You know how people sometimes say, “I’m tall, because I got all the extra height that no one else got in my family,” or “Everyone else got the smarts in the family – I got what was left over.”
Well, for me, I think I received all the leftover emotions and feelings of every person born on May 18, 1953 because I have such deep feelings about all that goes on around me. I’m delighted that I’m sensitive, yet I’m aggrieved as well.
How does this trait manifest itself in my life?
I can’t readily clear my mind when disturbing global or local events occur because I’m wondering how those affected are doing.
How are the survivors of a mass murder handling the mundane task of waking up each morning and putting one foot in front of the other?
How does a mother carry on after burying her child who was killed in the same car accident she was in when, through no fault of her own, a semi-truck lost its brakes and careened into her little Volkswagen?
How can anyone claim victory when a bomb takes out some enemy insurgents, and in doing so, innocent men, women, and children lose their lives?
I know I’m no different than you. I’m certainly not special; many people experience feelings deeply. But sometimes for me, it gets in the way of rational behavior, manifested in the following way:
When I say something to someone, I rethink and rethink, and rethink yet again whether or not I said it the right way, or with the right voice.
Or knowing that I’ll be having an important conversation with someone, I might even practice saying what needs to be said prior to offering my thoughts to someone else – and God help me, sometimes I even write it down.
Arrrggggh! That was certainly something I inherited from my father – God rest his soul. In my eyes, my father had the quintessential talent of preparing his words in such a way as to make the greatest positive impact on others. Regrettably, it’s that attention to detail that sometimes gets in the way of spontaneity.
And sometimes, even when I’m convinced that what I’ve done or said is correct, I’m still very hard on myself, feeling that I’ve done or said something wrong, even when what I was trying to do was something right.
Maya Angelou has a wonderful saying that Oprah Winfrey often borrows:
“When you know better, you do better.”
Which I’ll take a step further:
When you do the best you can – with what you know – you’ve done the best you can.
I’ll take comfort in that statement and continue to be the sensitive, somewhat paranoid, person that I am. For the most part it has worked for me, but more importantly, I hope it has worked for others.