What Is Sensitivity?
Trying to define sensitivity is a bit like herding feral cats. No matter how hard you try, they won’t be hemmed in. The word sounds simple enough. We link sensitivity to a vulnerability, or a weakness: to our environment, other people, substances, or the food we eat. However, the word sense has a much longer story. Historical records from the Oxford English dictionary in the 16th century show the complex underpinnings of its root word, sens. The cultural pedigree of the word sense was so long and diverse, its usage reflected shifting perspectives of different time periods. In our modern vocabulary, sense remains one of the most commonly used words to describe a complicated set of physiological and psychological experiences of mind and body.
Cliff Smyth, a doctor of movement therapy, acknowledges a sense of the self, which involves our perceptions, feelings, and who we think we are in relation to our world. And, how we perceive the world with our sense of self is how the world touches us.
As sensitives, or individuals who are gifted with expanded sense perception, we need to take care of our precious senses. The senses are the first line of defense the mind and body use to help fight the bombardment of chaotic energy in everyday life. This symbiotic relationship between the senses, the sense of self, and one’s relationship with the world influence the relative peace and calm, happiness, or pain we feel. It’s no coincidence words infused with great feeling like sentient, sentimental, sensation, and sensual stem from their root word sens. When we feel less suffering, our body, mind, and spirit open more to bliss.
Within every culture there are special individuals who display the remarkable gifts of sensitivity. In discovering the abilities of sensitivity, you might be reminded of some famous characters, like Marvel Universe’s Dr. Strange, who glimpses alternate futures, or Twilight’s vampiric Jasper Hale, who senses and controls the emotions of others. However, the four sensitive gifts are real.
The Four Gifts
The four gifts of sensitivity are intuition, empathy, vision, and expression. When these gifts are developed to their potential, you can tap into them freely and employ their strengths.
While there is often overlap in different styles of processing sensitivity, generally one type becomes dominant. Let’s look at the four types of sensitive people now, one by one.
Gift #1 Empaths
Sensitive-empaths have great compassion for others due to their ability to read emotions. When this trait intensifies, empaths can sense and process others’ feelings in their own bodies. Those who choose to cultivate this gift develop a caring and responsible nature that motivates them to help others. Empaths make excellent advocates, communicators, doctors, healers, negotiators, peace makers, and therapists.
Gift #2 Intuitives
Sensitive-intuitives perceive clues that enable them to detect important information that would otherwise be ignored. They are usually extremely bright and highly aware of social dynamics due to their high-functioning perception. They are experts at sensing the interconnectivity between relationships due to their adroitness for reading body language and microexpressions. When intuitives take leadership roles, they can accelerate important social trends. Because they can anticipate consequences, intuitives can become highly influential people. They excel at planning by seeing interconnections and are exquisite pattern finders, especially in business.
Gift #3 Visionaries
The sensitive-visionary can perceive the world holographically, from different angles, with visual acuity and spatial awareness. They have a clear, colorful inner vision. Dreams are remembered with incredible accuracy, detail, and clarity. Sometimes they are doubly blessed with photographic memory. They usually have a great eye for detail with the ability to design, envision, innovate, and imagine what might be possible. Those who cultivate it often excel in the fields of architecture and design. In combination with their emotional acuity and compassion, they can perceive solutions that will make the most of the environment for living and functionality.
Gift #4 Expressives
Sensitive-expressives are highly creative and use expression to embody the beauty, comedy, and tragedy they perceive in the world around them. They communicate their bold ideas and strong emotions with a high degree of artistry. Whether as actors, dancers, painters, singers, or writers, expressives can use their gift to create compelling works of art that guide us into a deeper understanding of ourselves as human beings. They help us find shared meaning in our collective experiences and bring us together through their vivid imagination, inspiration, and creativity.
Four Gifts In Action
The gifts of empathy, intuition, vision, and expression are needed now more than ever. In a world facing the difficult challenges of climate change, inequality, overpopulation, food and economic insecurity, and rapid technological advancement, sensitives can offer guidance and help humanity make sense of this world. Albert Einstein (sensitive-intuitive), Oprah Winfrey (sensitive-empath), Steve Jobs (sensitive-visionary), and Carlos Santana (sensitive-expressive) are prime examples of highly evolved sensitives who developed their gifts and used their sensate abilities to make monumental and beneficial impacts on our world.