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November 17, 2021

How To Own Your Extra When You Feel Like Too Much

At least once a week, a woman in my practice says, I feel like my needs are just too much. I felt like too much as a child and I feel like too much in my marriage or with my friends.

Today, dear friend, I’m talking to you.

I have been called a drama queen- mostly by my family members. I am a lot. I feel a lot. I think a lot. I want a lot- and I own that now. But, early in my marriage, I felt like I was too much, my needs were too much. I didn’t want to burden my husband or people in my life.

And we all learn that to some extent, pretty early in life.

Something that still breaks my heart to this day happened when my son was about two years old.  I had a four-year-old and a baby with special needs at the time.  My two-year-old, Sage, who I was potty training, peed in the dishwasher. Yes, you read that right. I was putting up the dishes and he walked right up, pulled down his pull-ups and peed right there in the dishwasher.

Why? We will never know.

I watched him do it and I was pretty much done. I moaned and sank on the floor. Sage came toddling up to me and said, “Mama, am I too much for you?”

I remember scooping him up in my arms and saying, “you will never be too much for me. Mommy’s just tired. It’s not you.” I hugged him hard, trying to squeeze that thought out of him because I know what that feels like to feel like you’re too much. And it killed me that I, in my exasperation, had created that feeling in my son.

He’s 17 years old now, almost 6 ft tall and he can install a dishwasher for me now. The years fly by, but then he learned he was too much.

And you may have too, by a sigh, a moan, a criticism from your mom or your friends or your spouse. We sometimes feel that our feelings are too big, our emotions can’t be held, that there is no space for all of who we are with the people we love.

I want to offer hope and encouragement to anyone who may be feeling like things would be better if they were a different person. If they were quieter, or louder. If they talked more or less if they got in front of people more or stayed behind the scenes instead.

I want you to sit and think for a second about what your too-muchness has allowed you to do?

I am a risk-taker. I left my family and moved across the country to marry the man I loved at 19 years old. I have stood on stages to share my words, with fear gripping my insides, I have bungee jumped and skydived and scuba dived. I have put my hand out for a shake when I knew it would not be reciprocated. I have dared to ask for what I wanted. And I have said no to an unhealthy marriage.

How To Own Your Extra When You Feel Like Too Much

The reality of my too muchness is that not everyone will like me and that has been hard to deal with. I want to be liked. Who doesn’t? But I can’t sacrifice myself to be liked by you.

And I know that along with my wins, I will make huge mistakes as I take big risks and that’s a super hard pill to swallow. But there are more poisonous pills and that is trying to be who I am not.

Because without my too-muchness, I would never have experienced the thrill of accomplishment, the depth of love and the maturity as I stretch myself to my limits.

I feel deep in all the ways, meaning my anger has just as fast a trigger as my joy and my sadness. My love runs deep and hard and sometimes it’s too much, even for me.

So, yes, you be you, too much and a lot. And keep showing up, my friend in all your glory.

You may look at that lane beside you with the quiet, unassuming girl who seems happy as a peach and think, I wish I could be smaller, easier, smoother, less rough, less dramatic, less loud and big.

But you are wasting time trying to fit in the wrong container. What you have to bend, break or shave off in order to fit is the very best of you. The world would be less if it could not be blessed by the uniqueness of you if you hid in your shell. And then someone else would shine.

And for those who would tell you otherwise, who seek to shush you, to dim your light and mold you to their liking, who say you’re too intense, too outspoken, too much, you tell them: Too much is just the right amount.

You can own your extra by naming your feelings, not blindly following them or pushing them down. And Sometimes they may feel overwhelming, especially if you aren’t used to owning them. Those who feel strongly, often lead by emotion when they are less mature.

If you are going to lead by emotion, Seek to know them well and understand yourself well, even if others don’t. Knowing yourself well gives you a roadmap that tells you when to act through your emotions, when to walk through your emotions and when to sit with them.

How To Own Your Extra When You Feel Like Too Much

Here are three things to do now to Own Your Extra:

1. Speak up!

Even though you feel shaky in your knees and your tongue feels dry. Most people who’ve been told they’re too much have a passion for something and have words to share, but they’ve learned to silence themselves in exchange for acceptance. Say words out loud until you get your voice back. And it WILL come back because it was never gone in the first place, just buried by shame and a desire to be liked.

2. Release relationships where you can’t be real or refuse to show up as anyone else and let the chips fall where they may. This isn’t a license to be cruel or mean, but to simply be your best version of you.

I know you’ve heard this before, but the people who are meant for you will love you. The people who love you will still love you and those who aren’t are inconsequential to your life -so let’s not give them the head space.

3. Find your people. They are out there.

If you like researching and writing about pink turtles of the rainforest and you feel like no one gets you, find your people. The internet is vast and they are out there. They will get you and remind you that weird is relative.

And last, I will leave you with an excerpt of a letter written by Prahtibha A.:

A letter to those who feel like too much.

But you forget, dear one, that you also love the hardest and the deepest. You would fight the longest for the things you believe in and the people you care about. You have the resilience to persist and hope long after the rest of the crowd has given up and gone home.

You champion the causes that need a voice, you push for the changes that need to be made. You won’t sit down or shut up or be put in your place when what you care about and believe in is on the line. You are brave enough to stand up and speak out when the rest of the world is staying silent.

You may always be too much for the people who are complacent and meek.

But you will never be too much for the fierce ones. The ones who have come alive.

You will never be too much for the people whose fires burn as brightly as yours does, whose zest and vitality complement your own.

You will never be too much for the people who seek to experience all that life has to offer and to live it fully – with arms and spirits wide open, ready to embrace whatever comes their way.

You will always be exactly right – exactly as you are and should be – for the people whose hearts beat the way yours does.

You, my friend are just the right amount.

  1. 12/12/21 i needed to here this today and also daily since about the age of 3 …

    dr shaw your patients are blessed to have found you!

    i will be sharing your website widely with my patients, colleagues, friends and fam :
    MANY THX!!!

  2. 12/12/21 i needed to hear this today and also daily since about the age of 3 …

    dr shaw your patients are blessed to have found you!

    i will be sharing your website widely with my patients, colleagues, friends and fam :
    MANY THX!!!

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