Feeling Too Much
Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel constantly shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a raindrop, a teakettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all–look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love. -Zooey Deschanel
Today: an walk in the wind, gold sprinkles on a cookie, butterfly kisses, an over sized floral bow, tiny footsteps upstairs, two dutch braids, creativity on a computer sheet of paper.
Yesterday: a nearby farm, a picnic blanket under a tree, a bird talking to everyone, sparkly fingernails, thrift store shopping, sweat pants, blaring country music.
Noticing and feeling everything.
Society favors extroverts. Job interviewers want their future employees to be social, good with people, friendly and likable. Understandably, many introverts feel a few steps behind.
I am an extrovert in every sense of the word. Let me tell you everything. Let me give you my heart and my thoughts and my observations and my days and my moments. I am yours, whoever you are. Despite the favoring of “my kind” of people, there is one caveat–it seems that I feel too much.
As much as society favors extroverts, it encourages a type of communication different from the one that comes naturally to me. People are more often careful and guarded and reactive, because people compete with people who compete with other people who compete with themselves. A never-ending competition of appearances advocates for a certain type of communication; a cautious one. And if I open up and listen like I always do, time after time I feel that I feel too much, that my heart is too big and guides my decisions more than it should.
There are many people like me. After asking many friends, I have discovered that even people who are not exactly extroverts feel that they feel too much. The whole world feels quieted.
And in the middle of this world, I am vulnerable most of the day to most everyone I meet. I bubble up in every conversation. I crave connections and I feel it deeply when they are strengthened or broken. In the middle of this careful world, it would be probably be easier to shut it off and shut down, to close my mouth and heart. It would probably be easier to lay the vulnerability which I experience daily in many forms down to rest. The vulnerability sometimes gets exhausting.
When you feel too much by today’s standard, people sometimes crush it. But here’s the thing that I have learned about sacrificing vulnerability: it comes with a steep cost. Being careful does not allow me to connect with people in the ways that I love, and by sacrificing who I am, I lose parts of me that are irreplaceable, authentically me.
So if you are like me, an extrovert or someone who “feels too much,” here is some free advice from someone who has learned:
Feel it anyways.
If someone hurts you and blames you from their distance from people, feel it anyways. Allow yourself to be hurt without blaming.
Allow yourself to be human. Look at what others may call “weakness” as an incredible opportunity to empathize and validate others. Look at every feeling as a buy into humanity.
For those of you who feel for others too deeply: I know that it hurts, because you cannot fix the world. Feel it anyways; allow yourself to hurt for others, and then you will remember to be kinder and to try harder to be better. The pain is productive–feel it.
When you get too excited about successes, let yourself feel joy. I often protect myself from this one in order to prepare for potential future failures. Feel joy.
Feel sadness when you need to. Take a day or a week or a month to mourn.
Don’t let people silence you by telling you that emotion is weakness; it isn’t; it is incredible strength that makes you uniquely, beautifully connected. Feel as deeply as you can, and cherish the moments that it lends you.