“When people call you extra look them in the face and say, Am I extra or are you basic?” I have no idea who originated this quote but I fell in love the moment I heard it. I’ve been told since I was a child that I was too loud and too much and my ideas were too big (to the point of liability). Hearing this quote completely shifted my perspective. Everything is someone’s opinion. What we do may be too much for some and it may not be enough for others, but in either case, we are too often looking at how others are impacted rather than on what it does for ourselves. I spent many years learning to play small instead of learning to play the game of development. Worse, I now see when and how I do that to my own child.
I know what it feels like to try to break through those self-inflicted barriers we create to be liked as a child, as an adult. It sucks. Everything feels unfamiliar, you still feel like you have the walls around you, you still seek the approval of others because you can’t gauge for yourself if you’re doing something correctly. The definition of right and wrong go out the window because it’s all working from an unfamiliar framework. It’s disorienting and I don’t want to put my kid through that. It’s a pain to clean up after his messes, absolutely true. But I don’t want to hinder his creativity and his joy simply because I have to wipe a few things down or pick everything up off the floor. If I’m honest, I want to create a life for myself that allows me the time to do those things, to do the things I want to do on top of it. I want to create a life that flows with the natural rhythm of who I really am rather than trying to fit the life I want in the in-between moments from work to waking again. None of that is extra or asking too much.
The same thing doesn’t work for all people. What excites and drives me isn’t the same thing for my neighbors or friends or even my family. It certainly may not be the same thing for stranger on the street. So the question becomes, “Why would I let any opinion from someone else stop me?” They aren’t ME so it doesn’t matter if they label me extra or too much. My life isn’t theirs. They may not be able to handle the things I am able to do because they do not have my experience. So why would I let their little label stop me from doing anything or why would I let it shift what I want to do? My life isn’t about them. It’s about creating an environment that I love and that supports me and my family. No one else needs to understand—and no one needs to like it.
Perhaps it isn’t a matter of being extra or basic, but rather finding that acceptance in ourselves to simply be who we are. That is enough. Just being who we are regardless of other’s opinions. Going to the Mel Robbin’s quote from the other day: we will never regret doing the things we love. Our purpose in life isn’t to be loved or accepted by all, but to be loved and accepted by ourselves and those who are meant for us. So put your flavor on everything—not everyone will like the taste, but there will always be more than enough for those who do. And more importantly, you will always be happy with what you make because it will genuinely be who you are. Definitions and labels are arbitrary because the definition of the label will more than likely change in time anyway. So it doesn’t matter if your extra is too basic for some or if you’re too much or not enough for any one person. Just be who you are and that is enough. Period.