Mandy Cheri Limon
It is not until my adulthood that I began labeling myself as tender of heart. When someone says I am sensitive, I re-frame it and with a smile I say, “Nope…. I am Tender”.
When we call or label someone sensitive it usually has a negative connotation. There is a stigma; am I wrong?
I absolutely believe in emotional maturity but friends there is a learning curve to that. Give yourself some grace and be kind to yourself. If something bothers you or someone else don’t be so quick to dismiss it or stuff it away. It is not always a “pull up your Big Girl Chonies (undies)” moment. It is ok to cry it out, talk to your safe person, journal, PRAY! I give you PERMISSION!
But it is important not to stay put in the mud puddles. Stamp your feet, embrace the splish and the splash and press forward with more understanding, wisdom, and sharpened character.
I share this because it took many years to embrace my my sensitive nature. I am usually good at reading verbal and non-verbal cues to a fault. I can tell when something is not genuine although I may not tell you. I can feel when someone is sad, mad, happy etc. My favorite is being over the moon with excitement for others in their celebratory moments. But when I was younger I often saw it as something crippling.
Let me be 100% real….it was only a few years back that I remember sitting with a counselor talking to them about some of my emotions and the struggles with them. I kept saying I am too sensitive. Why am I so sensitive? I hate it… I wish I had thicker skin like this person or wish I was like that person. Through some work to self-discovery I realized that being sensitive can actually be a beautiful thing. It takes setting some boundaries, knowing who you are in Christ, remembering we do all things as unto HIM and really that we treat others as we would like to be treated and there is nothing wrong with that. Even if it is not reciprocated we act or even refrain from reacting not for reward or acknowledgement but out of a learned maturity of self and knowing WHO our God is.
I looked up the meaning for “tender-hearted”. It means someone who is easily moved to Love, Pity or Sorrow. Someone full of compassion and is impressionable.
So what you are saying is I am a “DEEP” person. Ok…. so I feel deeply…. Sue me. lol
I remember in my younger years being called sensitive all the time. The interesting thing was I was super shy. I didn’t always wear my emotions on my sleeve but when I did…you knew. Depending on the environment and circumstance I was either a crier or a stuffer of my feelings. Most often my action of choice was to stuff my feelings. I thought it meant I was strong as well as strong for other people.
I remember when I was really young maybe 7 or 8 yrs old…. I lived in an apartment complex and my dad had asked me to go take out the trash. As I was walking next to the recreation center I passed my little girlfriend who was with her sister and a bunch of older kids that lived near us. They were heading out to Volleyball court. I LOVED Volleyball and my friend was excited when she saw me and was about to ask me to come along. Her sister hit her on her side and cleared her voice in an attempt, without words, to say I was not invited. I remember feeling a knot in my throat as I pretended not to notice and I just turned around to say bye. I rushed back home and could feel how deep that cut. It was the first time I had ever felt what it meant to feel excluded. I came back home and when I walked in my dad must have seen the look on my face and asked me what happened. I just started bawling. As I told him what happened. He said, “Amanda, you can’t be so sensitive all the time. Not everyone is going to like you or want to hang out with you. If they don’t want to be your friend it is their loss, not yours. You are going to have to learn to have thick skin. Let it roll of your back”. Even after a long pep talk and big ole Bear Hug my feelings were still so hurt. He shared a lot of truth I needed to hear that day but it so much easier said than done.
I tell you that experience because I want to state that this experience in my life made for a really huge impression on me. I often come back to it a lot when reflecting on different things and although there is SO much I could unpack from this one experience, I tell you about it specifically because I think it is the time I started thinking something was wrong with me. And not only that, but feeling like something was wrong with me for feeling so deeply about it.
People are people. Imperfect. They have their own stories as to why they are how they are. But I will say this: don’t let others be the reflection you look at to define you. They are not the standard. God is.
But bringing it back to the tenderness aspect… in all seriousness… being sensitive or tender can be a beautiful thing. Think about it…. the tender tend to love in extravagant ways. You embrace with wider arms. You can sit with someone in their full on throws of life and not just sympathize you can empathize. You can understand in deeper ways. You may see a need and you feel when you are moved to meet it. Tender folks are incredible intercessors. I would say they also give the best hugs among other great attributes.
So I am not afraid of being sensitive anymore. I am not afraid of feeling deeply or crying when something hurts me or makes me over the moon happy. I embrace them because they are me. God designed me in just this way and I am glad. I don’t always get it right. I may take something out of context because of my tenderness or I may need to be helped back down to earth but I don’t see it as something that is wrong with me… I see it as an artist’s masterpiece that I want to treasure. Not everyone will have my type of tender because it is unique to me and my experiences. Just like you are your own beautiful unique stamp on this world. EMBRACE IT beautiful one.
I am embracing mine. So i say this statement as a proud Crown I wear, “I love my Tender Heart”.