‘I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.’ *
“You’re oversensitive, and other people (men) feel the same way about you”; I recently received this feedback from a colleague, and I have been mulling over it for a few days. This was delivered under the guise of ‘constructive feedback’, and my first reaction was to take this criticism on board and change my behaviours accordingly.
After some contemplation and conversations with others, I’ve come to the realisation that this was not constrictive feedback – it was an accusation.
Women are soooOOOOOooooOOOOOO
Etc. Etc. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before – I certainly have.
There are many confusing contradictions when it comes to women’s behaviour and emotions, and sometimes bringing up issues of oppression can feel overwhelming and exhausting. What we really mean by oversensitive or crazy is “she displayed some form of emotion, and this made me feel uncomfortable”.
Accusing someone of being too sensitive is not only patronising and dismissive, it’s downright manipulative.
The comment that my colleague made sparked feelings of uncertainty. It made me question myself, and the validity of my emotions. Essentially, I was letting somebody dictate how I was supposed to feel.
Your feelings are your feelings and being sensitive is not a character flaw. Your emotional state won’t magically disappear because a man has advised you to modify your reactions – in a way that suits him and his disposition, of course.
So, the next time someone accuses me of being oversensitive, I will take this as a compliment.
“I’m too sensitive”
I am empathetic.
I am compassionate.
I feel things deeply.
I am assertive.
I have strong and healthy boundaries.