Are you sick of people telling you that you are too much? Or is there someone in your life that you feel is too much?
We as a society need to stop telling people that they are too much.
Being told that you are too much is such a hurtful thing. Let me share with you my personal experience and what I’ve seen with my clients having other people tell them they were too much, whether it be:
It's really sad because how long have these women worked to feel like they are enough?
In a lot of the work that I do, the number one limiting belief I hear from my clients, and audience members is “I am not enough”. It then moves into them feeling, “I'm not worthy”.
The result is:
Then we have this issue that when they finally come to that place of feeling confident and getting into their skills and their talents and really living fully as who they are, being truly themselves and other people come across and say, “You're wrong. Who you are is absolutely too much. Therefore, you are wrong.”
As a person, it truly sucks. I'm really annoyed about it. I've interviewed women in leadership roles, women who are successful in their business, and some of them say,
It's sad. Why are we telling the people who are being truly themselves that they need to change?
Brene Brown has done so much research in finding out that “I'm not enough” is truly the number one limiting belief. It drives me crazy that we are doing things as a society, telling people that they're wrong for who they are being.
I've had experiences as a child being told I have too much charisma, excitement and energy for things at school and for sports. People told me to settle down, calm down or talked about me behind my back. This was hard because I didn't always want to do things and didn't always want to be there, but I always did my best.
As an adult, I've had this happen in business settings. It's so confusing when I have some people telling me that I'm amazing and they love these things about me then I have others saying the opposite. I even had this happen at a church retreat I was at. Someone who I thought I could trust and I had been vulnerable with ended up telling a group of strangers… women that I hadn't met yet… that I was too much, too confident, and too dynamic. It hurt me to the core. It made me feel like I was wrong for being me. And the worst part is that I was sitting at the table when she did it and I had to suppress my true reaction:
Very stealthily I guess, I hid the hurt and left. This happened over dinner, and I felt like I didn’t want to go back to the events in the evening. I didn't want to face everybody. I was so embarrassed, mad and upset.
The leaders and women I work with also have faced this. They have people who adore them, are fans of them, and love them as their true selves. Then there are other people that say they're too much.
It sometimes comes up when we do the 360-feedback survey with them. When I go through this with clients through a 360 survey, we can survey their friends, employees, people on their team, colleagues, peers, coaches, other mentors, bosses, etc. Sometimes the feedback is that they're too much for some reason or another. It's heartbreaking to have to be the one to tell them because the reason why they are too much in someone’s eyes is often the reason they have been so successful. But we spend the time deciphering if there is truth in that.
At the retreat, I had to do the same, but I had to figure it out on my own.
So I’m back in the room (that we were sharing), I'm crying. I'm alone. I'm questioning myself… Was she right? Was this true about me?
I said “No, I've done the work. I am authentically myself. If someone else can't handle it, it's not about me anymore.”
You see, I have spent so many years working on myself. So many years clearing up my flaws, my weaknesses, and toning down who I am so other people would feel “comfortable”. When you tone down who you are, your people can't find you. Your people don't know where you are. Your people need you; especially if the work you do makes you their solution. But if they can't find you because you're dulling yourself, we have a problem. The world already has enough problems and you not being yourself shouldn’t be one of them.
I knew I had to talk to her and fix it (we were staying in the same room and I was driving her home), so a few hours later we had a chat. I was so surprised when she said to me, “Diane, I don’t like myself. I don’t understand why you would be my friend and why you have been so kind to me.” She didn't understand how I could be her friend because I’m so confident and successful. That just broke my heart and had me understand why she said what she said and why she did what she did.
There are too many people out there telling others that they're too much, but since there's no opportunity for conversation, there's no opportunity to repair the relationship.
It's heartbreaking when someone is shining brightly in what they are meant to do, shining brightly like a lighthouse. And you know why a lighthouse shines… so others can see them and get to shore safely. It’s the same with people when they are in their own storm and in the craziness of the water, they need to know who to go to solve their problem and get them safely to shore again.
