Written by Eli Krasnits
Translated from Hebrew by Lihi Ben Haim – Poetess and creative writing guide
High sensitivity is not really "too much". It is actually very accurate and is a great gift, I understand that now.
When I was in adolescence my greatest fear was to be judged as different and to be socially rejected. I was so afraid to be different and rejected that I actually shrank and mentally reduced myself to try to fit in. I even changed my name from Elia (my original Russian name) to Eli (a popular Israeli name) so it would not sound too Russian, too different in the Israeli society where I grew up.
I was a sensitive child, a child with natural needs for confidence, belonging, appreciation, love. A child with tremendous curiosity to understand myself and life. I was always filled with passion, both sexual and emotional. It always burned in me, this desire to truly live, to get excited, to feel the adrenaline in the body and to share it all with a close person.
I also experienced an great deal of frustration with all this desire being shattered and blocked in the face of my deep sense of insecurity and anxiety. That paralyzing fear that people might see and discover who I am – insecure, emotional, sexually frustrated, ashamed of myself, of my appearance, of my feelings, my lack of understanding, and my lack of skill in “small talk”.
I have always been one of those who don't take life for granted. I ask questions in depth, try to understand what is really happening here and why. And it was hard for me, it was very painful for me, and it was never clear why life is so sad and full of pain, separation, loneliness and sorrow.
On the one hand, most of the time I felt as if I was smarter or more intelligent than my friends and on the other hand, I believed myself to be more bizarre, more "screwed up" and distorted than they were and with inferior social skills. Whether I though myself to be superior or inferior, the common factor was that I was always lonely, never in line with the others, never truly together.
I felt as If I was deeper, that there was depth in me that most of the others lacked, and most of the time it was a curse for me, that which separates me from all those around me. At the same time I was very ashamed of myself, I thought that deep in my inner world I was a twisted and disgusting creature (I understand now that a lot of that twisted self image originated from my fathers violent and demeaning language towards me).
For most of my life, I did't know how to break through my limits of insecurity, the limits of my terrible frustration. Even when I tried and succeeded, it was only for a few moments, and then I would again become insecure, closed, shrunken and ashamed of itself.
I did not know how to see the beauty in me and it tore me up inside.
High sensitivity – not just me
Looking back, I see this process happening to a lot of very sensitive people, deep people, people with special inner gifts who feel stressed and anxious, scared to be rejected and different, constantly shrinking and judging themselves in their inner world.
Even nowadays, people come to me for consultations and tell me about their high sensitivity, their enormous vulnerability, the tremendous need for love and approval, and how difficult it is, how painful and embarrassing it is for them to show who they really are, show their hearts. I know and feel what they are talking about.
It is precisely those of us who are born with high sensitivity (which is not really "too much" but higher than average), with special vulnerability, with a "weakness", who have a precious ability to feel deeply and pay attention to the small details who have the gift of being able to create something new out of "nothing special". Something special that was not "customary" before.
Actually, such people often feel screwed up, worthless, rejected, unworthy of love and expression and secretly feel jealous of those who are more "simple” ,"strong", “normal”, “stable”, “down to earth”, “popular”.
And I see that it has to do with our society, in which we grew up. A society that puts us all in the same frame of demands and expectations, in that dense and suffocating square, which gave no real place to the individuality of each child.
A system that puts everyone in the same "factory" as if we were robots. A system that we created as humanity out of a tremendous fear of survival.
But our nature is not at all like that
One person is born with a tendency to be a philosopher or a poet, the other enjoys being an engineer and designing machines. Another is a farmer and a lover of land or a salesman.
So how do we all get crammed into the well oiled and automatic machine of "that's how and what you should be"? Into the expectation and the demand that we all "succeed" in the exact same way?
Most of us got used to thinking of it as "normal" but in truth it is simply a huge pain and a collective trauma that we live in.
We live in a mostly shallow society. It makes us feel like we have to be "normal", no one really feels normal. Especially not the one who is more sensitive, more aware, deeper.
Most people drive a car, but what about those who own a plane?
Let's imagine for a second, that most people were born with cars and are taught during their childhood and adolescence how to drive cars. But there are those who are born with a plane instead. But dreading being different, rejected and misunderstood by the majority who dive cars, they try to drive their plane as if it was a car. Unknowingly, they are pretending their plane is a car, and that ends up being clumsy, strange, awkward, not "normal".
A plane is not meant to drive on the road… "These wings… why do they keep bumping into everything? What's the point? Why can't I be like everyone else?"
In our society no one teaches these people how to fly their own special plane. Instead, they are being told, over and over again: “A car is the right vehicle, look, this is how you drive it.” most of the highly sensitive people don't realize that they were born with a plane instead of a car and since it's unnatural for a plane to be driven like a car, it comes out clumsy, it comes out weird, it does not really work.
They feel failed and rejected because their plane is a not such a great car.
But a plane is a plane, when its up in the air, all the cars look up to it. So if you have a great sensitivity, a great pain, a deep sense of failure, a "complexity", a "high sensitivity”, if you curse that high sensitivity and vulnerability, It's actually a sign that you have a great gift, a magnificent airplane just waiting for you to learn how to fly it. And since our society does not teach you how to fly your own soul plane, you'll be teaching yourself or maybe even better, get together with others like you and learn together, sharing your experiences in ways only planes do.
The path might not always be easy but it's worth it, it's valuable and important not only for you, but for everyone else to see and get inspired. Every new moment, every sight and every crash, every second you actually took flight and all the beauty you discover, all that and so much more is the love you share with the world, with all of us, from your unique point of view.