On Monday, while I was riding along with Christine D’Ercole on the Peloton app, I was inspired. I am not always inspired by mantras while exercising. I enjoy D’Ercole’s classes because they tend to involve a lot of power (although I ride standing up more than she suggests) for a good chunk of time. She plays good music (today was New Wave with a bit of Goth), and I can relate to her, as a woman close to my age.
D’Ercole is also know for her mantra “I Am I Can I Will I Do”. I like this one and I will get back to it. Mainly, I’d like to talk about what she uttered today, “Maybe whatever you are too much of, is your best fucking thing?”
During the ride, she said, something to the effect of “Have you ever been told you are too (loud, quiet, big, small, etc.)…what if that is the thing that makes you special (I’m paraphrasing)?”
When I followed her on Insta after class, I saw her repeat in her stories “Maybe whatever you are too much of, is your best fucking thing?”
I have wondered this for awhile. I realized some time ago, that often labels people give others, aren’t necessarily bad things. If you are told you are opinionated, what does that mean? That you have a different opinion than others? Have you ever heard someone parroting what others are saying in a group, being accused of being “opinionated”? Probably not. It’s mostly used when someone says something that others in the group have not already said. It doesn’t matter if the group is loud, expressive, dominating, and you say it quietly, thoughtfully, carefully. If your opinion differs, it may be considered “-ated”.
I was often told, when I was younger, that I was too opinionated. It was mostly on a personal level. From people like my ex-brother-in-law, who would say this when he was spouting off his toxic bro comments and I had the nerve to respond.
I have been told this at other personal events when I listen to a number of people say things that I don’t agree with and ignore it and then, when it seems like the right opportunity, or I can’t take it anymore, I try to interject with some of my beliefs. It doesn’t matter how rational or informed my opinion is, often in response to uninformed hyperbole, but in certain situations, I’m cast as the one being “too political”.
Another part of my personality is that I really prefer to avoid confrontation. I am the person that will pay an extra fee that I shouldn’t, rather than call a customer service line, if I think it will be a stressful call (see internet service providers). So, for a long time, I took this criticism to heart and kept some of my thoughts to myself in many circumstances. Unless I was in a very safe setting, with like-minded people. I stifled myself.
Some of my learnings in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) space have helped me understand that if people are in the 20% of those who aren’t interested in what you are saying, you aren’t going to reach them anyway, and no need to raise your heart rate in those cases. But, there are 20% who are very interested. And, 60% who are interesting in listening, even if they are not ready to hear you. It’s worth sharing your thoughts with those people.
In a previous workplace, I would be asked to fill in the gaps in meetings, told this is exactly what was needed, and then told later on, that I should cut back on that a bit. Often, for the sake of quieter men in the meetings, who really weren’t interested in saying anything. I’ve also learned that this is not uncommon for women in the workplace.
I don’t know if it’s age or I’m increasingly surrounded by people who are interested, but lately, I share what is meaningful to me. I’m finding out that others appreciate it. People are seeking me out in ways that show me I have relational, coaching, facilitating skills that are derived from parts of my personality that have sometimes been described in a negative way.
Things that I’ve often been told I’m too much of – too much of a bleeding heart, too opinionated, too concerned about “being politically correct” ARE proving to be my strong point. I’ve been asked to do more and more work in DEI. I am being asked to help put together lunch and learns on things such as “Why Representation Matters” in relation to the “Boys’ Club”. Part of me wonders when I will be asked to cut back. To be less. But for now I love it. I am starting to believe that, perhaps, I am not “too much”.
Recently, I asked FIFI bloggers what they think of as “self care” that’s not related to “fixing something” about themselves. I was inspired by an episode of Shrill. I may get more into this and share some of their thoughts in a later post. For now, part of self care for me is to stop worrying if I’m too much. If others think I’m too much. If I think about these things too much. Post too much. Am I too introspective? Too opinionated? Too concerned with doing things that are meaningful to me? Do I have the right to talk about certain things, based on my role, my education, my age, my demographic? I need to tell myself I am just enough of me. Let the chips fall where they may. People who appreciate what I am “too much of” will get it. Those are the people I want to reach.
Going back to D’Ercole’s mantra “I Am I Can I Will I Do”, as much as I enjoy doing some of the things I’m trying out (public speaking), I still have some nerves to contend with. And entrenched Imposter’s Syndrome beliefs that I need to work on. In addition to trying to think of people who have inspired me, in order to up my confidence, when I’m feeling nervous, I do like the idea of trying to believe “I Am I Can I Will I Do”.
See, some mantras, heard while enjoying a virtual spin class, can truly be inspiring!
What are you “too much” of? Are they are your super power? Go use your super power!