Does Sensitivity Have to be a “Superpower” or a “Gift” to be Valuable?

by Caroline van Kimmenade

I see this mentioned more and more, in the urge to make high sensitivity valuable, it seems it’s not just enough to say “I value my sensitivity”. No, it needs to be a superpower! A gift! Something very very special!


I mean, I understand it makes for good marketing.

Especially when it conjures up images of lonely geeky outcasts who were hit by lightning and then can do the most amazing things.

But the down-to-earth part of me says: they’re still geeky, lonely outcasts underneath. Getting a special superpower doesn’t fix that.


Here’s why I think the idea of sensitivity as a very special gift or superpower is a problem:

When you feel “less than” for being more sensitive, it’s very tempting to look for a big shiny impressive something that you can use to put on top of that worthlessness.

Enter: “sensitivity is a superpower!”


drawing of sensitive person in superpower costume


But when you do that, it doesn’t make the worthlessness go away. It just hides it. Like one of those chemical room sprays that you can use to “mask” nasty odours.

My old neighbors used those sprays. Their home was always a sickening mix of fake lavender and cigarette smoke. And it was strong! So much so that it would waft out into my garden when they had the window open.

Claiming your sensitivity is a superpower, while underneath you feel really worthless about it, is like trying to mask cigarette smoke with fake lavender. It may fool some people, but not many.

Yet, when you deal with the worthlessness itself, you don’t need something big and shiny and special to feel good about yourself.

You really don’t.



When you embrace your sensitivity, it becomes your normal.

When you take the time to learn about how your sensitivity works, how best to work with it, and learn new loving ways to deal with your hangups, then you slowly, sustainably change your relationship to your sensitivity, for the better.

When you go through that slow and gradual shift then at the end of it, your sensivity may look like a gift or superpower to other people, but not to you, because you’re just being you. See the difference?

If you’re trying to manage your image by claiming a superpower, who are you really trying to impress / contradict / correct / persuade?

And why?


Doing PR for your sensitivity is not the point

Ultimately, it matters a whole lot more what you think of yourself, than what others think of you.



I see a lot of people doing this as an attempt to heal: loudly proclaiming their new stance, even when their insides are spelling out a different story.

Yet, here’s the problem: There is little point yelling over the pain to say you have superpowers. It doesn’t address the painful feelings and it doesn’t make them go away. All it does is create a bigger inner split between who you feel you are, versus who you tell yourself in your head that you are. That doesn’t help.



It’s like painting over the wallpaper, but the texture of the wallpaper is still right there. If you want the wallpaper to be completely gone, it’s better to do the work to steam it off the walls. Then you don’t have to make a grand effort to cover it up. And who knows, maybe the wall underneath is plenty nice as is!

That’s my premise on your natural sensitivity too: in it’s intended state, it’s plenty nice as is. So rather than slapping some superpower stickers on top of the worthlessness wallpaper, make the effort to take it all down and expose the natural wall as is.


Do this instead:

Aim for smaller, granular progress. Not to jump out of the frying pan but to pull yourself up little by little.

Otherwise what will happen is that you proclaim to the world that you are proud and healed while everyone can sense your pain a mile away.

And then what happens is you start to develop a sense of ego specialness.

That idea of having a gift or superpower becomes a defense. People who point to the pain become enemies. And then we’re slowly ending up in narcissistic self-defense territory, which ultimately just makes things worse, not better.



So, let’s drop the claim to superpower fame and instead promise yourself to notice:

  • When do you have a hunger for special status?
  • What are you feeling in that moment?
  • And how can you get closer to and become more understanding of those feelings, instead of running away from them?


P.S. I get that doing so is not obvious and you may wonder what practical steps you can take. If so, good news: I have a whole bunch of very specific audios to help you with “Difficult Feelings” inside the Happy Sensitive Library here. And for personalised help, you’re always welcome to set up a Clarity Call with me to talk things through and get the steps that are just right for you .



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