The “Pisces” Problem: Why Sensitivity and Empathy are Assets, not Setbacks

Jase Ess

Hey everyone, long time no see! Where does the time go?


It feels like just yesterday I was writing about how I was going to spread out my blog posts this month, and yet here I am with less than a week left to spare in March. Oh well. I’ll try again in April!


I know that it’s technically spring now (although you wouldn’t guess it with these East Coast snowstorms). For those of you who are into horoscopes, you know that means it’s also Aries season.


However, today’s Musing is centered around something that I’ve been mulling over as a Pisces – especially as my birthday has come and gone. For those of you unfamiliar with zodiac signs and corresponding traits, all you need to know (for now) is that Pisces have a reputation for being very emotional, intuitive, sensitive, etc.
Whether or not you subscribe to the idea of specific zodiac sign traits (or the zodiac at all), what I can assure you is that I am very much a “typical Pisces” when it comes to sensitivity. This can be amazing but also frustrating, all at the same time.


Let me explain:


When you’re very sensitive to others’ feelings as well as your own (some might call that empathic or empathetic), you can usually read people and situations pretty well. But, you can also over-read them. Some small change in tone or gesture or facial expression could suddenly bring about a whirlwind of uncertainty, anxiety, and – interestingly enough – irrational guilt. Even if you don’t know what’s wrong, you just have a feeling that something is. And sometimes, that’s not so great in the world of Pisces.


The other potential downside of “feeling” so much is that you can read too much into what someone says, instead of taking it at face value. I, for one, do this often.


Interestingly enough, I had multiple encounters in the past month or two where someone nodded knowingly after I happened to mention my zodiac sign. It was either because they could “just tell”, or because they have a friend who happens to be a Pisces and has a similar personality. Or, as one person told me, her cousin is a “total Pisces” as well. She elaborated by saying he is very in-tune with his feelings. Yep, sounds like a Pisces to me!


Of course, none of these remarks were inherently negative. But, since I am who I am, I immediately began questioning the true meaning behind these statements: “Did they guess that I’m a Pisces because I’m so sensitive? Am I that obvious? Did they really mean it in a good way? Is this even a good thing?” And so on.
Now, all of this said: it is obviously is not just a “Pisces” problem. Take the zodiac-specificity out of it, and I think anyone who’s a quite sensitive person will empathize (ha ha) with what I’m saying. And, that person will probably also understand what I mean when I say that having this level of sensitivity can be a struggle! Especially since it seems to be a pretty consistent message throughout our lives that being overly sensitive is a bad thing. I’ve observed the S word used as ammo in discussions and arguments alike, scoffed at as a weakness, and – perhaps the worst in my opinion – stigmatized as a “female” quality (but that’s a topic for another time).


However:


If you ask me, over-sensitivity can be very powerful. Instead of viewing it as such a bad thing to simply feel (albeit, a lot), why don’t we marvel at the connections that we’re able to form with other beings and the empathy that we’re able to have for them?


Why don’t we celebrate how deeply we’re able to dive into our emotions, even if that deep-dive does confuse us from time to time?


And lastly, so what if it is a technically “feminine” quality to have? If that’s the case, then I am damn proud to be a woman!


I believe that one of the most beautiful things that we can have in this lifetime is the ability to develop meaningful relationships: whether they be with other people, animals, or even the earth. The strength to access these deep, “sensitive” feelings is surely more of a blessing than a curse.


Although the overall sentiments around this character trait will likely never change, we can change how it applies to our sensitive selves. So, for everyone out there who has felt like your sensitivity makes your feelings weak, invalid, or irrational – they absolutely do not. I challenge you to embrace that quiet power of yours, form those meaningful connections, and remember that good communication will help break through the mental questions. And if you get stuck, take it easy on yourself – you’re only human, after all!

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