25things

Do you ever feel like you're too much?

Do you ever feel like you are too much? ~ Free Find Your Superpower Course Included

Do you ever feel like you’re too much? Too emotional? Too analytical? Too intense? Too sensitive?

The truth is half the time you feel like you’ve been shot out of a cannon, you’re so wired you just can’t seem to stop, the rest of the time you crash so hard you’re not good for much of anything.

You’ve tried a bunch of approaches, but nothing seems to make a difference right away so you give up quickly.

Your loved ones may say you’re overreacting, but for you life really is that intense.

So let me ask you.

Is this you…

  • When you’re working it’s go, go, go but the second you have a break you collapse from exhaustion, feeling like a slug.
  • Meaningful connection is important but when you do finally have some time you end up canceling on your friends (you’re just too exhausted to go out).
  • You have this weird ability to focus on certain things but you can get so lost in your work that you completely lose track of your basic needs (even going to the bathroom!)
  • Sometimes you push so hard that by the weekend your body shuts down, you find yourself dizzy, light-headed (brain fog), and – without getting into too much detail… your stomach isn’t happy.
  • You feel stifled creatively, since you became a mom and/or got a “real” job, you’ve  been feeling trapped because you never have time to do the creative work you crave.
  • You’re a serial hobbyist — you collect passions and interests and cycle through them the same way that a chameleon changes color.
  • And speaking of that “real” job, you got into it because you wanted to make a difference but you notice there’s a lot of stuff about the work that feels meaningless — endless paperwork, writing useless reports and all those budget meetings.
  • You set ridiculously high standards for yourself (in fact other people are often intimidated by you) but you always seem to fall short — it just seems that everybody else is so much more “together” than you.

If you relate, you’re probably a Highly Excitable Person. You may have heard of the term Highly Sensitive Person but this is a little different.

So what do I mean by highly excitable? Highly excitable people have an increased ability to perceive and respond to their environment. In other words……

You pick up on things that other people don’t and respond more intensely than the average Joe — you might break down in tears, you might find yourself obsessively thinking and thinking about a situation, you might actually get a stomach ache, you might get so lost in worst case scenario thinking that you startle when your friend says your name… There’s a feeling of “wired but tired,” until you’re just completely exhausted. All the while you wonder why you’re the only one who seems to be responding in this way…

People often describe you as dynamic, intense, sensitive, fiery, restless, passionate or spirited.

Because you react so intensely to your world you have this unique ability to literally make yourself sick. Many Highly Excitable People suffer from things like adrenal fatigue, chronic pain, exhaustion and/or digestive problems.  You might notice yourself getting sick a lot and/or it takes you FOREVER to recover from things, especially when you’re stressed out.

Anxiety is a factor too. You react so intensely to life —  your work, dating, your kids– you get so preoccupied with worry, fear or anticipation that it keeps you up at night, keeps you from being able to focus on what you want to do and impacts the way you eat (at the exact time when you should be eating well you reach for that container of chocolate peanut butter cups).

The Good News Is…

You have super powers.

There are five types of excitability: Emotional, Sensual,  Psychomotor, Intellectual and Imaginational.

Highly Excitable People have the unique ability to (depending on your type of excitability)…

… form deep connections with other people and living things.

… read other people in a way that most people can’t.

… pick up on tiny nuances in their environment.

People often describe you as dynamic, intense, sensitive, fiery, restless, passionate or spirited. ~ Do you ever feel like you're too much?

… deeply appreciate beauty and often create beautiful, even moving, pieces of art.

… use their dynamic energy to bring people together.

… be able to think things through to create brilliant connections .

…  uncover unique angles and perspectives that solve problems and introduce new ways of thinking.

… synthesizing seemingly unrelated pieces of information in a way that creates new ideas and approaches.

… master many kinds of unrelated things at the same time.

… influence others through art or and their intellectual pursuits, understanding the big picture and each individual perspective.

The truth is anyone who has achieved anything great is probably highly excitable in one of the five areas.

Here are some Highly Excitable People throughout history:

  • Jane Goodall (Emotional)
  • Ansel Adams (Sensual)
  • Robin Williams (Psychomotor)
  • Albert Einstein (Intellectual)
  • Walt Disney (Imaginational)

So Imagine:

  • Getting home from a full day of work and having the energy to call up a friend and meet her for dinner.
  • Having some extra time to take a hot bath (with salts!) without obsessing over all the things you should be doing. To your utter shock you actually enjoy yourself in the moment!
  • Sitting down at the end of a busy day, with a cup of tea, and feeling like you got it done — you didn’t spin your wheels, you were actually able to be focused and present on what was important.
  • Looking back over the year and smiling to yourself because of all you were able to do and accomplish.
  • Sitting down with your family for dinner, looking around the room, and feeling happy, not anxious, not preoccupied, just happy.
  • Knowing how to handle the everyday stress of life — family visits, temper tantrums, employee evaluations, traffic jams — without crumpling up in a ball (or screaming back).
  • Have a routine in your life that works, so you write every day, make sure to take a walk, drink your water, etc. but know how to adapt when you need to.
  • Having a clear sense of “having something special to offer” as opposed to always wondered why you’re the one who is always so sick, wired and tired.
  • Being called a thought leader, brilliant or a genius by people you respect.
  • Being asked to write, speak or teach about what is passionate to you.

