Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever.
These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.
“You’re too sensitive. You need a thicker skin!” I have heard these pleas from the time that I was a small child. Easily moved to tears, highly empathetic, and outwardly emotive – I cannot deny that I am quite sensitive. I cry at commercials. I fall in love with every baby and puppy I see. I get angry at injustice.
At each stage of life, my need to be tough gains urgency:
“If you are going to be a lawyer…”
“If you are going to have children…”
“If you are going to start a business…”
“If you are going to work for the government…”
This advice comes from well-meaning people. They want to help me avoid the pain of unfair criticism. They want to lighten my emotional load by putting distance between me and my work, my clients, and the world. This might very well make life easier.
Ironically, it is the acceptance of my sensitivity that has helped me get over the criticism of my sensitivity. I am who I am! At 43 years old, the chances of me becoming a hardened cynic are slim. Accepting myself in all of my emotional glory has proven to be the first step in getting a thicker skin.
There is also a great upside to my sensitivity. I connect easily and deeply with people. Clients have often thanked me for caring – really caring – about them. Even empathizing with an opponent is advantageous, because I understand how right they feel. I have the best friends in the world because I tend to like everyone I meet.
The pain of being disliked, criticized, and highly emotional is (almost) always outweighed by the richness that vulnerability allows. My sensitivity has improved my life and my career in more ways than I could list here. It has guided me toward public service, good relationships, giving grace to others, and feeling responsible for members of my community who need help or experience injustice.
I don’t think that I could become less sensitive if I tried, but at this point in my life, I am able to accept my sensitivity as a strength. I am getting over the need to get over my sensitivity.
Emily O’Donnell, Chattanooga