02/28/2013 02:44 pm ET Updated Apr 30, 2013

Do People Sometimes Accuse You of Being Too Sensitive?

To inspire people to find work they love, and live without regret.

I used to think that was the goal of my talk show. And it is, but there's something more basic going on.

The goal of my talk show is to learn something. The more focused I am on that, the more interesting the discussion -- and the more likely you are to learn something, too.

That's one reason I'm eager to talk with people like Rich Gallagher. Rich is an expert on customer service but he's also a marriage and family therapist, a popular public speaker, a bestselling author -- and a good friend.

The last time we recorded an interview I admitted to torching two days of an otherwise dreamy two-week vacation because I was so hurt by something my daughter had said.

Rich commended me on what, finally, had snapped me out of it. I stopped beating myself up for feeling bad long enough to wonder why it had hurt. "That's so interesting!" I almost said out loud. "What's going on?"

The minute -- and I mean, the minute -- I did that, I stopped hurting. I realized how important certain things are to me, and how much of my identity is wrapped up in them. I forgave myself immediately -- these are things I'm proud of, after all -- and I apologized to both my husband and our daughter for trying to get them to understand something I obviously didn't have a handle on myself.

Rich thought that was great. We both think by showing more compassion toward ourselves we'll be better equipped to offer it to people we love. Hence the suggestion to don our own oxygen masks first.

The thing Rich said that stopped me cold, though, was this: "I don't think it's a character flaw that it stung for two days."

You're kidding.

No. He wasn't.

And with that, he wiped away a lifetime of guilt I've felt for being "too" sensitive. "Too" sensitive? Yeah? According to whom?

People who aren't as sensitive! And what makes them the arbiters of sensitive? May I make a joke? Being too judgmental.

I am really sensitive. That's one reason I'm a good mom, I was able to write Left for Dead: A Second Life after Vietnam, and I internalize mean comments in an attempt to learn something instead of firing them back where they probably belong -- on the source.

It isn't an easy way to go through life, but nobody signed up for easy on the day he was born.

It's grist, and I doubt if I'll be running out of things to blog about any time soon.

Thanks for finding it interesting enough to visit us here. I hope you're learning a fraction of what I am by showing up.

For more by Maureen Anderson, click here.

For more on emotional intelligence, click here.

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