why so sensitive?

I hate the fact that I am so sensitive.  One of my friends said that my being sensitive is a nice quality, but that I should be a little more selective about who gets to see that side of me because I’ve been hurt by people who really were not worth my time in the first place.  He said I should learn to shrug off negativity from people who either have hidden agendas, are complete strangers or people I know but don’t particularly like or respect anyway.  When a close friend or family member hurts your feelings, it is ok to get upset about it and even harp on it for hours, days, months and in some cases years.  (It’s not recommended but it’s “ok”.)  But when some lady yells at you for accidentally stepping on her foot on the subway and continues to glare at you despite repeated expressions of sincere apology, to still be upset about it even one minute after it happens is unnecessary but, in my case, quite typical.  I am on this subject because, just today, I went to the Grand Central Market to pick up a salad at Dishes for lunch.  Usually, there is no line but today, there were at least seven people on line ahead of me.  I contemplated just going to the deli across the street from my office but figured it would take me just as much time to get there as it would simply waiting on line reading on my Kindle.  I was fine for the first few minutes but after a while, I noticed that the line was not moving at all.  The service was incredibly slow and some of the patrons were even slower. (If there is a long line, shouldn’t you know what you want to order by the time it’s your turn???)  I had already run an errand and taken a longer lunch than usual and I started to get antsy.  I turned to the guy behind me and said, “Wow, the service is really slow here.”  He didn’t respond.  He just looked right through me.  Self-conscious that he thought I was a bitch, I made a point to be extra nice when it was my turn.  I even smiled when I explained to the guy behind the cash register that there was absolutely no way it should cost me $27 for a grilled chicken salad (to go).  (It was $9.50 which isn’t exactly a steal either…) Anyway, my question is why did it matter to me that the guy behind me *might* have thought I was bitchy?  I don’t know him and I had no desire to know him.  Furthermore, maybe he was in a bad mood and not really paying attention to what I said.  Or maybe he was just some douchy guy who thought he was too good to respond to me.  Or maybe he was mute, hence incapable of responding to me!  The bottom line is that it really shouldn’t have mattered to me what he thought.  I know that I am not a bitch.  (Ok, I can *act* bitchy sometimes but my heart is pure and I never go out of my way to hurt anyone’s feelings.)  I am a good person. And if I was a bitch and he did think so, again, who cares??  I was still thinking about it after I left Grand Central Market, walked back to my office and started eating my expensive grilled chicken salad at my desk.  It propelled me to write this blog.  This was time I could have spent brainstorming new ideas for my novel-in-progress, getting excited for my upcoming five-day weekend or thinking about what I am going to wear to my beautiful niece Sarah’s Sweet Sixteen party on the 10th.    

This time sucker called sensitivity is really a thorn on my side!  Anyone else uber-sensitive out there?



  1. Natalie on November 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Count me in on the uber-sensitive front!
    I totally understand getting lost in the sensitive spiral. Such a waste of time – we have to break it…so please learn how and teach me!

    P.S. In conclusion…I think he was mute.

    • Meredith on November 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks, Natalie – I think he was mute as well 🙂 I will be sure to pass on any wisdom I compile re anti-sensitivity.

  2. Michelle on November 29, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I am uber-sensitive as well. I get “scolded” at work and I am a freakin’ wreck, questioning my actions for the next hour or two. Someone doesn’t give me the reaction that I feel was warranted, I question myself on what I did wrong.

    Totally waste of time, yes, but hard habit to break.

    I vote for the fact he was just some d’bag who felt he was too good to answer.

    • Meredith on November 30, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Thanks, Michelle. I do the same thing at work! Ugh. I always tell myself that it is better to feel things too deeply than to be completely apathetic. That’s what I tell myself…

  3. Jane Alcala on December 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve been seeking the answer to this type of question my whole life. Currently I’m on a Rick Hanson, Phd kick (Just One Thing, Stress Proof Your Brain). He’s a neuropsychologist who says there’s underlying reasons bad events stick to our brain like velcro, while good events roll off it like teflon. He’s got some ideas on how to combat this and I’m giving them a try. Funny that if the guy in the line smiled and agreed with you, you’d have forgotten it in two seconds, as would I. Still, he was an ass at best and maybe a sadist. No excuse for that behavior.

    By the way, you got me hooked on your blog.

    • Meredith on December 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      Jane, I might have to check out that Rick Hanson stuff. In the meantime, yes, the guy was an ass! It’s been a few weeks, but I’ve definitely let it go at this point.

      Have a great new year. Glad you like my blog!

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