Hi friends! Recently I did a post on How I found my voice & afterwards, I felt liberated, free, transparent and honest all at once. I had shared many of my personal struggles, frustrations and short-comings & I’m so happy to have received so much positive feedback from everyone. It can be hard sharing your story with people you know but it is even harder sharing your story via the internet where people are often not as accepting as your close friends & family would be. I received a few emails from people struggling with finding their own voice because fear of backlash from others. For starters, I encourage you to read I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough, secondly, I wanted to share this post on how I learned it was okay to be “too much” to some people. So, here are the most common things I heard.
You’re too loud. I still hear this far too often. I consider myself to be very outgoing, extroverted and proud of everything I am & everything I am not. Whenever I would be the first person to answer questions in class or volunteer for a position, I would immediately (or shortly after) hear : “You’re too loud” or “You’re too much” or “Why are you speaking up?”. At that point, I had two decisions: back down to “be accepted” or stand true to my promises and follow through on them. Far too many times, I backed down because of peer pressure and that’s not something I am proud of. But what I learned in those moments was that I was so busy seeking the approval of others, that I was allowing my own happiness to be a second thought, when that isn’t what my happiness is.
My happiness is something I deserve to be and am proud of. So if you ever hear these harsh words, just remember that when we no longer have clothes to hide behind, fancy homes to hide in or a group of friends to hide in between, the only thing you will have left is your voice – don’t let anyone take that away. Read that full post here: How I found my voice
You’re too serious. After my sophomore year of college, I took a long hard look at what I had spent my first two years doing. All I could come up with was partying with friends I didn’t really like, drinking super cheap liquor (Burnettes [what was I thinking?]) and not dedicating enough time to my studies. So, I slowly transitioned out of that phase and began to spend more time in the library, picking two new majors, researching with professors, join professional organizations and attending as many conferences/workshops as time allowed. Honestly, I could not have been happier. But all I heard people saying was “You’re wasting your college years”, “You won’t be able to party like this in the future”, “You need to spend more time going out”, “You should get drunk more often” and so on and so on.
I seriously wondered, why is so hard to believe that someone college aged does not want to get sloppy drunk every weekend? Why is it so hard to believe that someone college aged is worried about saving for their future? Why is it so hard to believe that someone college aged has different ideas about having fun? This isn’t to say that it’s not okay to party or drink a lot, but that just isn’t me. I couldn’t and still don’t understand why that is so difficult for people to understand. If you find yourself in the same situation, just think about how you’re actions today are preparing you for your future. If you’re happy with what you are doing, then to hell with the negative things that others have to say. What you are positively doing for yourself should never be anyone else’s concern. Here are my top 3 book choices on professional development & branding yourself: Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media., Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur & You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
You’re too busy/dedicated/committed. When I hear this, I immediately think that the person on the other end is purely jealous. Maybe they haven’t found their passion yet, maybe they haven’t found their greatest talents, maybe they haven’t found the creative space to which they belong because seriously, why does me being busy bother you at all? Most of my friends knows that I keep a busy schedule. My planner is always full and I’m always on the go from one meeting to class to work to a speaking event to volunteering to research to dinner with friends to bed, then to do it all again the next day.
But why does that matter to anyone? If you are busy or enjoyed having your time fulfilled, don’t think you have to apologize for it. As long as you are holding yourself accountable for maintenance of your time, then do what you what. For myself, I have this desire to always help people, so being busy in ways that helps peoples or always being there when people ask me to be, is very important to me. Here are my top book choices on maintaining your busy life, organizing clutter & practicing self-care: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living & Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I sure hope that none of my readers have experienced this type of unrealistic criticism but I would encourage you to never let others have that much control or power over you that it forces you change the way you experience happiness. How I learned it was okay to be “too much” was when I finally realized that my own happiness is just as important as everyone else and that at the end of the day, I have to go to bed facing the choices I made that day – not anyone else. So why bother letting those negative words upset me? Frankly, it is not worth it. Here are some others that are just laugh worthy but never worth the time explaining: You’re to black. Seriously? Really? Just stop. You’re too proud. Okay, so what? You’re too outgoing. Wonderful – tell me something I don’t know. You’re too honest. Hmm, interesting. You’re too thin. You’re too fat. You’re too short. You’re too tall. You’re too insert something absolutely absurd and none of that persons business here.
To anyone struggling with selfs-doubt at the hands of others or having a hard time dealing with criticism, I encourage you to read any of these books: Wild and Free: A Hope-Filled Anthem for the Woman Who Feels She is Both Too Much and Never Enough, The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves, Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy, Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose or any of the others on my Reading List.