How My Greatest Weakness Became My Biggest Strength
All Images Copyright by Carla Coulson
Last weekend I was on a beautiful balcony in the South Of France chatting with a make-up artist in between shooting different set ups. Somehow we got onto the movie called Sully, which is a true story about the pilot Chelsea Sullenberger who made an emergency landing on the Hudson river and not one person died.
We both saw the movie and were in awe of his strength, his vision and his ability under incredible stress to make a snap decision to land an Airbus on the Hudson river and do it in a way that all lives were saved.
It didn’t even take a 1/1000th of second before I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over my body just talking about the feat of this man. I could imagine the joy, the tears, the strength, the fear and the tenacity to pull off such a thing.
The client heard us talking and when I walked back in she saw I had tears in my eyes and told me she loved how I was so connected to my emotions.
We then started a beautiful chat about emotions and empathy and for most of my life how I believed it hindered me, made me weak in the eyes of others because I couldn’t ‘control’ my emotions. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard things such as ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘get over it’ or ‘it’s not appropriate now’.
I often wondered were these jangly emotions some sort of ‘karmic hang-over’? Was there a lesson being passed down from another life that I failed to learn and this time the folks upstairs wanted me to learn it so badly they would throw other people’s emotions at me like they were mine?
I have never really tried to explain how empathy works for me but there is an immediate connection, followed by a flood of emotions and I can feel the emotions as intensely and quickly as though it was happening to me. I’m there, it’s not only you who is feeling the pain, living the joy, it’s me. The same goes for watching movies, I can’t handle violence of any kind, it haunts me and my dreams for nights to come.
Living in Italy allowed me to start the process to embrace this part of myself that I had always tried to push away, my tears and laughter were celebrated and held up to me as a gift.
The more I embraced this ‘gift’ the more comfortable I became with who I was. Not only what is it my secret weapon in my photography bag but when I stopped squashing it and pushing it away, it allowed me to read situations and people and bring the right ones into my life.
It took me years to realise I could ‘feel’ my way through life and use these emotions like a divining rod! These emotions no longer frighten me but they enhance everything I do. I treat them like friends I have always had but no longer wish to ignore. I let tears roll and try not to apologise for them.
Just recently I was so curious about this over sensitivity and my ever ready emotions I Googled it. I found that ‘we’ had been categorized. There was such a category knows as Highly Sensitive People and I appeared to fit perfectly into it.
This led me to a book called Highly Sensitive People, In An Insensitive World by Ilse Sand and of course I hit buy. Sheesh I had been curious about this subject for my whole life.
There were so many answers for me in this book (no she didn’t pronounce it to be Karmic hangover) but I realised that I am not alone.
So folks, if there is a little part of you that you have always squashed or hidden because you don’t know how to deal with it or are embarrassed about it like I was, maybe giving voice to this part of you maybe the secret to finding the authentic you.
And when you find the authentic you, you can stand so solidly in your bones and feel proud of who you are, that you can do whatever it is that you came here to do.