: 29 August 2013

Have You Been Called “Overly Sensitive?” Read This.

I’m a “deep feeler.” At least that’s what my therapist calls it.
Emotional. Receptive. Connected. Sensitive.

I laugh whole-heartedly. I cry somewhat often. I love others into the depths of my soul.

At this point in my life, I don’t use substances that tamper with my feelings (a couple of green teas in the morning; a caffeinated coffee if I’m really in the mood to party); so that means there are no barriers. I really feel. This is not always easy to do.

I bet you can relate; perhaps you’re a deep feeler, too?

The truth is, I think there are a lot of us out there – hiding away, hoping no one finds out our dirty, little secret (that we actually have emotions – oh my!). And that’s exactly why I decided to write this article.

I feel compelled to reach out to other sensitive people because I know how challenging it can be. 

I know sometimes you can be hard on yourself; I know your sensitivity can feel like a curse. I know you fear that your feelings might distance you from others, and I know that sometimes they probably do.

I also know that there is nothing wrong with youYou just happen to be a deep feeler. Like me, you experience the twists and turns of life fully and profoundly in your heart.

In this article, I’m going to share with you how I cope with my feelings. I hope these tips serve you as you continue to ride the beautiful, emotional waves of life.

1) Find your people. 

Deep feeler friends are necessary in a sensitive person’s tribe. Truth be told, we keep good company.

Sensitive individuals tend to be compassionate and empathic. Anyone who is in touch with their emotions knows what it’s like to suffer; that can make for support, kindness, understanding, and love.

My deep feeler friends are natural humanitarians; they just can’t help but outpour from their hearts.

It’s refreshing to hang with people who are as sensitive as I am because I feel understood! I can fall apart in my friends’ presence, because they have fallen apart in mine.

Not to mention, people who are brave enough to be vulnerable are warriors of the heart. They can be straight-up, heart-centered, fierce and kind all at the same time. That’s some good stuff.

2) Go to therapy.

Ahhh… therapy. Another crucial component in the deep feeler’s repertoire.

I don’t know what I’d do without my regular hour on the couch. Hands down, therapy is best money I spend all week.

For me, therapy acts as a container for my feelings. I can dive into my emotional world and trust that my therapist will be with me through the entire process until I emerge on the other side.

My therapist gets me. She sees my most vulnerable parts and loves me because of them. I can’t tell you how healing this process is!

I wouldn’t be as joyful as I am today without the guidance and love of my therapist. As she continually accepts all parts of me, I am able to find deeper acceptance of myself. There is no greater gift than this. I am so grateful for her.

3) Take full ownership of your feelings.

Your feelings are your feelings. They belong to you.

Our feelings get activated with other people, which makes us want to blame them. Unfortunately, doing so leads us to feel abandoned and alienated. Because other people are not responsible for your emotional experience; and when you make them responsible, a common consequence is for them to walk away.

Of course you get to talk about your feelings with others and try to resolve your triggers in relationships. However, asking someone to avoid making you feel a certain way is just unrealistic. If you’re prone to certain emotional experiences, you are going to have them, regardless of who is in your life. It’s your job to work through that.

Best case scenario is you have some people who can stay present with you during emotional times. But know that at some point, you are going to feel dropped. That’s just part of the human experience; no one can be 100% attuned to your feelings all the time (except you, and even that’s asking a lot).

When it comes to your feelings, avoid “You statements” at all costs! “You made me feel…” is one of the most offensive statements there is. As a deep feeler, you must learn this rule if you’re going to have functional, safe relationships.

4) Don’t believe it when people tell you your feelings are wrong. 

Feelings can’t be wrong. They just are. It’s not negotiable.

When people don’t feel comfortable with their own feelings, they aren’t going to feel comfortable with yours. If you express your emotions in front of these people, don’t be surprised if they judge you for it.

You’re crazy.

You’re over-reacting.

You don’t get it.

