Side Chat: “I’m not enough” vs. “I’m too much”

not enough

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We doubt there’s a person on earth (well, maybe excluding the sociopaths who walk among us) that doesn’t feel that they’re either “too much” or “not enough.”

You know what we’re talking about:

“You’re too quiet. You’re not interesting enough. You’re too weird. You’re too intense. You’re not attractive enough.”

We’ve all got a silent-but-insistent inner monologue that’s terrified we aren’t EXACTLY who we need to be in order to be liked, loved, and respected.

In this month’s Side Chat, we’re coming at this from opposite ends of the spectrum and meeting in the middle:

  • Kristen shares her experience with feeling “not enough.”
  • Rachel talks about how she’s always identified as “too much.”
  • We break down where this comes from and why all we do it.
  • And we get in to how to let this deep-seated fear go, as well as how we personally stopped buying in to those fears.

After you’ve listened, leave a comment below to let us know whether you resonate as “not enough” or “too much,” and what parts of this episode stuck with you the most.

FEELING CHRONICALLY BROKEN OR NOT ENOUGH?

It’s super sad to admit, but undoubtedly true that EVERYONE feels like they’re not enough or broken in some way. Seriously. If you think you’re alone in your feelings, it’s only because other people have been keeping quiet about their own insecurities.

But just because it’s normal to feel this way doesn’t mean it’s necessary. And the whole point of coaching is to help set you free of this type of crippling anxiety so that you can get clear on who you are and go after what you really want.

If that sounds like exactly what you need, then we should chat about 1-on-1 coaching!

Fill out the quick form on this page and we’ll talk it out.

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15 Comments // ADD COMMENT

15 comments

  • Danielle

    Today’s side chat had me feeling a lot of feelings! When you said “I can’t be myself and be loved and accepted or choosing to be myself and chance being rejected by everybody” I cried. It resonated so hard with what I’m feeling. I’m the person who in certain situations is just too much. Too much talking, too many opinions, trying to hard to help people, trying to hard to please. Other times, I’m so nervous to be in a crowd of people I just shut down, and then I’m too quiet, too bitchy, too closed offed. Finding a happy medium and loving myself feels like such a monumental task. Thanks for today’s podcast. I feel normalized.

    • Rachel East

      You’re so welcome, Danielle! Making people feel normal, and getting them to the point where they’re accepting of who they are, is why we do pretty much everything we do! 🙂 We’re so glad this episode gave you what you needed today.

  • shauna

    This may have been one of my favorite episodes. I definitely struggle with too much/not enough (literally, both at the same time) so maybe the idea that they are the same is a good thing. I identified strongly with both of your stories! I’ve always felt like the dumbest kid in the smart classes while simultaneously acting like a know it all because it was my given identity. I ALSO feel like I’m too loud (my easily identifiable laugh can be heard ‘round the block) and too obnoxious and too opinionated at times, therefore requiring a special breed of human to love me (although I do tend to somehow find those weirdos). I am simultaneously confident and outgoing and while shying away from putting myself in situations where I might be rejected or fail at. My biggest struggle is holding myself back from everything I *could do* out of a fear of TM/NE even tho I am often reassured by others of how qualified I am and yet I can’t ever seem to truly believe it. This is all pretty silly.

    • Rachel East

      Hey Shauna!

      It IS so silly. When you say it all outloud and look at it from an outside perspective, you see how crazy-making it is and how impossible it is to be the “perfect” balance between all of these things. The fact that you’ve attracted plenty of people who love you as you are is evidence enough that you’re totally golden as you are! 😉

  • Charise

    There is so much I can say about this topic, but I’ll try to condense as best as possible! Rachel has been my coach and has helped me see so much of my struggles stem from stuff that is not mine. I’m a baby baby boomer/gen x’er, and it’s never too late to figure this crap out!

    I’ve felt all my life that I’m not enough. I’m an INFJ and the reserved and quiet one–the one everyone comes to tell their stories and problems and who has repeatedly tried to please everyone by molding myself to what I think they want. Probably because, as a child, love was withheld to manipulate me into acting in a way that was wanted by another, so I adapted to win that love, even though I never felt like I did enough or was good enough. I was also conditioned to feel if I did for myself, talked about myself or was proud of myself, then I was being selfish or conceited. So then I spent a life searching for that love and validation by trying to please everyone, dumbing myself down, not drawing attention to myself, trying to be perfect in my endeavors, but not too good so that I don’t look like an overachiever, trying to avoid situations where I might fail (as that felt humiliating), yet never feeling like I was enough. And you’re right, it was exhausting and depressing! Something I’ve never openly talked about is how I spent 12 of my young adult years with anorexia and bulimia, trying to control my body so that I could be what I thought everyone else wanted. How can we spend our lives searching for validation by being disingenuous and hurting ourselves for the sake of others? Talking with Rachel, I was able to see all of these negative thoughts and feelings are like layers of other peoples crap stuck to me. Every day is an exercise, to try and peel away the layers and find who I really am at the core, but every day gets easier to move through the world that feels more authentic. I’m also finding my tribe–those people who love me for who I am, not who they want me to be. Sometimes that means alienating or distancing myself from family and former friends or risking rejection by being authentic, but it’s all been worth it.

    Thanks gals, for helping us all become the people we really are!

    • Kristen Walker

      Charise — Wow, it’s clear that you’ve come such a long way in recognizing your value and worth and believing that you ARE enough, just as you are. What a huge transformation! Like you said, it’s a daily exercise, but more than worth the effort.

