A Letter To My Sensitive Child


To my dear, sensitive child;

At first, I didn’t want to use that word sensitive. Sometimes people use sensitive as an insult – they say things like “you’re too sensitive” or “stop being so sensitive.” But sensitive can also mean “having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others’ feelings.” Or it can mean “quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences.”  Those things describe thoughtful, friendly you, so I want to reclaim that word for you.  

And I’m grateful that you are sensitive.  

Ever since you came into this bright, loud world, you’ve been a studier, a noticer.  

You notice people around you, waving and saying hi to every person you meet. You notice when someone is sad and want to help.  If something is lost in the house, you probably know where it is because you noticed it sitting there. You notice when new things are hanging on our walls at home and express how much you like them. 

Not only do you notice things, but you hear everything around you.  

When you were a baby and someone sneezed in the hallway, you would wake up and cry. When you could barely talk, you would stop playing to look around and listen every time a siren could be heard. You love to sing and listen to music. I hear you sing the words to songs on the radio before I even learn them and it makes my heart smile.  

You also see things that not everyone else sees.  

You see the first flower that blooms in spring and you pick it to bring to me. When you see that your sister is sad because she didn’t win the game, you let her win. You see that your Mommy is tired and frustrated and ask if she is happy.

Daily, you ask questions about life, about life after death, about why friends do what they do, and about why the sun is out longer in the summer. I see your brain processing my answers, thinking through it all.  

And even with the hard things that come with sensitivity, I still wouldn’t trade it.

Even though you cover your ears at blowdryers in the bathroom and sometimes you have a hard time moving past getting hurt or feeling sad.  Even though it takes you a while to process things and you can get lost in the moment and forget what else you are supposed to be doing.

Yes, even with those things, I am so glad that you are sensitive.

My dear child, I know as you grow you will carry your sensitivity with you.

Someday you will feel the burden of the world’s sadness because you notice these things. Someday you will feel as if the pain outweighs the joy and love. When that day comes, I want you to remember this letter and know that your mother and others like her have walked this sensitive road. We know there are great things in store for you. 

I see that you will be a great friend who notices when someone you care about is struggling. 

You will go out of your way to help them and encourage them. I see you caring about the poor and marginalized because you feel their pain and suffering. That same sense of sadness will turn to anger and you will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.  

Though I sometimes look at the future with fear, that you will be overwhelmed by the hard, difficult, loud messy stuff of life, I also feel hopeful that you will continue to find joy in the sunset and the smiles of your friends. And that you will find a life of meaning in looking to help those around you.

How do I know all of this? 

Because I was once a sensitive child that has now found her voice.

Because I will be here to help you as you grow. And because I see so much beauty in your everyday moments. One can never know what life may bring, but I’m so glad that you’re a sensitive child and I know that you make the world a better place.

Don’t lose this part of yourself, the part that feels and gives.  And don’t ever forget that I love you just the way you are.