Big Personalities

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In 2012, Susan Cain did a TED Talk on introversion. There seems to be a general belief that being an extrovert is somehow preferable, which results in a lot of misunderstanding about introverts. Introverts are often seen “small.” They don’t usually take up a lot of air or space. They don’t immediately charge forward. They don’t naturally press or push.

Subsequently, we have gotten the wrong impression regarding what this means, so introverts are not always valued for their quiet leadership or calm demeanor. Ms. Cain took these misconceptions on and quickly showed that introverts not only have so much to give, but that the thinking about them is outdated and unfair. This TED Talk (and accompanying book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) did wonders for their image.

Good stuff, but not where we are going today. Our destination is the other end of the spectrum. Today, we will talk about big personalities.

Not just extraverts, but people who just seem “big.” Bigger somehow than the average person. Bigger because they are louder, more talkative, more something, more anything, more everything.

I am one of those people.

All my life, people have told me I am “too much.” Employers, boyfriends, strangers in restaurants. I have heard from the masses and I am fully aware that I am a LOT.

I try to shrink, make myself smaller. But, despite my best efforts, I still end up taking up a lot of space.

Age and experience have helped with this, for sure. I have found places and friends where my “muchiness” is seen as an asset, something to leverage, something worthwhile and valuable. A few people even find it charming!

But I wish there had been someone doing PR for big personalities while I was growing up. Because you see, when you constantly get the message that something is wrong with you, you start to believe that something is wrong with you.

And let’s be honest, who wants to have something “wrong” with them?

I recently had the chance to spend time with my nephew, Aydan. A beautiful boy with a wide smile and an easy laugh. A boy with a very big heart and an even bigger personality.

I see how people respond to him and hear the comments they make. They don’t understand him. They think he’s “too much.” But I don’t. I think he’s perfect.

There’s no TED Talk coming, but I will keep raising the flag for big personalities.

We are beginning to realize that all bodies are great.

Hopefully we will get there with personalities.