You Are Not “Too Much” to Be Loved


“If
you
always
feel
like
you’re
too
much
or
too
little,
maybe
you’re
adding
yourself
to
the
wrong
recipe.”


~Sophia
Joan
Short

There
is
an
art
to
shrinking
yourself.

As
a
young
girl,
I
was
painfully
earnest.
I
hadn’t
learned
the
craft
of
nonchalance
that
was
as
much
a
requirement
for
being
liked
as
name-brand
clothes
and
Livestrong
wristbands.
One
day,
as
I
chattered
excitedly
on
the
school
bus
home,
my
seat-mate
scolded
me:
“Hailey.
Calm
down.
You’re
so
annoying.”

This
is
how
I
learned
that
my
enthusiasm
made
me
unlikable.

At
home,
short
tempers
led
to
angry
arguments.
After
conflicts,
my
dad
would
withdraw
his
love
in
a
stormy
silent
treatment⁠
until
I
cleared
the
air—or
until
we
both
agreed
to
pretend
that
nothing
ever
happened.
I
learned
the
art
of
walking
on
eggshells.
When
I
was
fifteen,
Dad
and
I
got
into
an
argument
and
didn’t
speak
for
days.
We
orbited
around
each
other
like
silent
planets
in
a
lonely
solar
system.

This
is
how
I
learned
that
my
anger
made
me
unlovable.

Years
later,
my
first
adult
relationship
began
to
unravel.
I
felt
the
pain
of
our
withering
love
acutely.
My
then-partner
withdrew
further
into
himself
with
every
argument,
every
tear,
every
dissonance.
The
more
I
tried
to
repair
our
broken
love,
the
more
distant
he
became.


This
is
how
I
learned
that
my
needs
would
push
away
the
people
I
loved
the
most.

Where
did
you
learn
that
you
were
too
much?

Were
you
bullied
at
school?
Mistreated
at
home?

Did
your
caregivers
say
you
were
too
loud,
too
energetic,
too
difficult?
Did
they
neglect
your
interests,
deny
your
feelings,
or
punish
your
anger?

Did
your
lovers
withdraw
their
affection
when
you
expressed
your
true
feelings?
Did
they
balk
at
your
trauma?
Did
they
hold
you
at
arms’
length?

These
experiences
leave
us
with
a
resounding
mantra:


I
am
too
much. 


I
am
too
much. 


I
am
too
much.

But
you
are
not.
Here’s
why.

The
Beauty
of
“Too
Much”

Those
of
us
who
give
ourselves
permission
to
feel
deeply
give
ourselves
the
gift
of
fully
participating
in
this
world.

We
embrace
the
vast
palette
of
emotion
that
living
demands.
We
experience
the
valleys
of
loss,
the
black
pain
of
grief,
and
the
jagged
edges
of
trauma.
We
also
experience
the
searing
catharsis
of
inspiration,
the
rich
colors
of
joy,
and
the
deep,
calm
ocean
of
love.

Because
we
feel
so
richly,
our
hearts
are
calm
harbors
where
others’
pain
can
seek
refuge.
We
are
empathetic
and
expansive,
and
when
we
say,
“I
hear
you,
I’ve
been
there,”
we
really
mean
it.

We
do
the
hard
labor
of
living,
of
feeling,
every
day.
We
have
built
within
ourselves
a
powerful
infrastructure
for
empathizing,
connecting,
and
relating.
This
gives
us
a
profound
capacity
to
connect
with
others
⁠—
others
who
are
capable
of
meeting
us
there.

It’s
Not
About
You

Every
time
someone
implies
that
you
are
“too
much,”
they
express
their
own
limitations.

Emotional
intensity
scares
those
who
have
never
learned
to
access
their
own
emotions.
If
they
do
not
know
how
to
feel
their
own
pain,
sadness,
or
joy,
they
will
be
incapable
of
handling
it
in
others.

What
they
say
is:

  • “You’re
    being
    too
    dramatic.”
  • “Do
    we
    always
    need
    to
    talk
    about
    our
    feelings?”
  • “Everything’s
    fine.
    Why
    are
    you
    so
    upset?”
  • “I
    can’t
    do
    this.”

What
they
are

really

saying
is:

  • “I
    am
    afraid
    of
    your
    pain
    because
    I
    do
    not
    allow
    myself
    to
    feel
    my
    own.”
  • “I
    am
    afraid
    of
    your
    vulnerability
    because
    I
    never
    learned
    how
    to
    be
    vulnerable.”
  • “I
    do
    not
    have
    the
    tools
    to
    handle
    conflict,
    so
    I
    will
    avoid
    it.”
  • “I
    am
    afraid
    of
    failing
    because
    I
    don’t
    know
    how
    to
    take
    care
    of
    you.”

