Why it’s Time to Embrace the Difficult Woman Inside You
There’s a meme going around social media that reads “This goes out to all of the girls who had report cards growing up that read ‘talks too much.’” I know this meme well because not only was I that girl, but I’m often tagged when former classmates share the post.
Every time this meme is shared, there is a long list of replies from women who also received these comments as children. Many, many women.
While the words “talks too much” may seem innocent, we know what’s often being said is she needs to keep quiet, keep her thoughts to herself and been seen not heard. Unfortunately, some girls took this to heart, and muffled their voice.
Thankfully, over time, I’ve learned to ignore this direction and kept talking. All that talking has morphed into a career as a corporate trainer, speaker and coach. But it took time.
As I made my way through high school, university and into the working world, the talks too much label shifted into – a difficult woman, too opinionated, too outspoken, bossy, and more.
There was a time when I believed these words. I tried to limit my feedback, not wanting to rock the boat. Even though I was suppressing my voice, the input I did give, still came with a backlash.
Through working with a business coach, I learned to redefine the labels, and embrace the difficult woman inside of me.
- Being outspoken = I have something to say
- Too opinionated = I feel strongly about my beliefs and/or opinion
- Difficult woman = I am confident in what I have to say, and have the strength to stand behind my words
- Bossy = I am a leader, who wants to inspire others
Now here’s the challenge that has come with this self-awareness. Not everyone wants to hear my voice – or at least the non-muffled version of my voice.
Knowing who I am, and being confident in the input I provide, can be threatening to those who prefer to be in control or in the spotlight.
This has meant leaving a position where there was more focus spent on muffling my voice than listening to what I had to say.
I know I’m not alone.
In my speaking and consulting work, I’ve met many women who are being muffled, and are scared of sharing their opinion. I have also met some incredible women who are thriving. Thriving because they are comfortable with who they are and know how and when to use their voice.
While we may laugh at how we shared the “talks too much” comments as kids, it has taken a lot of work to embrace our voice and share our thoughts openly.
As a mother of a young daughter, I work hard to be a positive role model. At times this means using my voice to advocate for her needs. Other times, it’s taking a quieter approach, building relationships and helping educate to minimize rash judgements.
When my daughter received her first “talks too much” on her report card (there have been many), I laughed. She asked what I was laughing at, and I told her – I had the same comment every year as a child. It means you have something to say. Embrace your voice, and share your thoughts.
This doesn’t mean I gave her free reign to chat with her friends in class or ignore the teacher. Rather, I provided her with the context and examples of positive ways to use her voice, and shared there are times when you need to quiet your voice so you can learn from others. In the quiet spaces we make room for the conversations and learnings we need to grow.
But by laughing and providing her my history, I was able to redefine “talks too much” as a negative comment, into something constructive and positive.
While I hope “talks too much” doesn’t evolve into “difficult woman, bossy or too opinionated” labels, if it does, I will be there to support her in embracing the difficult woman inside of her.
Like what you read? Sign up to receive emails from me.