A recent personality test shows that I’m a ENFJ person: a protagonist who is extrovert, intuitive (open-minded, curious), feeling (sensitive, emotionally expressive) and judging (decisive, organized).
(By the way I highly recommend this personality test! It’s the best I had done in my whole life and it’s free!)
Let’s talk about feeling.
I knew I’m a highly sensitive person even without reading the results of this test. Most of the times I could sense the slightest change of emotions in the room, by just noticing small unnatural change of body language like eyes motions, tone in speaking, silence and etc. Or from the tone of text messages, social media posts, I could tell how someone is feeling.
That helps me understand other people better and know how to respond in sync with others’ emotions. By the way, high sensitivity also makes me a perfect lie detector. Try me 😉
I’m also an emotional person, which means I express strong feelings towards external factors. I could be sometimes melancholy, sometimes joyful; all at a bigger magnitude than people who are less emotional. It means I recognize my feelings, express and manage them, instead of suppressing or ignoring feelings.
However, you see, being a sensitive and emotional person does not mean that I’m a freak or have problem with mental health. Or makes me any less emotionally intelligent.
Quoting from Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” Recognizing own emotions helps us to manage our feelings, while recognizing emotions in others is a way of showing empathy and helps in interpersonal relationships.
Feelings are personal, there is no right or wrong in feelings. You are not the other person, please don’t judge or invalidate someone’s feelings, even when your logical thinking is telling you that “he/she should not feel this way”.
I dealt with emotion invalidation a few times this year, it’s awful. Trust me when I said that.
Me: “I feel cold here.” X: “It’s not even cold at all, I don’t understand why you feel cold. ”
Me: “I feel hurt, those words hurt.” X: “There is no hurt within us, there should not be any hurt.”
Me: “I am disappointed.” X: “Not sure what you are on.”
Just imagine you were already feeling negative emotions, and still had to deal with judgement, rejection and invalidation.
Instead of saying things like these, we could better respond with
- ask why the other person feels this way
- validate their feelings, “I hear you, I get it, I see that it’s painful for you”
- ask what can we do to help them feel better and take the action
- apologize sincerely (whether we intentionally or unintentionally cause the other person to feel this way)
I understand that not everyone would feel the same and I never demand anyone to. When encountering situation like this, I would always first think from the other person’s perspective, then explain why do I feel such emotion in the other person’s language. If the other party still continues to invalidate my emotions, I would distant myself. Sometimes a while, sometimes a long time. Not the most ideal solution but it is a necessary protection.
After a few more conversations but still invalidated by the same person, guess what? I don’t put up with these shits anymore. Pardon my language, it feels liberating to say that to myself.
The older I become, the more I realize it is okay to be not perfect. I don’t have to always be nice especially when others cross my bottom line. I’m just being human. ❤