You have no idea how many times I heard that as a kid. In case the slang has changed over the years, TMI stands for “too much information.”
After I left high school, no one used that acronym, but the look that people gave me sometimes was the same. You’re saying too much, that look would say. No one asked you how you feel.
It’s been hard to convince myself to share anyway, despite this negative feedback. About three years ago, I decided to share my story with the world, and that was incredibly difficult because, at that point, my experiences of rejection far outweighed my experiences of acceptance.
But I shared. And now, the balance has tipped just as far the other way. I get to experience deep acceptance with my community, which is full of people who have been through darkness. People who have been hurt and who are healing. People who have been rejected and criticized for their behaviour by those who don’t understand what trauma, healing, and self-discovery looks like.
So, if you’re one of those people who has ever been accused of oversharing with others, this is for you.
This is what I posted on my Facebook page a few weeks ago.
Today, in the yoga change room, I overheard as one woman approached another and reminded her that they’d taken a teacher’s training course some years ago. The second woman had some trouble remembering her, but all the same, they ended up talking about the course, about their jobs, about teaching.
Then, the first woman said, “You know to be honest, I’ve been really depressed, especially today. It was either this class or getting a stiff drink.”
The second woman, clearly uncomfortable replied, “Well, you know, take everything as it comes.” She left shortly after with only a short goodbye.
In the moments afterwards, I saw the first woman recollecting her broken pieces of dignity. I saw her mind racing. I saw her self-judgment kick in. I saw her eagerness to get away from all the people who had heard that conversation. The conversation that, in her mind, might have been embarrassing, shameful, stupid. But, in my mind, it was brave, real, beautiful.
I wanted to tell her how courageous she’d been and how awesome it was that she chose self-care over self-destruction, but I hesitated a few seconds too long, and she was gone.
So here is my second shot. To all the people who have accused themselves of “oversharing” because the person they shared with didn’t have the space to accept their emotions–you have nothing to be ashamed of. You’re a human being. You feel emotions. You go through hard times. You struggle. We all do. Some of us are just more willing than others to admit it.
It’s not a social crime to tell people the truth about your experience—even if that experience is negative. Even if it might bring them down.
Because you know what? There are some people who will let you bring them down. Who will gladly create some space in their heart for your suffering, and will gladly give you a part of their joy to put inside of yours. And you won’t find them if, embarrassed by rejection, you stop talking, stop sharing, stop trying.
Never stop expressing yourself, please. Be brave. Tell the truth about how you feel, how your day has been, how your life experience has been. Don’t beat yourself up for being bad at being plastic. Bring your realness into the world and spread it like wildfire. Don’t let rejection stop you. Be a leader in authenticity, in vulnerability, in truth.
That way, maybe society can become a warmer place for all of us.
Author: Vironika Tugaleva
Image: Brandi Redd at Unsplash
Editor: Renée Picard