Esteemed physicist Stephen Hawking said, “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression.” And I couldn’t agree more. Many of the character traits that we celebrate include or manifest themselves with some form of aggression. Our current iterations of ambition and business lend themselves to some form of forwardness, attack, against and adhere to a rugged individualism which leaves no room for the concern of others.

Image of Banksy’s mural

Our social interactions being so disgustingly heavily based in the internet leaves us voluntarily disconnected from each other, which disconnects us from all the visceral parts of our human experience and dissolve our abilities to feel each other’s perspectives, feelings or experience. It’s been so interwoven into our lives that we aren’t conscious of it and sometimes it’s something we pursue – all to our slow destruction.

My daughter and I share many commonalities, a large one being our sensitivity. When it eats at her and she feels it’s a weakness, I tell her that being sensitive is a wonderful thing. I tell her that the world doesn’t need any more people who don’t feel, who don’t care, who don’t express or who don’t hurt. I tell her that the world needs more people who care, who love deeply and honestly, who hurt openly and who feel sincerely. I tell my daughter that being sensitive isn’t a weakness, but a superpower.

Imani demonstrating how sensitivity is a superpower

Let’s examine what it is to be sensitive. One aspect is just being able to accept and receive, on an internal level, the outside world. You detect tone in language, intent, aggression, anger etc. In this sense, you sense things – you have a hyper perception to what transpires around you.  This is essentially spidey senses – you are a jump suit, some rope and a couple drop kicks away from being Spider Man.

Now, the emotionality of sensitivity – the feels. This emotionality helps you unlock the deeper most honest parts of yourself.  It is what allows the arts and expression; the feelings to emote, to express, to resonate, to connect. When you get rid of all the unnecessary distractive minutia that we create; this is all we have left. This is what is important to life – essential to life and a sensitive person is who becomes the one who expresses that – expresses sincere humanity. Think of Ma-Ti and his heart powers from Captain Planet.

Which leads us to the true super power of sensitivity, empathy. Being empathic is a truly superhuman quality as you go beyond your human experience and experience another person’s experience/perspective. You see how they see it, feel it how they feel it. You’re pretty much the Profession X of emotions. To continue with Stephen Hawking “The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state” and this is a necessity to our survival. We talk about all the atrocities we experience and this is one of the weapons against all of those, empathy.

Just like I tell my daughter. We don’t need any more people who don’t feel, who evict seniors, who act heartlessly, who charge $750 for AIDS medication, who imprison unjustly, who act with disregard to others. No, being sensitive isn’t a pejorative, but a power and like all powers they must be controlled or they will destroy yourself and possibly the world around you ( or the world you’ve created in your head. Whichever comes first). Being sensitive is a beautiful thing and something to no longer be ashamed of, but proud of. The sensitive become the best writers, poets, painters, healers, friends, partners and lovers *wink wink. So, don’t hide your sensitivity, but express it and own it because you are a super hero and it is a super power and the very thing that will save the world.




Featured image, emotion image via Shutterstock.

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Jamal Frederick

Jamal Frederick