It happens every time.
I share something especially transparent – on social, on the podcast, or in this newsletter – and when I hit publish, I wonder, “Is that too dark? Too raw? Too much?”
I go over each word in my mind, feeling what Brené Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover” coming on. I worry that people will judge me and think less of me, that they’ll see me as incompetent, a downer, a little nuts, too intense, or wheeeew, kind of a mess. I wait for a response – something, anything!
It happened during the Reschool Yourself project when I wrote about how overwhelmed and stuck I felt. It happened just this past week, when I posted on Instagram about having a Wobble Day. Quoting my horrendously abusive inner critic and talking about going to therapy – not sometime in my distant and less enlightened past, but now – triggered my anxiety about what people would think.
But like they do every time, kind and compassionate responses drifted in from friends and strangers, variations on:
“I really needed to hear this today.”
“I know exactly what you mean.”
In other words, I heard what Elizabeth Gilbert describes as “a chorus of voices saying, ‘me too, me too.’”
A friend asked me for the name of my therapist, and I thought, "If being honest can result in even one person loving herself more, any angst I feel about revealing too much is worth it."
There still may be people out there who think, “Whoa, Nelly. That’s a lot. She's a lot.” And that’s okay. As Glennon Doyle says, “You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people.”
She goes on: “Sweetie, maybe it's not you, maybe it's them. There are people for whom your too much will be exactly enough. Don't become less. Find those who want more.”
So let’s be more. More authentic, more fully and honestly ourselves in all of our complexity – at home, at work, with friends, and on social media. Let’s free each other of the secret burdens we carry alone by saying, “Hey, it’s not just you. I’m right there with you.”