Sensitivity Towards Others

I like to think I am fairly sensitive to other peoples feelings.I like to think that I consider others, how they might feel about something, before I say/write/post/do it. I like to think that if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d think first act second.

I also like to think that I’m a strong enough person not to take little things out of context or perspective and let them affect me the way some things have done recently. Apparently I am not that strong.


This picture, shared by a pregnant friend on Facebook yesterday, was enough to reduce me to tears. Yes, I’ve made a human from scratch too. But it must have been a fluke, because I haven’t been able to do it again. And no matter how far down the road we’ve come, no matter how much I’ve convinced myself I don’t want another baby, this kind of stuff still hits me right in the chest.

There’s another friend of ours who would have seen this. A friend who has tried for years and upteen IVF attempts later still hasn’t been able to have the baby she’s wanted so badly. I wonder if she felt the same when she saw it. I wonder if it tore her apart inside, this blatant rubbing-in-the-face of how clever she is to be growing humans.

Of course, that is not  how it was meant. There is not a mean bone in this friend’s body. But that is how I took it. That is how it made me feel. My BFF said she also thought it was insensitive. Which made me feel a little bit better, like maybe I wasn’t completely emotional and over reacting.

And I thought back to when I was pregnant with Nick, and I distinctly remember sharing on FB…”I grew a lung today, what did you do?” I wonder now, if that post made any of my friends feel awful. I also realised that until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, you can’t truly be sensitive to their feelings.

People who are criticising the ALS ice bucket challenge have obviously never watched someone deteriorate so quickly and die far too soon before their time from this terrible disease.

People who say kids with ADHD just have bad parents or bad diets have obviously never gone through, or had someone close go through a diagnosis of ADHD.

I think as a race, empathy is one thing humans sorely lack. On the (long) list of characteristics I want my son to have, I want to instill in him, empathy hovers somewhere around the top. Along with compassion and humility. I like to think I’m sensitive to other peoples feelings. But perhaps I’m just (too) sensitive.

Linking up with Grace for Flog Yo’ Blog Friday, because it’s been a while!


9 thoughts on “Sensitivity Towards Others

  1. I agree empathy is certainly something many people sadly lack. I continue to be surprised and saddened both by what I see people sharing on social media and also in conversations. I think it’s not until you have been on the receiving end of a thoughtless comment/situation that you really gain an insight into how insensitive people can be.

  2. Beautiful post. Totally agree. We all empathise with what we can understand. So we cry when a plane is shot out of the sky, killing Australians. And rightly so. But we shake our heads in disbelief at wars and atrocities on the other side of the world.

  3. Beautiful post. Totally agree. We all empathise with what we can understand. So we cry when a plane is shot out of the sky, killing Australians. And rightly so. But we shake our heads in disbelief at wars on the other side of the world.

  4. It really must hurt for people like yourself when you see such things. Some of us are lucky and discuss getting pregnant and just do. I think your friend has a right to celebrate the blessings she has been given. When I was pregnant with my third child my friend was struggling through IVF again and I withheld telling her. She was very upset that I did that to spare her feelings. She said while she was sad she was so overjoyed for us. That friend still has no children but is the first one to ring up and congratulate one of ours on an achievement. Your post today just made me want to give you a huge hug xx

  5. Sending hugs, Aroha. I think I’m a little similar to you. I’m sensitive to other’s feelings and often wonder if I’m too sensitive myself. I wear my heart on my sleeve and worry myself silly about things that people say to me which I needn’t worry about at all. Empathy is something I want to instill in my kids too. xxx

  6. This is a very tricky thing. I know I have personally been guilty of posting or sharing something without thinking through the possible consequences of it and how some people might feel or react to it. The more time I spend on social media the better I get at it. I always try to be sensitive to how something might make someone feel, but at the same time, constantly worrying that you might offend or hurt someone you know and love accidentally can be exhausting. I often worry about who I might hurt when I have posted something or other about the sometimes difficult days of parenting, and the last thing I would want to do is make someone hurt because they think (and I do know) how lucky and blessed I am to have two healthy girls. But at the same time, sometimes I need to share the frustrations and get it out because it’s how I am feeling and I can’t hide that for fear that my feelings will hurt someone else’s feelings. Both of our feelings and situations are just as hard for each of us to deal with, no matter how trivial they may seem to someone with a different issue. It’s a very fine line to walk, and one that I haven’t mastered yet.

    My cousin has two beautiful children, both with special needs (her daughter with undiagnosed behavioural issues, they can’t work out what exactly, her son has Down Syndrome). Her little boy was born 10 days after Punky was, via emergency c-section at 32 weeks. I’ve always been really worried about posting things about Punky, and almost a little ashamed when we have family get togethers, because I know that it could be really hard for her to see me with a healthy toddler, while her own child has so many struggles and difficulties. It doesn’t make my own difficulties and frustrations any less, but it certainly puts a lot of things in perspective for me when I’m having bad days and it makes me extra thankful that I have the blessings I have.

    I don’t know if I am making any sense here, it’s a really hard topic, my thoughts swing around and around, the need to be supported emotionally for the challenges that I face, but at the same time be sensitive to the often times harder challenges that people around me face.

    Great post Aroha, and very thought-provoking.

  7. Something’s should not be shared. They shouldn’t. But, it is hard when to realise that everything has the ability to offend someone. I know so many times I’ve hovered over things wondering how it will effect others. It’s a hard line to walk. I guess though we just try as much as we can to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

  8. We all need to be more sensitive to the needs of others. Empathy is something that we need to practice and teach our children.

    Yet, I also think we need to be responsible for our own reactions to others. When someone comments about their life choices and experiences we hear judgement upon ours. We need to be confident in our choices and not hear the judgement. Especially, as most times no judgement in intended.

  9. I don’t think you’re oversensitive at all. We can all use our filters a little better and think a little harder before we put forth our opinion. I know people think that if we’re too overcautious, we won’t be able to practise free speech but anyone can say what they feel. It’s not about the contex,t it’s about the delivery.

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