I was clinically diagnosed as an Artist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. True story. It was a unique and backwards way to uncover my personal gift. I find that those naturally inclined towards the Soft Skills and Creative Arts have a much harder time making sense of themselves.
It happened several years ago when I drove to Marin County, CA to see a highly recommended psychologist for a mental health assessment. I had just returned to the Bay Area after living in Europe for four years. I felt lost, I was twenty-five, and I had three degrees. Three degrees, from three different schools, in three different countries, in three different art forms. Confusion consumed me. I couldn’t make sense of a career path or discern what my real talents were. It felt as though everyone else on earth understood themselves except for me. This was before I realized that sensitivity is my superpower.
The day I drove to Kaiser, I was hoping to get concrete answers. I wanted to take some tests and receive a diagnosis that would expose the underlying reason for my existential incertitude. I imagined I’d be handed a pill that would fix the problem. Truthfully, I had wanted to fill in all the bubbles of the intake questionnaire and be told that I fit into some category that someone actually understood. Even if it wasn’t a category I wanted to be in, at least I wouldn’t be alone and lost anymore.
What It Was Like
Back then, I hadn’t seen emotional sensitivity regarded as positive. I didn’t realise sensitivity is my superpower. I had seen that for Artists, society deemed it appropriate, and even celebrated, to be sensitive and express feelings. Thus, I pursued my three degrees in acting and the performing arts. For years before, my strong emotions often left me feeling that I wasn’t in control of my life. Furthermore, I noticed that my sensitivity and emotional outbursts would sometimes cause others to judge me as “too much”. While considering a career in Theater and Dance, I discovered a world of sensitive, emotional people.
But it was all the moments off-stage that had me tangled up. The ways I could access the largest emotions so quickly. I would often meet someone new, and five minutes later, I was unpacking their family history and deepest fears with them while others were happily enjoying small talk. It took me years to see this for what it was. A genuine and inherent pull towards personal development and storytelling.
What Do I Mean When I Say Sensitive?
I feel big feelings. When my heart breaks, it’s the Grand Canyon. When my brain starts to spin, it’s Twister. If the movie is scary, every muscle is tense and I’m under the blanket squeezing your hand for dear life. If my boss walks in the office with the slightest edge of tension, I pick up on it tenfold. I am aware of the energy in the room at all times. Making decisions can feel paralyzing to me. And sometimes my emotions require me to slow down, and simply go back to the basics. Tiring or stressful way to live, you may ask? The answer is undoubtedly “Yes.” And yet, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
It Is Possible To Turn Your Greatest Challenge Into Your Greatest Force
I don’t have to be an Artist because it is the only career that works for me as a sensitive woman. Today, being a sensitive woman is the foundation of my professional career. My Artistry is the very fabric of that foundation. Artists are sensitive beings that see, experience and illuminate reality in new and surprising ways. As a Coach and Consultant, a Workshop Facilitator, an Actor, a Dancer, and a Writer – my sensitivity infuses my work with the attunement, connection, creativity and empathy that drives it all forward. It was the critical piece of truly understanding, and therefore owning my strengths, that had been missing for all those years.
Today, I no longer try to hide my sensitivity. Sensitivity is my superpower. So, I model by example what it looks like to turn your greatest challenge into your greatest force. If you have ever suffered from feeling like you’re “too sensitive”, “too much”, or that you could use some guidance to more skillfully direct your natural gifts, you are not alone. Emotional sensitivity enhances nearly every industry and is often the gift we have to share with the world.
Image courtesy of Depositphotos
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Founder at AreylaFaeron.com. I am a creative, dynamic Coach, Consultant and Arts Leader who combines a high level of emotional intelligence with advanced certifications and a passion for celebrating personal empowerment and cultural awareness. With more than 17 years professional experience in both the performing arts and education/facilitation, I am seasoned and confident in my abilities to engage an audience, tell a story and promote development, growth and full self-expression in my clients and those around me. I weave together my loves for social-emotional learning (SEL), human connection, deep transformation, and the stage.