Do people ever tell you you’re ‘too much?’ Screw that! Your wedding is the perfect time to be 100% yourself, whatever that looks like.
From the moment I was born, I’ve been told I’m too much. Too loud. Too colourful. Too curious. Too odd. You get it. All my life I’ve done my best to make myself smaller, until my Mama me told the story of the Baby Grand Piano. This visualisation changed my whole approach to confidence, and I know it can do the same for you.
Did you see her? That woman over there? At first, you think, “Wow. She’s beautiful.” But, it’s so much more than that. She didn’t catch your eye because of her appearance. She did because of her energy. Her confidence is palpable. There’s something about how she carries herself that feels impenetrable. And it is. But, how did she get here?
Look, maybe she was born this way. It’s 100% possible. I’m not here to face-off with Lady Gaga. But chances are, she probably went through a complicated journey of personal development to become the phoenix you just witnessed in the grocery store. We all have stories like that. Those seemingly monumental moments that come to shape our self-perception.
From the moment I was old enough to start speaking, I’ve been told I’m too much. Too loud. Too colourful. Too curious. Too opinionated. Too boggy-eyed. Too rotund. Too eccentric. Too playful.
And the worst part? I believed it. Despite growing up in a home full of laughter and joy, with parents who showed me unconditional love, I believed I was just too much to handle. And sometimes, I still do.
So, how do you stop internalising these messages? How can you come to differentiate words of advice from harmful commentary you should ignore?
Question the source
Who’s saying these words? Is it a friend? A consistent source of love and support?
Example: During my years in the pharmaceutical industry, I had one manager who was particularly ruthless. Tasked with drafting an email that would go to over 500 leaders both internally and externally, I created the first draft for her to review. Her response? An email redlined to oblivion with just one sentence written above it: “Your writing is an assault on my vision.” At the time, I was stunned, hurt and confused by her harsh words. In retrospect, I can tell you she never had my best interest at heart, but that day I chose to believe her.
Question the intent
Sometimes, even the best of intentions get lost in translation. Ask yourself, why is this person saying this to me? Is it for the betterment of my soul? Or is it to take a dump on my self-esteem?
Example: My Baba (father) truly has a way with words. I joke that he’s fully adapted the Persian Father epithet. I recently wore a very feminine yet conservative piece of clothing. He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and said, “You’re my sunshine, you’re so beautiful.” Only to share less than 15 seconds later, “So much better than when you were fat.” I know my Baba, through and through, so I knew to ignore the second half of the sentiment. But, I’m not invincible. I let his words cut me, even though I knew his intention was exactly the opposite.
Question the delivery
Where and how are you being told these words? Is it in a private setting? Something just between you and them? Or is it on display, in front of an audience?
Example: Early on in my entrepreneurship journey, I attended a workshop. After cocktail hour, the host held an open session for us to ask any questions about business. I raised my hand and asked, “No matter how many projects I accept, I can’t seem to be profitable. How do I step out of that cycle and start to charge an adequate rate?” She responded with, “Yasi, you’re too new. You just don’t bring enough value to raise your pricing. If you work hard for a few years and prove yourself, then you can start trying to raise your rates.”
I was mortified. She’d just shamed me in front of fifteen brand new creative colleagues. I grew silent, walked back to my room and cried. I can see now that she was just trying to flex her authority because that’s the way she had to do it. Her hardline approach was her way of establishing her superiority within the group, and I was just collateral damage. Still, her words affected my money mindset for years. It took well over seventy clients, two rebrands, and countless hours of coaching to create an equitable pricing structure. All because I chose to listen to those words.
At the end of the day, you are the master of your own mind. You play an active role in accepting the rubbish that influences how you think about yourself. It’s a hard pill to swallow, a lesson life has given me several (thousand) opportunities to learn. So much so, that my Mama gifted me a visualisation to help me accept myself…in all my glory. And it’s my greatest joy to share it here with you.
The Baby Grand Piano: A Visualisation
You’re an abundance of different qualities that make you…well you. I don’t know what they are, because I don’t know you personally. But, do me a favor and reflect on them. If you’re having trouble, consult five of the closest people in your life – make sure these people come from different parts of your life: work, family, childhood friends, adult friends, etc. Why? Because your radiance manifests in different ways with different people in different settings.
Back to the visualisation. You, my friend, are a Baby Grand Piano. In this scenario, I mean it quite literally. And no matter how hard you try to squeeze yourself (a Baby Grand Piano) into a 600-square foot apartment, it just won’t fit. Because it just doesn’t belong in that environment.
In the same vein, you can’t shrink yourself to make others happy. It’s a futile task. No matter how much you try to diminish yourself, your joie de vivre, your truth, and your sparkle, someone will find fault in the way you’re designed. If the person you’re talking to has an apartment mentality, it’s their loss if they don’t see your brilliance.
Come as you are – Baby Grand Piano and all. The truth is, shifting your perspective from convincing others of your worthiness to walking tall in your confidence all depends on how you see yourself. Personally, I’ve always envisioned myself as a light pink Baby Grand Piano with a deep, raspberry velvet button-tufted seat. I know I’m not for everyone, but, that’s no reason to despair – it’s actually reason to celebrate my whole damn self. The same is true for you.
Surround yourself with people who are honored by your presence. After all, this life is yours. And I’ll be damned if you allow yourself to morph into an electronic keyboard to appease anyone but yourself.
Learning to love yourself is a practice of learning to see yourself for everything you are and everything you’re becoming. You just have to believe – unequivocally – in your own personal power. And if you’re having a hard time seeing it, start by envisioning the Baby Grand Piano.
You’re Grand, Baby.
Yasamin Salavatian is a Storytelling Strategist and Positioning Coach who partners with transformational coaches, educators, and creative entrepreneurs to bring words to their vision. She willfully challenges traditional marketing rhetoric, personalizing brand communications to fit like a glove. Her raison d’être? Differentiating brands from the sea of well, let’s face it – DRAB!