If I toned down my personality, if I wasn't who I was, I wouldn't have been able to help the tens of thousands who have looked to me for coaching, guidance, and support to be able to have their own clarity, increased confidence and be following an action plan.
Why do the people who are shining brightly have to change? Instead, society needs to change. The people who are telling them that they're too much need to change.
There are some moments and people who aren't considerate of others and are taking the spotlight and are shining so brightly all the time and it's tiring to be around them. I get that. I'm very energetically sensitive and I feel that from others.
I try to meet people with their energy, and if they have lower energy, I'm either going to try to pick them up, or I'm going to come back down to where they are.
I watched an episode of American Idol and there was a guy auditioning who was singing very well, but also running around the stage. It was too much. It took away from his sheer talent. His skills and talents didn’t need all the flashiness. When he toned it down in later episodes, we heard him better.
I get it that in certain situations that's how it needs to be. But it really sucks when you have goals, ambitions, and instead of putting your neck out to reach for them, you'd rather take the backstage. You push it aside for fear of what other people are going to say. Has this happened to you?
We have to stop taking the wind out of these other people’s sails. We must consider that they have fought hard for where they're at. If we want to encourage women to move forward in leadership and encourage women to step into their full being, we need to stop cutting their legs off. We have to stop the whole tall poppy syndrome where people act on an often subconscious feeling of, “Oh, they're doing well up there, let's knock them down”. Or that idea of the crabs in a bucket where you can throw crabs in the bucket with no lid and none of them will get out because even if they climb to the top, others will grab them and pull them down.
Men vs Women
I haven’t done the research to know if women are doing this more to other women than men are. But in my experience, when I'm brought into corporate, I initially thought the men were holding the women back. But what I found in working with groups of women in corporate was that the women were afraid to step up, afraid to stand out, because if they stood out too much, others would take them down. And, often it was women who did it to women!
If they were vulnerable, others would use that as ammo to take them out. It's sad. It's so sad.
What You Can Do
I encourage you, if somebody in your life is too much can we let them know nicely? (As I said, I get there are moments, situations and certain people who haven't done the work, they're inconsiderate, and so they're too much.) So instead of cutting them down and telling them they’re wrong for who they're being, can we change our choice of words to talk more about their behaviour?
We can start off by telling them about the qualities we do like in them. We can praise, motivate, and encourage the good qualities they have.
Going back to the guy who auditioned on American Idol, we can take my previous suggestion to the next step by adding in compliments on something they improved, by saying things like:
Maybe you've seen a speaker who was moving all around the stage, someone on video or talking to you in person who is talking so quickly with too much energy or sound. You probably felt like saying, “Man, that's too much” or “This person is talking too loud or too fast.”
Instead you can make a request, “Hey, do you mind just slowing down a little bit?”
Instead of saying that someone's too much, how about you look instead to what it is about them that's too much for you and bring it back to yourself. Like that situation I was in where I was able to have the conversation, I realized it wasn't about me. Yes, what I did was triggering it, but it was her lack of love of self that caused her to say that about me.
Let's be encouragers rather than discouragers. Because I'll tell you, with the women who didn’t love herself, she could have been lifted up with ten amazing compliments, but if even one person told her she was too much, it negates every positive thing that's been said.
I know that sometimes in my life, when I've been low, I didn’t want to be around someone that was uber positive, loving life and successful. I get that. But that's on me. That’s my problem, not theirs. So, I focused on moving myself into a better position where I could work on me instead of cutting someone else down.
I encourage you when you are looking at social media, meeting people, or there are other moments in your life when you hear others saying it, please call them out on it.
Have you felt any of these:
If you said yes to any of them, then we can have a conversation. I want to be there to support you through it. It's not about you. If you've done the work, it's not about you. Schedule a call here.
Shine like a lighthouse. You were meant to shine so your people can find you, whether it be your customers or your friends, or even a love interest.
You deserve the ability to be yourself… your true self… your full self without anyone telling you that you're too much.
Read my other blogs here:
1. How NOT to feel isolated
2. We are Starved for this - How to Deal with “I am NOT Enough”
3. D.R.I.V.E.: 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself
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