      Isn’t it heartbreaking to look back at your younger self and see just how much she felt she had to prove her worth and her “enough-ness” to everyone else? I have no much empathy for that previous version of you that you described (and for previous versions of me, too). I’m so happy to hear that you feel more authentic and comfortable in your own skin than ever before, and it makes a WORLD of difference to have a tribe of people who see and love the REAL you.

      Thank you so much for sharing how this resonates with you! I know a lot of people will relate to your experience.

  • CHRISTINA

    This resonated with me so much today. I am currently being pushed out of my job (in a school) by administrators who seem to just not like me. They keep repeating that I’m “too timid” and “not confident enough” with nothing to back it up. I am a quiet person, but I do my job and relatively well in my opinion. I come in early, I leave late, I work from home 5+ hours a week but it’s true, I don’t take the time to have lunch with the teachers (I work through lunch and hate small talk). Even though I have received positive feedback from other administrators, coworkers, and parents I work with I cannot shake the feeling that I’m “not enough”. It is something I have struggled with all of my life, but this is the first time I’ve ever had others tell me I’m not good enough. I go back and forth between wanting to stand up for myself because I know that I know my stuff (but if I do I will definitely be let go) and half of me wants them to allow me to stay but still leave since I’m not happy in this place due to this behavior. It’s funny that in a school, the adults are bullying each other. I have so many loans from getting all the degrees I need to be in this position and now I feel trapped because I don’t want to be a “failure”. This is especially hard because it’s not my skills being evaluated here, it’s my personality. How can a relatively smart, goal-oriented, but introverted woman succeed?

    • Rachel East

      Hey Christina,

      This sucks! I’m so sorry you’re in this difficult position. The first idea that came to mind while I read your comment was for you to check out the book Quiet by Susan Cain (the really popular book about introverts). I know there are a lot of interesting facts and statistics in there–facts that you could make note of, and then share with the administrators. If I were in your shoes, I might sit them down and spit some truth at them! “You keep calling me timid and lacking in confidence, but here are some facts about what’s REALLY going on. I’m an introvert, and here’s what that means. It’s OK that you guys are more extroverted, but I’d like to create a work space where introverts feel comfortable to be themselves.” Curious how that idea resonates with you!

  • Amanda Michaelis

    So, I’m pretty sure I’m Rachel’s twin. I’ve been “too much” all my life. I’ve struggled with being “too much” all my life. I’m just now, at 47 1/2 years old figuring out that my too much is me. It is who I am. I’m accepting that. But, the comment about asking my friends what endears them to me is brilliant. I’m go text several of them right now. I’m guessing (I know you’re right) that what they will say is the very things that I always feel are too much…thanks for this episode and reminder! Xo

    • Rachel East

      Hello “too much twin!” 😉 I can’t wait to hear what your friends say about you! I think they’ll say something like what I would say: You’re vibrant and full of ideas and energy and have so much to share! You’re brimming with inspiration and you can move mountains when you want to. And that’s a really fun energy to be around! 🙂

  • Alison

    I listened to this episode twice with mixed emotion. I think I am actually “too much” masquerading as “not enough”. Is that possible and what are your thoughts on that?
    Thanks!

    • Rachel East

      Hey Alison,

      I think that’s absolutely possible! My first thought is that if you feel you’re too much, you may have reacted to that by jumping to the opposite extreme–So, being timid even though you don’t inherently feel that way; or dulling your natural brightness so that you don’t offend or upset anyone else. Also, “too much” and “not enough” are really the same thing! “Too loud” is the same as “not quiet enough,” so it’s not surprising that you’re feeling a mix of both. Hope this gives you a little more food for thought! 🙂

  • Ash

    Great topic girls, as you say, I think just about everyone can relate to this on some level! I identify as an introvert and resonated a lot with Kristen’s story about feeling not enough due to the fact I’m not super ‘out there’ or opinionated. However, I’m not shy, boring or timid either – BUT i sometimes get the impression that this is what people think of me. I’m wondering if either of you, especially Kristen, has had moments where someone has told you you are either too much or not enough, and how you have responded to that? And has this happened to you in a group setting? It makes me really frustrated when people develop an opinion about you before they properly know you… which is something I struggle with a bit! Interested in your thoughts and experiences 🙂

    • Kristen Walker

      Glad this one resonated with you, Ash! It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like people are making judgments about you without seeing the *real* you. And yes, I’ve had people tell me that I’m “too quiet” (which is dead wrong if you really get to know me), or “soooo nice” (which I always translated to mean “boring”), or some other version of “not enough,” and it used to REALLY get to me. Especially, like you mentioned, if other people are around — then I would feel especially ashamed and “broken.”

      But over time, I’ve stopped caring so much what strangers think of me. I’m not *totally* over my people-pleasing ways (although I’ve come a LONG way), but I do think I’ve pretty much gotten over it when it comes to strangers. So if I say/do something (or DON’T say/do something) and a bunch of strangers think I’m weird or dumb or whatever, who cares?? It doesn’t make me feel “not enough” anymore. I just recognize that they clearly aren’t my people, so I don’t take it personally.

      A big part of me finally feeling “enough” is that I’ve realized I’m just not the person who’s going to be the center of attention in a bigger group, and I’m OK with that. I used to judge myself for not being my normal chatty, fully expressed self around strangers or groups of people. But I’ve realized that being a bit quieter in a group IS authentic to me, so I don’t feel out-of-alignment because I’ve accepted and embraced that part of me. I’m energetically sensitive enough that being in big groups feels overstimulating to me, and I don’t feel the need to push myself to be the most fully expressed version of myself in those settings. That part of me is reserved for the people who have made it into my inner circle, and I think that’s OK.

  • Clarity on Fire

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