I was Jedi mind tricked into thinking I was too emotional.
Not only that, but I’ve also been told I’m too quiet as well as too loud. It seems I’m always too much of something, never enough of anything.
Can you relate?
Frankly, it’s friggin exhausting trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations for what I am. I am done shrinking myself so that other’s feel more comfortable when all I’m trying to do is be who I am.
Maybe I am being too emotional. But, maybe I’m not too emotional. Maybe you’re not emotional enough or the situation doesn’t evoke emotion in you or there’s something in our past that makes us react differently or as a woman I’ve been given permission from society to be able to express my emotion or maybe society has told us that I’m the emotional one and there’s something wrong with me.
So many possibilities.
(As an aside: I wonder if men ever get the “too emotional” talk. Like, have you ever heard someone tell a man, “You’re being too emotional bro. Just calm down, okay?” Maybe you have. But I haven’t.)
So what do you do when someone says that you’re being too emotional?
I’m a big believer in self-reflection and have come up with the following list of questions for that very moment:
- Does it matter to you that they think you’re too emotional? – If you answer no to this, the rest of the questions don’t really matter.
- Who is saying it to you? (Your boss? A co-worker? A sibling/parent? Your significant other?)
- Do they have your best interest at heart? – If you answer no to this, the rest of the questions really don’t matter.
- Are they saying it because the topic is something where a cooler head would be best (e.g., getting upset because the refrigerator was left slightly open)?
- What’s the situation? (Are you at work? In a coffee shop catching up with friends? A support group? Are you trying to be vulnerable with your partner?)
- Is the topic important to you?
- Is the statement shaming to you? Does it make you feel worthless? If so, why?
- Do you think the situation can be approached with less emotion? If so, what can you do? Are there any techniques that can help? (Will walking away help? Taking a deep breath? Tabling the discussion until a later time?)
- Do you feel like you’re being too emotional in this situation? Where is that coming from?
- If not, why do you think they said it? (Are they uncomfortable with your tears? Raised voiced? Are they trying to stop the conversation? Make you look less credible? Maybe their emotions have been triggered?)
So, let’s say that you actually care about your significant other’s opinion and you know they have your best interest at heart. You are currently in the bedroom trying to tell them how you feel about the comment they made earlier about your weight. You felt it was insensitive and are trying to be open and vulnerable with them. Body image is a shame trigger for you; you suffered from body weight issues in the past but are now coming to a place where you honor your body instead of trying to destroy it.
Because of all this, you try to hold back the tears, but this topic is important to you and you can’t help but feel the emotion as your eyes well up with tears. And then BAM! You’re being told that you’re too emotional. You’ve been in this place before, being told you have too much emotion when attempting to tell someone how you feel. You don’t think that you are being too emotional because this level of vulnerability is new for you; this is you being brave. You want to continue to open up but now you’re annoyed because they interrupted you in the middle of you telling them something that is important to you.
You’ve assessed the situation and know this is not you being “too emotional.” So maybe you say something like, “No, I’m not being too emotional about this because my body image is an emotional subject for me. I don’t want to hold back how I feel from you but am now feeling shamed just because a natural human body fluid is now falling from my eyes. And none of this changes the fact that the comment you made earlier made me feel … .” And just continue the conversation, tears and all. Hopefully, your partner will understand and you can move forward together.
The important thing is that you are finding out for yourself who you are. If someone you trust and respect tells you that you’re too ________, don’t take their word for it but don’t blow it off if you feel it gives you a chance to reflect on your life. At the end of the day, you may still disagree with their assessment of you, but you will also be closer to finding your voice.
As women, we have to move through the world assertive at work (but not too assertive) and nurturing at home. It can be frustrating trying to figure out who we are and our emotional responses are not things we can always control. But that doesn’t mean you’re being too emotional when a situation comes up and brings some emotion with it. It simply means you’re being human.
If someone can’t handle your muchness, then that’s on them. There are people out there who will love you and accept you as you are. There are people who won’t try to change you because they feel you should be someone different. The people who love you will want to see you grow and become the person you are meant to be AND will embrace what that looks like on your journey.
This week’s featured song is “Wild Heart’s Can’t be Broken” by P!nk: