It seems like here recently, my feelings have been getting hurt so easily. Am I the only one? Or the only one that can admit it? As I reflect back on when this started happening, I realized my life has consisted of different stages of sensitivity. Ultimately, I’ve come to terms with my tender heart.
When I was a child, my feelings could get hurt so badly. I cried when I didn’t get invited to my classmate’s birthday party, when I saw my friend at the pool with another friend, and even when my siblings or cousins got to spend the night with my grandparents without me. This stage of sensitivity goes hand in hand with immaturity. I was too immature to know that maybe that girl in my class could only afford to invite three girls to her party that year and she chose to invite her three closest friends. I was too immature to know that just because my friend was at the pool with another friend did not make me any less of her friend. I was too immature to realize that because my sibling or cousin was staying with my grandparents that night, that the next time would be my turn. These are all things that changed as I hit the next stage of sensitivity.
As I entered high school, I started to become aware of life’s realities. Life can hit pretty hard. I saw classmates lose parents, others become pregnant, and some drop of school. How are high school aged “children” supposed to handle things like that? Seeing those type of things, let alone, go through them, can harden someone. Life became more serious than birthday parties and staying the night with my grandparents. Words seemed to bother me less, I became more self-oriented, and in a way, selfish. Actually, the emotions that swing from high to low with puberty were ever present, but looking back on this time, I see Self-Centered Liz at an all time high. The girl in my English class that didn’t say sorry for shoulder checking me in the hallway didn’t “hurt my feelings”. I was too consumed with how I looked in my jeans, my eyeliner, and how boys saw me than to care if she said sorry or not. This stage was accented by puberty. Puberty is hard, and although I can’t say it lessened my sensitivity, it definitely hardened it.
However, as I graduated high school and left home to go to college, things changed again. I realized that my mom was right in most of the arguments we had as I grew up at home. I saw the silver shining in my dads hair. I began hugging my sister goodbye with a set of car keys in her hand. My grandparents, although I’ve always looked up to them, have become symbols of wisdom. My brother has grown into one of the godliest men I have ever known. And I’ve helped bring my other sister back to earth as I’ve seen her walk through the high school sensitivity stage. My point is, I went from wanting to be everyone’s #1, to being okay with just being loved by them. I no longer see jeans, eyeliner, and boys as the center of my world. I see church. I see family dinners. I see spending the night with my grandparents because when was the last time I have done that? I see 2 am text messages from my sister with a broken heart. I see my other sister open acceptance letters from some of the best colleges in the world. I see my brother stand in church and tell everyone how much God has done for him. I watch my mom turn into a best friend. I see my dad reach for his Bible in the mornings to prepare for the day. Things I had never noticed before because of blinding immaturity and puberty became the things I love. Because I realize what is important, my sensitivity has risen.
That’s why my feelings get hurt so badly. When I’m eating at a restaurant and someone I know doesn’t say goodbye to me simply because they don’t want to, I cry. When my boyfriend accidentally forgets to kiss me goodbye and tell me he loves me, it hurts my feelings. When I hear about my family going on family nights without me while I’m away, I get jealous. But, I’ve come to the realization that I’m okay with that. Because I now know what the next stage is: Realization. I realize that all of those things from the previous two stages have made me who I am today. I realize that time is flying by. I realize that I may not have my grandparents much longer. I realize that my parents are entering new stages, too. I realize my siblings are the best friends that God gave me. I realize that I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m not going to rush through this stage because I haven’t lived long enough yet to know just how many there are. I realize I may not have many left. So, I’ll take the tears, hurt feelings, jealousy, and late nights because I don’t know where I would be without it.