Dear sensitive men,
Keep your sensitivity.
What I mean: if you believe you have the highly sensitive trait and identify as highly sensitive, keep the “sensitive” in highly sensitive.
I don’t like telling people what to do. No, I do like it. I just try not to tell people what to do, especially male people.
This is not advice or even a suggestion. It’s a plea: keep your sensitivity.
I understand why you may prefer the trait to be called “highly sensory” or “highly empathic”.
I understand wanting to distance yourself from a word that suggests weakness, wimpiness, whininess, cry-baby, fragile, FEMININE.
I understand you aren’t any of these things but the negative perception and use of the word remains.
I understand your desire for respect and the words “sensitive” and “man” put together don’t necessarily garner respect.
But we all need you not to shrink away from the word sensitive.
Everyone. Even people who aren’t sensitive.
We need sensitive men to claim their sensitivity and redefine it. You have so much power. When men claim things, things change.
Look at the label “feminist”. It used to be that feminist meant “man-hating women”. Since men have started labelling themselves feminists, the word means “a person who is for equality”.
Right now, sensitive means inferior and deficient somehow, but it doesn’t have to. The opportunity exists to make the word sensitive mean aware, deep thinking and feeling, and conscientious among other admirable things.
Because we know that’s what it is. Who else is going to let the world know? The world needs more men like you.
We need more men who see that those who say “you’re too sensitive” like it’s a slur are the inferior ones. Those who can’t handle your sensitivity are the deficient ones.
I know all of this is easy for me to write/suggest. If a word doesn’t make you proud to be associated with it, why not choose a better one? But isn’t the real problem not the word, but that a word is given that much power? That your identity is poisoned by a word? Language is powerful, but aren’t we all stronger and more creative than that?
I look forward to the day when us sensitives hear the line most of us have had hurled at us — “you’re too sensitive!” — and we all just smile and say, “Yes, that’s right. Thank you.”