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  • Adele Leung

Abusing Sensitivity


Most of the people working in the creative industry are sensitive human beings. We feel. Feeling is innate to everyone in fact, but perhaps we are a group of people who use this openly in our day to day work. We have endorsed in this industry of using our sensitivity towards the abuse. For example, the sense of aestheticism is something that we cannot really quantify or have a rule book on. In design school, students may be taught what goes with what, what proportions are considered beautiful, what color palettes match etc. But ultimately, what we truly feel, we know what works and what doesn’t –but what standard is that based on? It is based on nonetheless our own internal makeup—our ideals and beliefs, our likes and dislikes, the viewpoints we have gathered, as well as the level of love we are able to access and embody.

If sensitivity and clairsentience are my strengths, there is no effort working in the creative industry when it comes to creative direction. There is no right or wrong, as long as it is an attunement that I am familiar with. However, if this attunement is not a familiar one with me, then it would feel super jarring in my body. The discomfort that this feels, often it is expressed as criticism and put downs to the people offering this attunement (aesthetic).

I DO NOT LIKE IT.

As if this is the mantra and ultimatum we can so casually utter in the creative industry, to crush another, because of our sensitivity.

How cruel.

If we truly feel, and truly honor our sense and sensitivity, we need to be aware of our own reactions when things do not feel the way we want it to be. For years, I felt ENTITLED to need things around me to feel comfortable (the way I want it) for me. But never asked why do I feel uncomfortable? I never questioned why everyone else had to make me feel comfortable. The entitlement when we are in it prevents us from ACTUALLY seeing we are so grabbed by it, that we are deeply insecure if things do not go our way. It prevents us from ACTUALLY seeing that there is something I can deepen with within myself, because my job, my position, my role of importance says I CAN JUST CRUSH ANOTHER IF I DO NOT LIKE THEIR WORK.


That is such an abuse of our deeply precious sensitivity, when we use it to hide our insecurities, and to secure our own sense of self and recognition. Ultimately what we want to avoid, but truly we cannot, is to respond to what our bodies is asking us to go to. If we do not like something, look at it, dive deeper as to why these feelings have arose, rather than immediately going into reaction.


When our SENSITIVITY brings us to immediate REACTION, this movement hurts everyone. It hurts us and others, no one wins. We appear hurt, like everyone has hurt us WHEN THEY DO NOT DO AS THEY ARE TOLD OR WHAT WE ASKED THEM TO DO. But have we ever deepened into the understanding of asking why? Have we even paused for a moment and asked if it was us that did not explain it clearly? We do not even want to go deeper to connect with ourselves and another, and would it be surprising that everything that comes after this, would be abusive?


In this industry we condone too much of what abuse is. We are layered with abusive situations every day and numbed to not feel this to be abuse. But our bodies always know. We get sick and feel awful and we do not know why. The verbal abuse we hurl and cop, the physical abuse of pushing our bodies overlimit, rushing in drive with the unending work and responsibilities we take on or are put on us. Is this considered normal? Everyone is doing it, so it MUST be normal, is that not the case? Then ask our bodies if it is normal when it gets sick. Ask again when it feels like it has been run over by a truck when you wake up. Ask repeatedly when we have major sicknesses, and guess what? Do we need to be told that we are so sensitive and delicate? Are we not aware that because we are so delicate, that we feel everything. Everything that does not feel true, our bodies know.


What I have taken as a constant day to day learning in being in this industry is the most basic level of decency and respect in our communication. Even if I lead a team, is the creative person behind a project, the director holding the vision of a company, I DO NOT have the right to crush another. NOT, even if they did not do a perfect enough job for that day. NOT, when they missed something, stuffed up, made a so-called mistake (haven’t we all made mistakes?). Decency and respect means, its ACTUAL Livingness means, we do not criticize, do not react, do not say I DON’T LIKE IT UNDER OUR BREATH or IN OUR THOUGHTS. Decency and respect means we do not react, but we communicate. CRUSHING someone does not have to be face to face confrontation, it could be just a thought of “How stupid they are”, “How I hate what they have done”, “How I am not feeling what they have presented” etc. Anything that makes us grow the tinest gap with anyone, is NOT decency and respect. We cannot pretend to have decency and respect. Niceness is not it.


The creative industry is powered by many amazing and deeply precious human beings. Let’s ACTUALLY be that with each other.


Photo credit: Jeffrey Chan Workshop


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