I heard it again today. A woman leaned over to me and whispered, “You’re too quiet.” I had tried to interject a thought during a discussion, but the group leader who was leading the discussion moved on without hearing my comment.
I want to make it clear that the leader and woman didn’t mean any harm, and I didn’t take offense.
When I heard, “You’re too quiet,” I physically shook my head “no” and I was honestly surprised to find myself refuting her words with my head shaking back and forth. My body had responded before my brain knew what was happening.
The next thought I had was to see the humor in hearing these exact words today when I knew I was writing this Write 31 Days Series.
And then my next thought was that I realized I wasn’t disagreeing that I was not quiet, I was disagreeing that I’m too quiet.
That little word — too — changes so much.
I’ve heard it all my life, and I know the words were often spoke to fill awkward silence. I can’t know the intention of the words, but I know the message my heart received every time I heard them.
I heard, you should change because the way you are is wrong.
I am quiet. If you met me in person and then had to try to describe me to someone else, I think you would probably use the word “quiet” in your description. I know I could not change this fact about myself if I tried.
The other thought I had as I was shaking my head “no” this morning was, what I’m hearing does not mean that something is wrong with me.
As I’ve worked hard to fight negative self-talk this year, I’ve learned that the other side of this spiritual battle is liking myself by embracing the exceptional way God made me.
Embracing this quality, quietness, in myself was a fight because I didn’t know how to see the positive attributes around my quietness when I had focused on the wrongness of my quietness for so long.
Here’s what I learned to appreciate about my quietness. I know my quiet allows my soul to dig deep, ask difficult questions without fear, observe my world, and notice the other quiet humans who often go unnoticed.
I’m not sure I would choose quietness if I could change myself because outspokenness is applauded in our culture, but loving myself requires I appreciate this quality.
What quality to you struggle to appreciate about yourself and what does that attribute allow you to accomplish in life?
Here’s a song for you today. I hope I didn’t shake my head this crazy this morning. Ha!