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  • Writer's pictureCécile Hemery

Who are Sensitive Souls?

Updated: Feb 11

A woman is sitting under a tree in a field and is thinking

As Quiet people, we all have different traits. In previous articles, we looked at the Good Students and the Selfless Carers. Today, we’re interesting ourselves with Sensitive Souls.

People who are Sensitive Souls tend to be quiet introverted people, who have a deep emotional depth and intuition and sometimes struggle to make sense of the world.

 

Are you a Sensitive Soul? Take the Pathfinder Quiz to find out

 

In Psychoanalysis, we call the “sensitive soul” the soul that we are born with, the soul of infants, who, not unlike animals, is linked to the world and communicates with it in ways we lose when we grow up. As we grow and develop our conscience, as we learn to speak and translate ideas and concepts into words, we love our sensitive soul to a rational soul. Based on reason, logic, and language. We lose our inner connection to the “knowing” to gain the ability to think and put the world around us into words.

What we’re calling Sensitive Souls are those of us who retain, for various possible reasons, some part of this Sensitive Soul within themselves. 

The Sensitive Soul is highly attuned to subtleties - they think deeply, empathise intensely and question everything. While beautiful gifts, these traits come with distinct challenges in a fast-paced, superficial world. It’s easy for the true depth of the Sensitive Soul to go unseen and for them to feel out of place.

However, by better understanding themselves, Sensitive Souls can learn to share and show their inner life. The very attributes that set them apart also contain the key to acceptance, fulfilment and confidence in their own voice. Here’s how to harness the power of sensitivity.

The Making of a Sensitive Soul

Sensitive Souls often grow up feeling different. As children, their profound empathy, the intensity of emotions and their rich inner world can feel at odds with others. They may struggle to connect with other children at school. On the outside, they may seem shy, soft-spoken maybe even lacking personality or charisma. But inside them sits a plentiful well of colourful and vibrant inner life. 

Sensitive Souls possess a remarkable ability to perceive beauty and meaning. When they can develop a talent for art and find outlets through their body or creations, it lets glimpses of that rich inner life show. They find connection through arts, nature and intellectual pursuits rather than socialising for the sake of appearances or conventions.

Their childhood experiences often leave Sensitive Souls distrustful of surface-level relationships. They don’t feel at ease in social settings and feel they have to put on a mask and play a game that they don’t see the point of - and lack skills for. They are so intensely focused on authenticity that social pressure may make them withdraw inward further.

At work, they may stay in the shadows, pushed to the side by the outspoken sociable people outshining the talents of Sensitive Souls, who don’t find words so easily and are not as at ease with taking the spotlight. Environments focused strictly on logic and analytics at the detriment of creativity leave them stifled.

 One of their greater gifts is their ability to tap into their intuition and make connections between things, in ways that may not be obvious, nor easily explained. They just “see” and it may not occur to them that others don’t have that same ability to “see”. That does not mean Sensitive Souls are not analytical or logical - they are. It is the layer of “connecting the dots” and out-of-the-box thinking that is the intuitive skill. When they’re talking about something, they’re always talking about the whole, it doesn’t come naturally to them to restrict the topic to just one part and they may easily lose their audiences trying to paint that whole picture with too many complex ramifications.

As a result, they may lose confidence in themselves and they may be seen as inarticulate or unfocused.

Navigating Sensitivity

Sensitive Souls can be very sensitive to their environment. Working in a busy open space can cripple their skills and ability to go in depth. Constant stimulation, whether it’s running from one meeting to another or being constantly pinged by emails or instant messages can disrupt them. Our modern working environments were not designed with Sensitive Souls in mind. The Covid lockdowns forcing remote work opened a window for Sensitive Souls to work in material environments that worked better for them. The awareness it created allows us to rethink our ways of working and what room to make for that type of diversity.

An environment of calm, space, beauty, full of life (plants!), and safety can feed their natural abilities for creativity and intuitive understanding. While the world must seek ways to enable Sensitive Souls to tap into their gifts by allowing them the environments they need, Sensitive Souls can also find ways to take part of the world and share their gifts.

Choosing to step into the world

While awareness is always a first step, the second step is an act of choice.  As a Sensitive Soul, you can choose (or not) to step into the world rather than remain on the outskirts, and show and share that inner world, even if it comes at an initial price of discomfort - change often does. The world is not always as abrasive as it seems and there is great meaning to uncover by showing a greater part of yourself and connecting with (more) others more openly. There is also an opportunity to enrich and expand your knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the world.  It is by engaging with the outside world that you can grow your inner world.

