When I was a teenager, I had a serious eyebrow problem. They were very thick, dark, and hairy, and I had no idea how to properly maintain them. I only knew enough to keep them from conjoining at the Prime Meridian. I had a whole Sam Waterston thing going on.
Instead of doing the normal thing and requesting grooming assistance, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. I took them tweezers and went to town, starting with my left eyebrow. I figured the key was to simply reduce the layers.
As you probably guessed, I ended up with a giant bald spot in the center of my left eyebrow. It was like someone had hole-punched a caterpillar. I started to panic. I couldn’t walk around like this! But I didn’t have eyebrow makeup to cover up the spot. I tried molding it, pressing my brow hair every which way (it was very shapeable; still is). Anything I tried only made it worse.
There was only one thing to do: I had to go to my mom.
I came down the stairs from my bedroom, trying to look casual and not draw attention to my disfigurement. My mom and dad were watching TV in the living room. I swallowed, kept my head down, and tried to naturally walk over to the chair. I feigned interest in what they were watching. I remember my mom glancing at me and doing a slow double take. Casually, I pretended to scratch my brow in an attempt to hide it. She turned back to their show, and we sat there in silence for a bit.
Finally, I said, “So, quick question: eyebrows do grow back after you pluck them, right?” I was trying to make it sound like no big deal. I failed. My mom looked at me and started laughing. “Oh, honey! Is that what that spot is from?” Suddenly, her laughter turned to pity. “You should have asked me to help you.” That last comment made me burst into tears. I am a terrible, stupid child. How could I not have asked my mom for help? She must be so embarrassed by me.
I was a very sensitive child. I’m still very sensitive. My empathic capacity is almost always on high; I can sense even the slightest bit of negative emotion coming from a person. My brain then exaggerates that emotion to astronomical levels, making me feel either excruciatingly guilty for any way I may have contributed to it or solely responsible for making it better.
As a kid, the same thing always happened when I forgot to put my laundry away, or even when my dad made a small comment about my growing up too fast when I tried a more grownup hairstyle once. Out would come the uncontrollable tears and guilt overload. How could I?? Stupid, stupid girl! Make it better; go back to pigtails!
Being a sensitive person is not a bad thing; not at all. Your sensitivity is part of your bacon (i.e. your truest, badass self). People like us are Sensitive Sizzlers. Our sensitivity is part of what makes us sizzle. However, Sensitive Sizzlers do need to be more aware of the feelings we absorb from other people, as well as the negative thoughts they trigger that make us feel guilty.
Sensitive Sizzlers are naturally more susceptible to feeling guilty. Here are some of the reasons Sensitive Sizzlers are more vulnerable to guilty feelings than other Baconators.
Your Capacity for Empathy is Higher
Sensitive Sizzlers are innately more in tune with other people’s emotions. This means we especially feel strong emotions, such as sadness, anger, and anxiety. We feel it very intensely. As a result, we feel guilty at the very idea of prioritizing our own needs, and will thus sacrifice our own wellbeing and take it upon ourselves to make the other person feel better.
The problem is that anything we do to alleviate the other person’s pain will only remove those guilty feelings short-term.
You Give Other People’s Bacon Priority Over Yours
With higher capacities for empathy, we Sensitive Sizzlers often lose touch with our own bacon because we consider it our responsibility to make other people feel better about theirs. This is where we have to be extra careful and aware of our limitations and reality. It helps to check in with yourself whenever you start to feel someone else’s emotions. Are you starting to feel guilty? Are you actually feeling your own emotions or are you feeling those of the other person? Is it realistic to place that responsibility on yourself?
With All Those Extra Feelings Coming in, You Spend More Time in Your Head
A classic side effect of higher sensitivity is that you spend a lot of time in your head. You try to sort out and understand all the emotions you are feeling on top of the ones coming off of other people. It’s easy to fall into the trap of obsessing and overthinking everything, which normally pushes you down the guilt-trodden path; you start creating falsified connections that lead you to believe another person’s negative emotions are your fault or responsibility.
Some People Take Advantage of Sensitive People, Making Them Feel More Guilty
Of course, the more often you fall into the guilt trap, the more toxic people will try to take advantage of you. Toxic people attach themselves to Sensitive Sizzlers like leeches, and you don’t want them things all up in your bacon. They know you’re more vulnerable to guilt, so they spend a lot of time making you feel guilty in order to get what they want. As a result, you get stuck in unhealthy relationships because of guilt, take on too much sh*t for your bacon, and/or start envying other people’s bacon. In other words, you drown in unhappiness. Your bacon deserves better than that.
You Spend Less Time on Self-Care
Since you’re spending more time tending to other people’s emotions, you’re spending less time taking care of yourself. As a result, your mental guard against guilt is down, and the negative self-talk comes pouring in. When you’re a Sensitive Sizzler, a rock-solid self-care routine is crucial, because it helps you do a reality check with yourself, reminding you of your beautiful, badass bacon.
How Sensitive Sizzlers Can Fight Off Guilt
Here are some tips for protecting your sensitive vulnerability against guilt:
- Meditate regularly. This helps you become more in touch with yourself, which helps build your defense against negativity and crappy guilt.
- Implement a self-care routine. Don’t neglect your self-care, because loving yourself better equips you to take care of others when you can, but also to recognize when it isn’t your responsibility.
- When you start to feel guilty, take a moment to breathe and check in with yourself. Feeling guilty is often our impulsive response to someone else’s negative feelings, since we’re natural empaths. Taking a moment to breathe in deeply allows you to expel those feelings and notice any unrealistic emotions you’re taking on.
- Remind yourself that “guilt” and “gut” are two completely different feelings. Your gut is your bacon, and never makes you feel badly about yourself. Guilt, on the other hand, is full of self-doubt and desperation. It has no place at the table with your bacon.
- Avoid toxic people. Some toxic people will always be in your life in some way (e.g. relatives, in-laws, etc.). However, you can still put yourself in a position where you don’t get stuck feeling emotionally invested. The key is to identify those toxic people in your life and keep them away from your bacon.
Sensitive Sizzlers are extraordinary people. They feel strongly and deeply, and can recognize other people’s pain. Allowing yourself to feel other people’s emotions is not a bad thing. It’s only when you allow them to take over your very being and sacrifice all that makes you YOU that it becomes detrimental.
It’s like plucking your eyebrows: if you pay too much attention to the one, you end up with a hole-punched caterpillar instead of a beautifully balanced butterfly.