For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:
I’ve always centered others over myself.
I was too loud and playful for that job. I was too deep and emotional for that relationship. I was too thin for that shirt. I was too sensitive for that joke.
The other person—or other thing—was right. And, because I didn’t fit it, I was wrong. I couldn’t contort myself and squeeze into that outfit or that relationship. I was “too much” or “not enough.”
And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Believe me, I tried. I tried so hard to tone down my “too much”-ness and prove myself against the “not enough”-ness and make myself fit into those boxes as best I could.
But, truth be told, it was never really about me. Because I had internalized all of those stories that I was “too sensitive” and “too emotional” for so long that I believed I was the wrong one.
On some subtle, subconscious level, I continued to position the people and things in my life as right. And myself as wrong.
I centered others over myself.
And it only made me feel worse about myself. I told myself I was too thin or too sensitive. That my nose was too big. Or my voice was too loud.
I started believing that if I could just change these attributes slightly—if I could be a little bit of a different person—maybe then I could be worthy and powerful and happy.
The irony, of course, is that all of those “too much” and “not enough” things were my unique genius—my very keys to the life I wanted. The pathway to success and happiness and power and everything I thought I needed to change to get.
I didn’t need to become someone else; I needed to become more of myself. To live from the place of my genius.
I was the best friend. I did everything for everyone. The ultimate giver. Because, on some level, I think I believed that I could help my way to being worthy. If I was helpful and needed by others, then surely I mattered.
And it was way easier to focus on their lives—the ones who were “right”—than to deal with the shameful feelings I felt of my own “wrongness.”
So I centered others over myself.
In the age of social media, online dating, and mass-produced clothing, it feels a little bit like we’re always being measured against some standard. And that idea that we’re somehow “too much” or “not enough” is constantly reinforced.
A few hundred years ago, if I wanted a shirt, I didn’t go to the store to see if I could fit into them. I’d go to a tailor and have a shirt made to fit my body. I would be centered. I’d be right. And what I put on would have to fit me.
Today, it seems like there are endless triggers telling us we’re “too much” or “not enough,” though. We can be “too old” or “too short” for that date before they even meet us. We can be “too intense” or “too deep” for online followers.
And we all know there are endless ways we can feel “too much” or “not enough” when it comes to our bodies and our clothing.
It’s pretty hard to feel like a genius when the world continuously tells you that you’re wrong in subtle and overt ways all throughout the day.
So I centered others over myself.
I’d drop work when someone needed me. I’d wake up and check my phone before taking a moment for myself. I’d blame and shame myself whenever something went wrong. I’d assume I was “overreacting” or “being too sensitive” when I got upset.
My default was to assume I was in the wrong. Because I had done that my entire life.
And it wasn’t until I began to realize that I was a genius—that I had a genius inside of me—that things really began to change. That I began to give myself permission to feel whatever I felt without judgment or explanation. That I began to give myself permission to have thoughts, opinions, ways of being that just didn’t jive with everyone.
Look, we wouldn’t try to pour a gallon of water into a tiny little cup and then scream at the water for being “too much” when it spilled all over the floor. We’d get a bigger pot.
If the cup couldn’t contain the water, that says nothing about the water and everything about the container we’re trying to force it into.
If we’re “too much” or “not enough” for a shirt, it’s the wrong shirt for us. We’re not wrong. We’re geniuses. And we can center our own experience.
We’re entitled to our own experience. We’re entitled to our own emotions. Regardless of how “rational” it seems to other people.
The most liberating realization I’ve ever had is that I’m a genius. That I’m right. And someone out there—many someones, in fact—love me exactly as I am.
My body is right, and there are designers out there who love and honor my body. And, if I haven’t found them, you better believe I’m going to keep looking or maybe even become one myself. Because my body is right.
My intensity and passion and loudness and goofiness are all right, and there are people out there who want exactly what I’ve got. And, if it’s not for everyone, that’s great. I’ll keep looking, keep putting myself out there, until I find my people.
But what I’m absolutely not going to do is I’m not going to change who I am and try to contort myself to fit into a box that doesn’t fit me.
That gallon of water doesn’t have to try to squeeze itself into that tiny cup. Or shame itself when it can’t fit. It knows that there are many, many containers out there that can hold it.
We’re conditioned to settle all the time. To settle for boxes that can’t really fit us. Ones that we have to squeeze into. And to blame ourselves when it doesn’t work out or it doesn’t fit.
You are a genius. All of the things that you believe are “too much” or “not enough” about you are, in fact, your genius.
You are right. You are perfect. And you are at the center of your own experience.
Our only job is to hold onto that genius with absolute conviction and find the people, places, situations, clothing, relationships, and jobs that can fit us. The ones that help us shine that genius forth.
Questions for Reflection:
*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:
Have you ever shamed yourself because it didn’t fit?
— Have you ever felt ashamed or bad about yourself because something didn’t fit in your life? Maybe you weren’t a fit for a job, or an outfit didn’t fit right, or a relationship didn’t work out.
— Have you ever been told that you’re “too much” or “not enough” for a situation? Have you ever told yourself that you’re “too much” or “not enough”? Have you ever tried to tone yourself down or prove yourself just to fit in?
— What if you’re actually a genius and you’re not wrong at all? What if you can choose to honor your own experience first, knowing that everything you are and feel is right? What if centering yourself is the only way to share your genius with the world?