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What It’s Like to Feel Too Much In a 'No-Feeling’ World

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had enormous feelings. To her, the sky was never just blue — every day it was a different shade of sapphire, azure, ultramarine, indigo or teal.

To her, a sunset was never just a sunset — it was a daily dose of unspeakable beauty and magic.

To her, happiness was never just happiness — it was exuberant and all-encompassing joy!

To her, sadness was never just sadness — it was a deep feeling of despair, sorrow and anguish.

To her, love was never just love — it was a profound commitment of devotion, adoration and affection.

To this girl, everything felt Big, Big, Big.

But the girl quickly learned that few people felt the world like she did. And most people couldn’t understand what it was like to be a “Big-Feeling” person in a “Little-Feeling” world.

When she was very young, her big feelings would come out as stubbornness, passion or exuberance. “Don’t be too sensitive,” she was told.

“Don’t be so shy,” they said.

“You need to stop crying so much” was something she heard frequently.

“It’s not a big deal,” others would tell her.

So the girl tried her best to hold back her big feelings. She learned that big feelings aren’t appropriate. She learned to be polite and cautious; giving and gentle. She listened to the “Little-Feelers” and did what they asked of her.

But this got the little girl into trouble. Because when the little girl grew into a bigger girl, she became better and better at hiding her big feelings, and doing what everyone else wanted her to do. Very soon, some “No-Feeling” people came along and started to take advantage of her. Since the girl felt so much sadness and so misunderstood, and she was so great at holding back her enormous feelings, she let these people — the “No-Feelers” and the “Misunderstand-ers” — do and say bad things to her for many years. She learned that even when she tried her best to be a “Little-Feeler,” she was still far too much. And being far too much somehow also meant she was never enough. So she went from being a “Too-Much-Feeler” to a “Never-Enough-Feeler.”

The girl, whose stubbornness, passion and exuberance had been defining characteristics of her life when she was young, was now passive, subservient and quiet. She felt sad and lonely; exhausted and scared. She never knew what the “No-Feelers” were going to demand of her, or what harsh words they were going to say — but she still wanted to feel something. She still wanted to know what love was like, so she did everything they asked, trying to earn love from the “No-Feelers.” She gave and she gave and she gave… and in the end, she gave so much of herself that there was hardly anything left. The girl, who was now a woman, came to understand that she could never be enough, but was expected to keep trying anyway. So she continued to bury her big feelings and kept believing what the “No-Feelers” told her.

Then one cold winter day, something in her life changed. One of the “No-Feelers” let her down and hurt her badly enough that something inside her shook to life. She became aware that the people around her were not actually giving her love; they were selfish “No-Feelers” and she needed to leave them.

She finally decided she no longer wanted to be “nothing,” and the girl-now-woman reached deep down inside of herself and found a small piece of the stubborn, passionate, exuberant little girl she used to be. And she put that tiny piece back into its place.

She tried to hold it there carefully but sometimes lost it within the chaos the “No-Feelers” brought into her life as they fought against her. Thankfully, she always found the little piece again and this tiny piece, so fragile and nearly forgotten before, began to grow.

This girl-turned-woman was able to escape from all the bad, “No-Feeling” people she had become entangled with. She was no longer the raw, resolute little person she had started out as. No, she now saw in herself something different. She saw grit. Determination. Compassion. And love.

Sadly, the damage the “No-Feelers” and the “Misunderstand-ers” had done was so much that the woman still didn’t feel like enough. But she practiced every day and started to learn there were people who loved her — even if she was a “Big-Feeler” and they weren’t.

The woman kept practicing, often still feeling like a “Too-Much-er” in a “Too-Little” world — but also enjoying a reunion with the big feelings that used to bring her joy and excitement. She began to see the sky as infinite shades of blue again. Sunsets and sunrises made her pause with their enchanting beauty. She laughed sometimes and she cried a lot. And she slowly started to embrace being a “Big-Feeler” because she had finally realized she couldn’t change how she felt the world. And she didn’t need to.

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