Growing up as a young man I was primarily raised by my mom. She taught me what it meant to love, be kind, and be empathetic. I remember she would always ask me, “How do you think they would feel if this happened, or how might you feel if this happened to you?” She showed me what it meant to really walk in the shoes of others. This is something as an adult I have grown to love and be eternally grateful for, but I can tell you this, it hasn’t always been easy growing up sensitive.
When I first entered school, I would have to say, was the first time I truly experienced the shame and embarrassment that came with being a highly sensitive person. The other boys always wanted to wrestle and be rough but that was never really my thing. Of course, as a young boy when you don’t include yourself in the rough antics of boyhood you are then deemed a “wussy” or a “cry baby”. So I would have to say that the shame came very early on in my childhood.
Although I must say that my early childhood pales in comparison to the life I endured as a sensitive young man growing up in the mountains of Montana…”Where men are men… and shooting guns, drinking beer and driving very large trucks is the norm…you know, because we’re MEN!” Yes, the world is still like this in many areas 😉 I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have been labeled as gay, bi-sexual, or feminine, and while there is nothing wrong with those preferences, if they are used in a slanderous or hateful way, they hurt. All of this hate was because I was willing to be a sensitive, open person. Someone who was willing to share my feelings better than almost all of the other young men around me. I felt so ALONE…. I felt ashamed and betrayed, blaming my parents for raising me to be too sensitive. I began to see sensitivity as both a weakness and a negative aspect of myself. I forced myself to bury the thoughts, feelings, and emotions I had inside of me. I ended up joining every “manly tribe” I could think of, trying to convince myself and others that I was tough, and wasn’t hurt by words that were thrown at me like knives. I used humor as a way to deflect the hate, (in my mind I figured that if I could beat someone to the punch, by making fun of myself first, then it wouldn’t hurt nearly as much)…
Obviously, I was wrong…
Luckily as I grew up, I eventually met other people who were more like me. They helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin (granted they were young women most of the time…but I did have a couple of guy friends like me ). Many of my new friends showed me what it meant to lead with love and why I was “the way I was”. I am so grateful for them being in my life. When I look back now, if it wasn’t for a select few, I may have never fully embraced who I was at my core.
Now as an adult I would have to say that embracing my feelings and viewing sensitivity as a strength and not a weakness has been much easier. Granted I still run into people from time to time who take it upon themselves to challenge my belief in this, but we are all tested by life in one way or another.
All in all, I have come to KNOW that to lead with love and to be sensitive, even when others are not, is one of the most magical gifts I could have been blessed with. It has helped me tremendously, especially being a Dad to 4 beautiful girls that are literally my everything in this world.
We all experience the world differently and are shamed for one thing or another, but we must continually ask ourselves, “Am I being shown a true negative aspect of myself, or is this some worldly projection, creating a false narrative that does not fit my soul’s desire to truly grow?”
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The My Manifested Life Project. Any content provided by our authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.