Am I too sensitive?

I can vividly remember one day, when I was about 12 or 13-years-old, sobbing in my stepmother's arms after being ruthlessly teased to breaking point by my merciless uncles. My stepmom could have yelled at them or taken them aside and told them to back off, but she didn't. Instead the only consolation I received (aside from the hug) was an, "Aw, you're feeling a little sensitive today." This was followed by an explanation that my uncles had always been, and would always be this way, and that the key was not to let it affect me.

Maybe this sounds harsh. I know that some people would have rushed to my defense - formed some kind of protective army to gang up on my hecklers and protect my sensitive ego - but I've never had that kind of a family. In fact, my whole family is made up of jokers and teasers - all three sides of it. I'll admit that there were times in my childhood when I detested this behavior. I hated it when people just wouldn't let up and my feelings about it were always all over my face. These days, however, I realize that having this kind of family was basically the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

My family prepared me for the world. They showed me that life is more fun if you can see the funny side of everything you do. It is because of them that I can hear criticism without my self-esteem taking a complete nosedive. It is because of them that I can give as good as I can take. Without this valuable lesson, my introduction to English society would've been a lot harder to swallow. For those of you that don't already know, the English are pretty much the most sarcastic people on the planet. Take anything they say seriously and you are in big trouble. Their humor is dry and complex - the very thing that takes their comedy above and beyond. It makes you use your brain. Even their slapstick is ironic in its simplicity.

Saying all of this, I think there is something to be said for being nice, and bullying is never acceptable. But these days I find I have little patience for extreme emotional sensitivity. This is not to say that I dislike all sensitive people, but rather that I find myself increasingly drawn to those who aren't afraid tease a little, to speak their minds, to say something a little controversial. Maybe it's just that I enjoy people who can surprise me with their observant wit. Maybe it's just that I prefer the honesty. Sometimes the things that people point out provide me with increased insight about myself, and I am grateful for that. Sometimes I hear something that makes me change my behavior, sometimes it allows me to simply acknowledge and accept a part of my character. The enhanced self-awareness is refreshing.

FYI - this song is not completely relevant to my post. It's actually about sensory sensitivity, but I like it. It's from the film "Autism: The Musical" - a super heartwarming and insightful documentary about autism and the performing arts. DEFINITELY recommended watching - and fully available on YouTube.



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