Just get over it.

Calm down.

These are common statements from people who have a hard time with big feelings.

Unfortunately, sometimes these statements can make us second guess our own emotional experience. Wait a minute, am I over-reacting? You’re not. In my opinion, there’s no such thing.

Whatever your emotional reaction is, it’s true for you. Someone else might see it a different way, but that doesn’t mean your feelings are wrong. Just remember, your feelings are your feelings.

Keep in mind that not everyone is going to understand your feelings. A lot of people won’t. In fact, sometimes the people you’re closest to will have the hardest time with your feelings; it’s very difficult to witness suffering in the people we love.

Stop trying to force people to get it! When you’re having a strong emotional reaction, reach out to the people who do understand, then maybe have a conversation about it once the emotions have passed.

Personally I wouldn’t change my sensitivity level for anything. My feelings might even be getting deeper with age, and I’m okay with that.

I love being able to connect so profoundly to love, joy, abundance, and bliss. And I know what to expect on the other side of the coin; I’m going to experience disappoint and hurt sometimes, too.

Luckily, I accept this. I hope you can find acceptance for your feelings, too.

Please leave a comment below telling us why you are grateful to be a deep feeler in this world. I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Kristi on August 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I’m a big feeler! (ENFJ on the Myers-Briggs) 🙂
    This is great! Thank you. Maybe I should start going to therapy again. It has helped me in the past in that “safe place to empty my container” aspect… Love! Thanks, Shelly!

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:08 am

      Awesome, Kristi. Yes. Beautiful.

  2. Stacie on August 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve been reading a lot about “empaths” and being intuitive. Since I was a child I sort of understood what was going on with people before they did. This article made a lot of sense to me as do most of your writings. Looking forward to your book.

    • Freda on August 31, 2013 at 7:36 am

      I’m with you Stacy. Being intuitive Is a natural part of ourselves and allows us to react to peoples situations in a caring way. At times, you only have to look and see that they’re having a sh..t one and know how to respect their space. Has a lot to do with emotional intelligence. As I’ve aged and experienced loss in my life, I look forward to every new day and hope that through engaging moments with others, I can easily identify what they’re going through and know how to just “be” with them.Freda

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:08 am

      Yes, Stacie. Empaths! That’s what we are. 🙂 Lots of love. xo

  3. Freebirdgirl1970 on August 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This is right on for me, today. I have always been a deep feeler and have been in a deep-feeling “funk” for the past several weeks. Overwhelmed with a variety of emotions in response to many things going on in my life and the lives of those to whom I am close. I’m beginning to understand it’s not a funk; it’s simply feeling at the deepest level. But, in general, as you say, many people don’t understand which triggers me to feel that I’m an anomaly, bad, wrong…crazy.
    I think I will go cry with relief, now.

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:09 am

      Yes… feelings at the deepest level. I love that, Freebird. xo

  4. Rebecca on August 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    All my life I did believe something was wrong with me, only in the last number of years have I began to explore the geography of myself and discovered that I am deeply sensitive and always have been. I have appreciated this blog more than I can express (and being a deep feeler, I hope you know that it is true).I’ve pushed so many people away trying to put a lid on my deep emotions and having that always backfire. I’ve run myself ragged trying to contain how I feel and change it.
    As I continue on my journey I learn to love myself piece by piece, and this is a big piece of me. I know it will grow great things in my life when I have stopped warring against it.

    Thank you so much for the word’s of encouragement


    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:10 am

      I’m so glad it resonated for you, Rebecca. Sending love xo

  5. Amanda on August 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I’m for sure a deep feeler. All the pain I’ve experienced in the past has made me shut them up though. I feel muzzled a lot and that’s my own doing. But it’s because when I think a out letting them out it freaks me out! I don’t know if I’m capable of feeling like that anymore without being a crazy person… Clearly a therapist would help!Thank you so much for you blogs… You’re inspiring and I’m grateful I found you!!

