My Authentic Self

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I’ve been told more times than I can count in my life that I’m too much. Usually, the speaker is trying to get me to shrink down in some way. Other times, it’s that I’ve seen through their version of reality and called it out. Regardless of the context, their “too much” reprimand comes at my authentic self. The form of delivery is what’s called out. But is it really the problem? Or is it what I’ve said?

Too much = too loud

There was a lot of yelling in my house growing up. Some of it was done by me but not the majority. My dad used to regularly say to me, “If you could just keep your mouth shut, it would be a lot more peaceful around here.”

I learned that his love was tied to my behavior. It felt conditional. I’ll spare you the details of how that affected me for years and still does to this day.

Too much = too direct

Friends have told me many times over the years that I’m the friend they come to when they need someone to say the hard things they don’t want to hear. At this stage of life, I feel good about being able to support them in that way. As a teenager and young adult, I cringed. It made me feel like I wasn’t a nice person. I claimed that label for a long time.

Other people in my life, both professionally and personally, have simply avoided difficult conversations with me. When I’ve finally asked enough times, one person put it like this. “I didn’t feel like being run over by a train today.”

Ouch.

“And still, she persisted.”

Age, wisdom and experience have given me the gift of claiming who I am. I’ve finally learned to make peace with not being everyone’s shot glass of fireball. Showing up authentically is one of my core values. The results I get in my life reflect a greater ability to temper my words in a way that makes them more hearable to others.

And when my style just isn’t the right fit for someone else, I gladly wish them well and walk away.

 

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