These
folks
have
spent
a
lifetime
erecting
and
fortifying
walls
to
keep
intense
emotions
out.
They
may
have
learned
to
do
this
as
a
coping
skill.
They
may
have
been
taught
to
by
their
caregivers.
Regardless,
as
a
result,
they
may
push
you
away,
withdraw,
retreat,
shame,
criticize,
or
blame—anything
to
keep
their
walls
intact.

Their
judgments
are
a
reflection
of
their
own
limitations,
not
a
reflection
of
you.
This
does
not
justify
the
ways
they’ve
shamed
you,
but
it
may
help
you
feel
compassion
for
the
fearful
manner
in
which
they’ve
lived.

Alongside
this
compassion,
you
also
have
a
choice.

Will
you
choose
to
shrink
yourself
to
fit
behind
their
stifling
walls?

Or
will
you
seek
relationships
with
folks
who
embrace
your
capacity
for
feeling
widely—ugly
cries
and
happiness
and
all?

A
Gateway
to
Wholeness

Despite
my
many
efforts
to
become
invisible,
there
was
a
woman
within
me
who
had
fierce
truths
to
speak,
whose
heart
felt
crushing
pain
and
wild
joy
in
equal
measure.
Repressing
my
true
self
was
like
trying
to
outrun
the
morning
sun.

I
wanted
to
be
seen
in
all
my
wholeness,
but
I
was
terrified
of
being
abandoned
as
I’d
been
before.
I
needed
to
learn—not
through
affirmations
and
visioning,
but
through
action
and
supportive
relationships
with
others—that
I
could
be
loved
for
who
I
was.

And
so,
I
began
to
practice.
I
noticed
which
friends
listened
when
I
spoke.
I
noticed
who
validated
my
feelings
and
who
glossed
over
them
en
route
to
their
own
stories.
I
noticed
who
welcomed
me
with
open
arms,
even
if
I
was
feeling
blue,
tired,
or
anxious.

Romantically,
I
sought
partners
who
acknowledged
my
needs
instead
of
scoffing
at
them.
Words
like
“dramatic”
and
“hysterical”
became
red
flags
I
heeded
without
exception.

I
sought
partners
who
were
forthright
about
their
feelings
for
me—who
matched
my
desire
for
verbal
affirmations,
physical
touch,
and
time
spent
together.
I
still
remember
the
shock
I
felt
when
I
realized
that
there
were
lovers
who
wanted

more

time
with
me,

more

intimacy,

more

depth,
instead
of
less.

Over
time,
my
relationships
became
the
safe
containers
within
which
I
practiced
wholeness.
Qualities
I
forgot
I’d
had,
like
humor,
confidence,
and
expertise,
blossomed
in
these
new,
safe
ecosystems.

Now
that
I’ve
experienced
the
freedom
of
others’
acceptance,
I
have
zero
interest
in
pursuing
relationships
with
folks
who
would
deem
me
“too
much.”
As
the
saying
goes:

“You
will
be
too
much
for
some
people.
Those
are
not
your
people.” 

Learning
to
embrace
my
wholeness
is
a
daily
practice.
Some
days
are
harder
than
others.

When
I’m
feeling
anxious
and
seek
comfort
from
my
partner,
sometimes
a
niggling
voice
whispers
that
he
will
leave
me.

When
I
speak
at
length
about
a
new
endeavor,
I
occasionally
fear
that
I’m
boring
my
audience.

When
I
express
grievances
in
my
relationships,
I
cringe
at
the
prospect
that
the
recipient
could
throw
up
her
hands
and
declare
me
“too
much
work.”

Every
time
I
feel
these
fears
and
act
anyway,
I
honor
my
innermost
self.
I
am
teaching
myself—slowly,
diligently,
patiently—that
I
am
worthy
of
expression
and
worthy
of
love.
It
gets
a
little
bit
easier
every
day.

About

Hailey
Magee

Hailey
Magee
is
a
Certified
Life
Coach
who
helps
individuals
conquer
the
people-pleasing
pattern,
set
empowered
boundaries,
and
master
the
art
of
speaking
their
truth.

Sign
up for
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consultation
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how
coaching
can
guide
you
to
live
from
a
place
of
strength,
authenticity,
and
inner
peace.
You
can
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Hailey
on Facebook
and Instagram
or
visit
her
website, www.haileymagee.com.

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