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:10 am

      I’m so grateful you found me, too, Amanda! xoxo

  6. C.E. on August 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    This article is wonderful. What I personally liked the most was the statement about how no one can tell us our feelings are wrong! they are true to us, period! So, people who act uncomfortable or disrespectful when we express our true feelings, or people who tell us “we are over-reacting” instead of trying to get us, are definitely not be the right people to include in our lifes. It’s their right to feel at a superficial level, but it’s also our right to feel at a deeper level and to be respected for that. Thank you Shelly!! Best regards from El Salvador, Central America.

    • Shelly Bullard on August 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      I think it’s important to not judge people who don’t understand our feelings, either. 🙂

  7. Lydia on August 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Your article brought me to tears, Shelly. Thank you for putting things so well. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been critisized for being ‘too sensitive.’ I’ve come a long way & continue to find ways to appreciate & love my sensitive self. Your article has been really helpful. I’ll be passing it on to my deep-feeling buddies. xoxo

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:11 am

      So sweet, Lydia. I’m so glad it touched you deeply & glad you’ll be sharing it with friend. So much love xo

  8. Lisa on August 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I believe there is an official diagnosis or name for us; HSP ( highly sensitive people). I am very intuative, generous and sometimes naive which is almost the opposite to intuitive! I never want to stop trusting that I will find the best in others and it hurts when I get short changed or dropped when my social or strategic uses have been fully tapped. Might sound a bit bitter but have just gone through a crazy two year run in work and personal settings. I do now share more time with like minded souls but the world of work and romantic links is still hairy and hard to navigate at times. Thanks for sharing.

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:11 am

      You’re welcome, Lisa. xo

  9. Damien on August 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for the great article. This has helped tremendously in understanding certain behaviors. It can only help me manage relationships in a better way. I have conflicts with a family member and i’m always told that I’m too sensitive or that I make a bid deal of things. Well this is just how I process feelings. I have shared this article with my family member in hopes they will better understand me as well. Thank you for the great article.

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:12 am

      You’re welcome, Damien! xo

  10. Sasha on August 30, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I am a deep feeler like you! Most of the time I second guess myself and the majority of the people in my life just think I’m nuts. It’s hard being so misunderstood. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it – this could not have come at a more opportune time!!!

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:12 am

      I’m so glad, Sasha! xoxo

  11. Maile on August 31, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Thank you for validating all of us sensitive, and highly compassionate people!! It can feel like a heavy load to carry through this life, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Remembering that we can’t expect non deep feelers to understand where we are coming from is always key for me. From The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz: People’s actions are not a reflection of us. It’s my biggest stumbling block in life, and something I constantly remind myself.Thank you for your insights Shelly! They are very much appreciated!

    • Shelly Bullard on August 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      You’re welcome! XO

  12. Deidra on August 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I am definitely a deep feeler. This article touched me because I could relate to everything your saying. These last few months have been my most emotional months, and people have rejected my emotions. This article helped me understand better on how to cope with my highly sensitive emotions. Overall I am grateful to be a deep feeler. People love to tell me their problems because they know how empathetic I can be. Thank you so much, Shelly. Ever since I signed up to your blogs, I’ve been truly blessed with your wisdom and it has helped me. Truly grateful I attracted this.

    • Shelly Bullard on August 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Thank you, Deidra! XO

  13. Dr.D.P.Pande on September 1, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Poets, Thinkers and Philosophers are brainy and by nature Sensitive . All great work of ART is becoz of delicate sensitivity. Even mild 5-10% at times they climb up. Human being as well mind dynamics is also so delicate and you are doing very well. Good Wishes.Dr.D.P.Pande PhD

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:13 am


  14. Jackie Morrison on September 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Dr. Judith Orloff and Elaine Aron wrote extensively about managing and thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) a decade ago. Both are HSPs themselves. Was there anything new that you discovered that also supports being an HSP in a world full of overstimulation that Orloff and Aron have not already taught and written about?

