Parenting and upbringing play a greater role on adulthood than I realized. Whether our childhoods were traumatic or ideal, personal development is mostly unpacking the behaviors and mindsets learned when young. For me, a girl from an authoritative Christian household, my journey consists mostly of finding my individuality. Growing up has been separating what I want, feel and believe from what’s expected of me.
For decades, my behaviors and thoughts have been guided by what was socially acceptable for my church, family or friend group. Because acting against the established guidelines was deemed deplorable, I internalized everyone’s acceptance of my behaviors and lived life based on the approval of others. Subconsciously, I equated my worth with their praise. I thought my value could be earned.
When one’s value is connected to an outside source, limitations, insecurities, and fears are bound to surface.
Having internalized this unhealthy value system, I found myself unable to make a decision without running it by someone, always questioning if my work was good enough, and never sharing my true feelings out of fear of coming across too emotional. I shrunk myself into the vision others had of me to the point that I’m still learning how to formulate my own opinions and identify my preferences. My view and value of self are being rewired.
I realized my growth in this area in a Sunday morning conversation with my cousin. We were discussing a guy I’m interested in when I shared something I want to say to him since he's already expressed his attraction to me. In a well-meaning way she cautioned me about my word choice because it might come across “too interested.” Having already made up my mind about this, I told her if he’s turned off by the words I use, then he isn’t the one. Six months ago, I probably wouldn’t have felt that way.
People who really love you will learn to adjust their expectations and accept you for who you are.
2018 has taught me that people who think you are “too much” of anything, are simply fitting you into their box of appropriateness, and that's not where you belong. If you have to alter your personality to fit into someone’s group, that’s not the group for you. People who really love you will learn to adjust their expectations and accept you for who you are.
I didn’t always think like this, and I’m still very much a work in progress, but I’m getting comfortable enough in my own skin, to cut to the chase. From what I have gathered so far, I love to laugh, I’m extremely expressive, I have a very particular taste in music and movies, I don’t enjoy being out late, and I have a two-hour limit for most social interactions. My preferences may be too loud, too boring, or too social for some, but I’m taking a piece from Luther Vandross’ song and being unapologetic about my love. I'm choosing to love me just as I am. Who you are is “never too much, never too much, never too much, never too much” for those who matter.