A couple of years ago my husband was being overly sensitive to something. He was doing it in jest, so I countered with some overly exaggerated sensitivity of my own. To that, Lindon demanded, “Don’t be so sensitive to my sensitivity!” We both looked at each other, paused for a split second and then absolutely died laughing. He can be ridiculously funny and this was one of his finer moments. We haven’t stopped laughing about it since, and sometimes when a sensitive moment is straining to rear its unwanted head, one of us will utter these seven amazing words and it ALWAYS takes the edge off.
I’ve found when I react in this manner, it’s often an indicator I’m being self-centered. That may seem illogical at first, but think about the basis for reaction. If I’m more consumed with my own feelings than looking at the entirety of the situation, I’m being selfish. Does shutting down or reacting negatively promote any hope for a constructive resolution? Nope!
When I peer outside the ‘Sherry Box’, I often find one or more of the following at work:
- I simply misinterpreted someone’s words or misread their actions.
- Someone misjudged my actions or motives.
- The other person was having a bad day or is going through a rough time and needs a little grace.
- I was having a bad day and the other person was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- I was being stubborn and wanted my way.
- The other person and I have an issue that has nothing to do with the incident and we need to talk.
- I have the other person in a completely different relationship category than they have me in, and the disparity needs to be addressed.
Even if none of the above were true, there are some people who just aren’t going to like us, no matter how nice we are. Yes, even Christians have friendship preferences and certain personality types they enjoy more than others – just as you and I do – and this is okay.
The key is not to react in a destructive, critical and irresponsible manner to anything firing up your sensitivity gene. I speak from experience when I say that hurt feelings can bring on a multitude of extremely undesirable kneejerk reactions. Ugh! It’s far more effective to initiate a conversation with a calm spirit, loving heart and rational demeanor, than muddy up the water further with mega-touchy, hyper-sensitive, negative reactions.
2 Corinthians 12:10 offers a gentle reminder, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” We don’t have to enjoy (as in Woot Woot!, Rah Rah Rah type of ‘enjoy’) walking through the challenges of life, but we should recognize and appreciate them for what they are; for through them we learn obedience, growth in Christ and have the opportunity to lean on him.
Pray. Ask God to remove the outward signs of your selfish, human nature. Ask him for an extra measure of thoughtfulness, insight and compassion. Ask him to reduce your sensitivity level just a notch so you can clearly, rationally and objectively see what’s happening behind the scenes the next time an incident crops up.
And don’t forget humor! If you find you’re taking a situation too personally, blowing it out of proportion or behaving self-centeredly, remind yourself not to be too sensitive to someone else’s sensitivity! …and then have yourself a great, big laugh.