People find themselves perched on the comfy grey couch in my office for numerous reasons. Whether therapy be their idea or their families, it can take time for clients to relax into the ebb and flow of the therapeutic process the tranquil space invites. Despite the comfort the therapy room embodies, the internal storm battering the humans before me is a whole other ballgame.
Thematically, I’ve noticed a narrative that many perspectives, including my own, have been adopting. Let’s title this internal storyline as “I’m too much”.
From the outside, it is relatively simple to identify the unhelpful thought patterns that ensue with this particular narrative. However, internally, it’s difficult to decipher up from down. We align our experiences with accents of being a burden, being too messy to be enough, and overall not having what it takes to reach our ideal fulfillment quota.
This has me thinking.
How much is too much? How do we form the narratives that we are “too much” or “not enough”? Who do we see ourselves as? Goldilocks?
Perhaps this internal plotline is tied to the generational trauma of experiencing shame for our humanness. If we really sit with our historical timeline, our humanness is something we’ve picked at meticulously. The Egyptians spent too much time preserving their dead, men shamed for expressing emotions, and women have been laboriously lectured about being too much for wanting more equality.
Phrases such as “smile for me”, “men don’t cry”, and “get over it” keep us stuck in the quicksand of “you are too human”.
The list of these targeted qualities of individual authenticity is endless.
What if I were to tell you that you had the choice of re-writing this suffocating narrative? What if after all this time devoted to outrunning the labels of burden, you were actually most aligned with the bowl of porridge that was “just right”?
Because you are just right.
Feeling deeply and authentically comes with the territory of humanness. If it weren’t for our experiences of emotion, we would hardly make it out of infanthood. Emotionality is the mother-tongue of our collective whole. Universally, our nonverbals convey similar messages. Smiles communicate needs being met and connection. Furrowed brows communicate unmet needs and misunderstandings. Tears communicate pain. If it weren’t for our abilities to feel deeply, we would cease to exist.
There is no such thing as being too human. Your feelings are just as valid as a songbird’s melody. Your experiences are as real as the changing of seasons, and the flowing patterns of fauna that rely on the seasonal shifts. The generations that were silenced by the insecurities of those in power have subconsciously passed down their survival techniques, and I give them my thanks. Our ancestors did the best they could with the tools they had. However, their survival tools do not serve us anymore, and for that I am grateful.
This month highlights the necessity to approach mental health as we do physical health. It is intimidating that the brain is the one organ we still see as a mystery. Humans don’t like unknowns. It brings out the survivalist in us. Yet, here I am, wanting to shed kindness and compassion on the unknown complexities of our thoughtful perplexities, verses cowering in fear which leads to undermining the very core of what makes us human. Sure, our autonomy creates the outer exterior of being a person, however it’s really the inner experiences of our minds that color what it means to be human.
I challenge you to dip deep into your courage and embrace the uniqueness of you. Just as Zebras don’t feel shame for their individual pattern of stripes, we can break out of our generational patterns of shame tied to our own individuality. Lead by example, and those who matter will fall in step with you. It takes guts to be a leader in advocacy. Feel deeply, my friends. Validate your experiences. Cry, laugh, and connect authentically.
You are, and never will be a burden to those who matter.