Intentionally make an effort to share and engage with others. You can also choose your moment: when you’re ready. Commit to yourself to take the step. When you’re ready, you’ll do it. It’s not an “if”, it’s a “when” or a “how”.

Don’t hide. There is more beauty, meaning and purpose for you out there: more deep connections and nourishing encounters for you to experience.

Managing energy

It is important for everyone, and especially for a Sensitive Soul, to be aware of how your energy gets drained and recharged.

Set yourself up for success. Rest up, and do things you know fill you with joy and energy. A nap? Meditation? A walk outside? Make sure your batteries are topped up so you can be your true self when you need to be present and out of your comfort zone. And when your batteries are empty: recharge. The “Introvert hangover” is a real thing - us introverts have all experienced it. 

You can also choose your crowd: you don’t need to share with everyone all the time. Choose the people that you connect with. Choose your moment. Choose the frequency. Find the balance. For you, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. It’s about the meaning behind the act. So show up with that intention and choose the environments that are welcoming and aligned.

Know your boundaries. Know what fuels you and what are the warning signs that you need refuelling. Take a break when you need a break. Get some alone time when you need it. Go home when you need it. Paint a watercolour when you need to reconnect with your creativity. Inspiration isn’t something you can power through by shoving it down your own throat. It needs time and space to flourish. Know how to make that happen for you. Sometimes the best way to unblock yourself is to do something else entirely.

Articulating your thoughts

Practice articulating your thoughts. Einstein said that if you weren’t able to explain something to your grandmother, you didn’t understand it enough. So practice explaining things to your grandmother - because you understand it enough. Make it a game, make it a skill. 

Trust your intuition. That inner voice, though difficult to explain logically, often points toward truth. Lean into it as a guiding wisdom.

You can lean on the support of a structure: have you heard of the rule of 3? When presenting a concept, and articulating a strategy, make it a rule to have 3 points (or pillars, perspectives). No more, no less. 3 is easy to remember, for you and whoever you’re sharing it with. 3 is simple.

Sensitive Souls and Emotions

The sensitivity needs to express itself, so be curious about what that looks like for you: dancing? Music? Writing? Acting? Drawing? Gardening? Externalise the inner world - don’t just hold it all inside. Allow yourself to have an outlet for those deep feelings and emotions to pour out of you.

As a Sensitive Soul, you have a great capacity to sense and read emotions. It is a gift, but it can be overwhelming to feel other’s emotions and to get caught up in them. Learning to harness it is an important step for you. When you feel overloaded, it can be helpful to ask yourself “Is this emotion mine?”. A Sensitive Soul is a magnet for emotions and you can sometimes pick up some that are not yours. Recognising what’s yours, and what’s not can help you release the surplus. Simply recognising that an emotion is not yours, and naming it so is enough to release it.

This ability to sense emotions allows you to read and understand people better. To lead with empathy. To listen deeply. To hear what isn’t said. It is an essential part of how you experience the world, make meaning of it and get your intuitional hits.

On feeling misunderstood and belonging

It is common for Sensitive Souls to feel misunderstood. To feel that they perceive the world differently than others, and feel that no one “gets” them. This can be very isolating and the temptation to retreat within oneself is never greater then. Beware of victimisation, It would be easy to fall into its trap, but this would only be a vicious cycle imprisoning you within it. 

View your perspective as a gift meant to be shared with the world. It has value. You must see the value in it yourself first. You see intricacies and possibilities others miss. Sensitivity is insight.

You are not alone. Find your crowd. Many others are your kindred spirits and are silent too. Foster social connections with fellow deep feelers and thinkers - a sense of mutual understanding empowers the vulnerable sharing of ideas. Speak vulnerably. Sharing glimpses of your inner world forges bonds with those able to handle depth. Find or create the communities that you belong to.


 

While the path of the Sensitive Soul holds distinct challenges, their perceptive abilities, creativity and empathy constitute profound gifts. By protecting their energy, finding true community, expressing themselves vulnerably and trusting their gifts, Sensitive Souls can transform difference into empowerment.

Your uniqueness deserves to be nurtured, not dimmed for mass consumption. Let your sensitivity be your guide, not your hiding place. Though the world may not always see your magic, your light still glows bright. Shine on.



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