Have you ever been told you are “too” something? Over the course of my life here are a few of the things I’ve been told I was “too”:
- Too smart for my own good
- Too shy
- Too loud (I know a direct contradiction of “shy.”)
- Too sensitive
When someone tells you are “too” your first instinct may be to try to not be the “too.” But those “too’s” may be the very things that make you, you!
I remember a friend of mine from grade school—he was smart and came from a gregarious family. He loved to entertain the classroom. I still remember the Elvis imitation he did at a 6th or 7th grade assembly. He was often in trouble for something that was actually a gift that the nuns and teachers in my Catholic grade school didn’t know how to channel. I haven’t seen or spoken with him in years so I “Googled” him just now to see what he was up to and found out he recently was doing a keynote speech at a conference. It seems he learned how to put that “too-ness” to work for him.
Think back over the things that you have been told you are “too.” Each “too” is an aspect of you given to you by the divine. They are gifts that you have to decide how to cultivate and tend in the world. Perhaps you think your “too” is a negative. Let’s say, you’ve been told again and again, “You are too angry!,” that might be good feedback for you to look at how you are showing up in the world. But take a moment and look at what the anger is telling you. Is it asking you to make changes in yourself or in the world? It may be a gift in ugly wrapping paper. It’s your job to go deeper in the anger and see what it is really telling you. What does the anger need you to do in a productive loving way? People who walk around projecting anger out to the world often have a lot of healing work to do. The anger is telling them that but they may not be listening.
I’ve been told I’m too loud more times than I can count. My voice carries. Now this is good for speaking. I can hit the back of a room without a mike if I need to, but there are times I have to take my loud self and tone her down. I don’t bring her into hypnotherapy sessions and I don’t take her to funerals. But she has a great time at rock concerts! And when I worked at the law firm my employees and peers counted on my loud self to speak up for them when they were uncomfortable doing so for themselves. I have had to learn how to manage this part of me and know when to use it and when to pull out another aspect of myself that is more suited for the occasion. It isn’t that loudness is bad, it is that it has a time and place.
Many years ago when I was acting I took a class taught by Sam Christensen which was about developing my personal brand as an actor. He said that each person has an essence. When an actor markets his or herself in alignment with that essence, he or she is more successful. Sam told the story of Danny DeVito being told he was too short and ugly to be an actor and Danny deciding that he was going to be the best short, ugly grumpy actor there was. Looks like it worked for DeVito. (I’ve heard he is not at all like the characters that he played on TV and in film. But he obviously had that curmudgeon aspect within him to play Louie De Palma on Taxi and all those other characters so well.)
In the class, we had to have hundreds of people friends and strangers fill out surveys that listed what they perceived to be our key essences. It didn’t matter whether it was friends who had known me for years or strangers who had never met me and were just looking at me from across the room as they checked off the adjectives to describe what they picked up about me. The words were the same: smart, gregarious, good friend, high energy, loud and clear, to name a few.
I enrolled in this class to market myself as an actor, I didn’t know that years later I would still be coming back to it and noticing what deep work it is to accept the way we came into this world. We are indeed snowflakes that each has an individual essence. Often when people are telling us we are “too” they are pointing out that essence to you. Part of living connected with the sacred is to honor your own individual essence. If you are “too shy” maybe that makes you a great listener and observer of life. Maybe you are introspective and a great thinker. How is shyness your gift? When can you use it?
Are there “too’s” that you need to own and claim? Are there “too’s” that are a symptom of something you need to deal with in your own life? How are you doing at accepting and managing your “too’s”? How are you at helping your children with their “too’s”
I’d love your comments and thoughts.