Brittle isn’t sensitive

In the previous post, I talked about the benefits of being sensitive, there’s a closely related idea that I want to talk about, brittleness. Brittle: inflexible, shattering.

brit·tle (ˈbridl/) –

  • hard but liable to break or shatter easily.
  • (of a sound, especially a person’s voice) unpleasantly hard and sharp and showing signs of instability or nervousness.
  • (of a person or behaviour) appearing aggressive or hard but unstable or nervous within.

It’s interesting to note that the dictionary lists relaxed as an antonym.

I am also brittle, and I think that’s bad. I’m brittle wherever I’m inflexible. Brittle is where I’m not being kind to myself (or anyone else); instead, I demand that the universe be the way that I want it to be so that I can feel OK. Whenever I expect the world to accommodate my feelings, I’m being brittle.

Places where I’m sensitive rapidly become places where I’m brittle. What makes the difference? Well for me, it often becomes a question of how full is my gas-tank? When I take care of myself I’m less brittle.

There’s an interesting mental trap here that I fall into though: because I can make myself less brittle with self care, I expect myself to overcome being sensitive. That isn’t the point, but my mental circle on that one is a tight orbit that’s hard to escape. Kindness towards others can help my brittleness, kindness towards myself can allow me to accept my hurt. Both are needed to keep me from shattering.

(Let me know if there’s interest in pages on being tough and resilient.)


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