A friend posted on Facebook this week about being told that she asked too many questions as a child, and it got me thinking about how many times someone has said that I’m too much in my life.
I’ve been told I’m too fat, too lazy, too quiet, too talkative, too bossy, too loud, too competitive, too fussy, too laidback and too highly strung – very probably amongst other things. And that is just from other people – if I added the stuff I told myself I was too of it would be endless.
I’ve also been told I’m not enough of plenty of things. Not active enough, not determined enough, not confident enough, not brave enough, not committed enough.
The truth is that if I’m not enough of something, it’s probably because I have already been told, or become to believe, that I am too much of it. I remember the times I haven’t struck a pleasing balance for a others much more than the times that I have. I don’t think there had ever been any doubt in my mind before that other people were entitled to tell me what I am or am not – well from today that changes. You are entitled to an opinion about whether you think I’m too much or not enough of anything, but from today I am not longer measuring myself.
Of course my behaviour in a certain situation may well have been too much, or not enough one way or the other; and that I am prepared to observe, accept feedback and moderate where appropriate but it will be a judgement on what I am doing, rather than who I am.
I know that many of you think this is just semantics, that it’s perhaps a bit petty and that everyone knows that when we say “You ARE” to someone, we really mean “you are behaving” but the subconscious brain is very black and white. We take these judgements on our behaviour as an innate part of our character. Especially when we are young. It can be very hard to undo.
Every time we add to the “things that I am” list we add a certain filter to the way we see ourselves and the world around us. We’ll keep gathering evidence that it is true, this is indeed what we are and it becomes ingrained.
So we need to change 2 things – firstly, we need to be the change we want to see in the world and be careful about how we talk to others. It’s very easy for such things to slip off the tongue, but we can always go back and clarify what we meant.
Secondly, we need to change the way we speak to ourselves. Whenever a thought comes in that you are too this or that, or not enough something or other stop and ask yourself one question. Too much for who? Not enough based on what? Where did that belief come from and is it actually true?