Are You Oversensitive? What To Do If You Are

I'm writing this article as much for myself as I am for you. While I am not easily offended, I do have a tendency to take things personally when I really shouldn't. Since I am such a 'people-pleaser', I don't always take criticism well and am affected by things (i.e. someone using a harsh tone of voice with me) other people wouldn't be. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you probably know how oversensitivity can affect your life and relationships with others. After all, no one wants to go around with hurt feelings or 'walk on eggshells'. If you feel that you need to 'toughen up', here are some suggestions.

  • Stop assuming it's about you. I know this title sounds rude, but it's important to know that sometimes people do things that aren't related to you. For instance, you might think that your sister hasn't returned your calls because she's mad at you. Think of other possible reasons-does she work a lot of hours? Is she busy with her kids? Is she usually bad about returning calls? Does she do this to everyone? None of these things have anything to do with you, so you don't have to take her actions (or lack thereof) personally.
  • Analyze your reaction. Sometimes our reactions to things in our lives aren't due to things that are happening now, but to things that happened in the past. For example, suppose a 'friend' in high school would gossip about you and try to turn others against you after every argument. When you argue with your neighbor now, you might worry that she will do the same thing. Instead of assuming it, step back and analyze the situation. Aside from the fact that it would be a really juvenile thing to do, your neighbor might not be the kind of person to gossip about you to others. Has she given you any reason to think she is? Even if she were, is there any reason to think others would turn against you? Also, how would you advise a friend if she came to you with the same situation? Believe it or not, asking yourself these questions can help you to see things more objectively and better handle them.
  • Find ways to build self-esteem. Oversensitivity is often linked to low self-esteem. Reminding yourself of the positive things about you and your life isn't being conceited, it's a necessary part of feeling good about yourself. If you are able to think more highly of yourself, it will be easier to stop internalizing everything. Being able to say, “that's just your opinion” can go a long way in helping you lessen your sensitivity to others' behavior.

Hopefully you (and I!) will be able to stop being oversensitive and anxious about everything. Simply being sensitive isn't a bad thing; it shows that you care about people and have compassion. It can, however, become a problem if you take every thoughtless word or action personally. Being able to see yourself in a more positive light can help you realize that you don't need to feel bad and worry about what others think.


  1. I know I am oversensitive. This blog certainly got my attention. These are good tips on ways to make yourself get the focus off of yourself and perhaps to the bigger picture of things.

  2. A good book that helped me a lot was called "Women and Self-Esteem: Understanding and Improving the Way We Think and Feel About Ourselves".
    I got it at Barnes and Noble, but I'm sure you can find it cheaper on Amazon or something.