more positive side of these attributes.
The acknowledgement of human emotions is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with one’s mind, body and others. Those who feel heightened emotions are more likely to identify what the emotions are, and subsequently, how to understand the message that they are conveying. For example, someone who experiences fear often around a certain situation may have a greater ability to recognize this emotion as fear and learn to directly address the thing that is causing the concern.
Processing emotions in a healthy way such as this is crucial; all emotions carry significance that should be noted. In turn, this can lead to the development of healthy coping skills for times that are overwhelming or highly stressful, skills that can be utilized to reduce anxiety, de-stress and refocus.
In addition, those who feel their own emotions deeply also may have the ability to be more creative. With the important knowledge of what is being conveyed by an emotion, that person has the opportunity to transform that powerful emotion into art or problem-solving solutions. He or she is more likely to learn in different ways, to foster talent in the visual or performing arts, or to form connections in intuitive and wise ways through a deep knowledge of the human condition.
Emotions are the gut reactors that tell us when something is wrong or right. The highly sensitive have a strong connection to them; therefore, they often pay attention to the emotions of themselves and others with great care. This can lead to high levels of empathy, which make a person receptive to others and often very kind.
Being highly sensitive does not equate to weakness. Quite the opposite is true: The people with these characteristics have the potential to be extremely loyal, kind and understanding. Their voices deserve to be heard just like anyone else’s, without being viewed as automatically negative.
Kara Bilello is a sophomore majoring in English.