  15. Jackie Morrison on September 7, 2013 at 9:56 am

    How do you define receptive as opposed to just being female? Females are often the receptive energy among the two genders. This is the traditional description of yin or feminine energy.

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:14 am

      To me, receptivity is a feminine trait, but that doesn’t mean female. Yes, it means a “yin” or introverted quality. But men can be very receptive and sensitive, too.

  16. olivia on October 24, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I used to be the kind of person that would react over-emotionally but once i started examining how it was being received i realised i had to make a different choice in order for my life to work (number 3) Therapy only took me so far. Your strong reactions are actually your baggage; being ‘sensitive’ is actually extremely egotistical! Learning about spirituality has been very rewarding and now my life flows really easily, I have learnt how to stay in the now as well as learning the tools of communicating powerfully, especially with men. I don’t get triggered nearly as much. It is your ‘response-ability’ that proves your maturity/sanity and ultimately your attractiveness ladies!!

    • An on July 28, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      Olivia, please teach us how you learned more about spirituality, the process for which to stay in the now, and how to communicating powerfully. Very interested in your method in getting life to flow more easily!

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:16 am

      I would say that being sensitive and being carried away by your emotions are two different things.Being sensitive is a normal quality of being human – a beautiful quality. And being carried away by your emotions is getting lost in the small self. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Sussie on November 8, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Best Article i have read in a lot time – especially when it hits the nail right on the head the first time and explains EVERYTHING to me about me! …Right now I am drained, absolutely drained from being too sensitive to people and peoples comments, and my reactions towards them, (especially my husband’s) for I analyse/think things through too much, and beat myself up too much, for not knowing better…..but I have found; to keep my emotions bottled up hurts and I feel disconnected to the world, for me expressing myself and being around friends (other trustworthy souls), it’s like air, that I cannot live without…but just like Amanda, when I don’t feel my feelings or express my feelings I feel muzzled, frustrated and angry at them and then at myself for not being expressive / assertive enough with people…what a vicious circle.

    • Shelly Bullard on November 9, 2013 at 1:45 am

      Bottling up your emotions backfires!! Find safe places to feel your feelings safely (I would die without therapy ;)). xo

  18. Paul Jamison on May 25, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I agree with most written in the article except it is my belief that we are all need tobe responsible for the emotions(anger, sadness, joy) that might happen during
    encounters with others, otherwise intimacy is avoided at the expense of the
    person who is abandon to deal with the emotions left behind. In other words,
    when my behavior angers another person and I need to feel responsible for
    the anger I caused.

    • Shelly Bullard on May 24, 2017 at 5:16 am

      Yes!! We have to take responsibility for our emotions and actions, absolutely! I agree!

  19. laura on July 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    If sensitivity is a gift, why do you need therapy?

    • Shelly Bullard on July 21, 2014 at 1:24 am

      Therapy helps us figure ourselves out. “Gift” doesn’t mean perfection.

  20. Joanne on April 18, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. All my life I’ve been told I’m too sensitive or that I should stop crying. It has been very frustrating. Finally in my late 40s I get it. I’m not going to stop being too sensitive because that is what I am, and if people don’t like it, well then too bad. I’m glad that there are people out there like me and I am ferry happy to find articles like this online. Thank you very much.

    • Shelly Bullard on April 19, 2015 at 12:30 am

      I’m so glad, Joanne. xo

  21. Elizabeth on April 26, 2015 at 5:42 am

    FANTASTIC article…. Too true… Thank you…

    • Shelly Bullard on April 27, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Glad you liked it! Thank you!

    • Shelly Bullard on April 27, 2015 at 1:41 am

      You’re welcome!

Before you dive any deeper...

Hi, I’m Shelly!

I’m a relationship coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, wife, girl mom, world traveler and… a damn good manifesting teacher.

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