Yes it really is possible!

My mission is to help Highly Excitable people use their fire without getting burned or burned out by connecting with their unique powers, balance their energy and feel a sense of accomplishment in their life.

To help you explore your own unique gifts and how to use them, I created a free Find Your Superpower Course to help you: Identify your individual areas of excitability with an excitability checklist; Customize the name of your own unique superpower; & Explore how you can harness your own power instead of suppressing it or letting it get out of control.

On Being "Too Much"

I must learn to love the fool in me - the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. ~ Theadore Isaac Rubin

 

It's an all too familiar story I've heard from many incredible women: An intense creative child is told that part of growing up means toning herself down. She tries to meet this expectation but still fears that she's "too much." In the process of toning down she learns to tune herself out and disconnects from her body and gut.

If this goes along long enough, she's likely to feel lost and/or develop chronic pain. She might push herself beyond her limits or just lose sight of who she truly is.

What she might not realize is that this "too muchness" she fears is the key to her greatest powers!

According to Kazimierz Dabrowski, heightened excitability, or above average reactions to stimuli, is a sign of positive developmental potential. This means that intensity is an asset when it comes to personal growth.

There are five types of excitability: intellectual, imaginative, emotional, sensory and psychomotor. Many people who have been identified as gifted experience one or more of these overexcitabilities.

After interviewing many remarkable women who have harnessed the power of their intensity in their lives and careers for my upcoming Embracing Intensity podcast, I have picked up on some common themes that have helped them reconnect with and direct their excitability.

Self Awareness - Being aware of how your excitablilities affect you and knowing that you are not alone can go a long way toward using them in a positive way. When you aren't connected with that part of yourself, you are likely to label some aspects that are not as socially acceptable as faults. This type of self-criticism is entirely unproductive. If you can be aware of how your intensity looks when well harnessed as well as how it looks when it feels out of control or suppressed, you can use your fire without getting burned.

Intuition - A common theme that came up was reconnecting with your intuition. Many of us get stuck in our head and stop listening to our heart or gut. David Richo describes the importance of connecting with your "inner trio," your head, your heart and your gut when making important decisions. If you ignore the last two, you are likely to follow a path that may leave you feeling stuck.

Vulnerability - Opening up and being yourself is the only way that you can really connect with the people who can most relate to you. If you protect yourself from vulnerability, you may have success on the outside, but on the inside something feels "off." You may "fit in" but to truly belong, it's crucial to have at least one person you can be vulnerable with.

Self-Care - Finally, finding time for self-care was crucial for most highly excitable women to ground themselves and decompress. For many, this involved getting out in nature. For others exercise, meditation and yoga were daily practices. Whatever you need to do to recharge your batteries, be sure to do it before they are completely dead.

So, if you've been spending your time toning yourself down or tuning yourself out, take some time to reconnect with the power of your own intensity. You may find that your greatest excesses are, in fact, your greatest assets!

Are you highly excitable?

Have you ever felt like you are too much?

Too intense? Too sensitive? Too analytical? Too scattered? Too emotional? Too dreamy?

You might be highly excitable.  Highly excitable people have an increased ability to perceive and respond to their environment.  In other words, they pick up on things that other people don’t and respond more intensely than the average Joe. They tend to be easily excited and inspired. Other words that might be used to describe them include emotional, passionate, fiery, restless, enthusiastic and responsive.

Excitable - definition

Signs you might be highly excitable:

  • Little things bother you or you tend to tune them out.
  • You overthink everything - or keep yourself distracted during the day so your thoughts keep you up.
  • Your mind is often somewhere else creating or imagining things or you feel stifled fitting into a box.
  • You are constantly "on the go" or you easily crash with fatigue.
  • You move quickly from extreme joy to extreme sadness or you do what you can to numb yourself from deep feelings.
  • You drive yourself to do things "just so" or you put things off or not complete them because you believe you can't do them justice.

Overexcitability and what it means to me

My son has been highly sensitive and reactive since birth. On the day he was born when he finally latched on to feed, the pleased sounds of those in the room made him pop off and look around. I had to feed him in a room alone most of the time because he was too curious about people around him. I couldn't even read a book because the sound of the page turning caught his attention. He was a colicky infant and I believe it was partly due to the fact that he had so much going on in his little head and he couldn't communicate it yet or fully control his body.

Over the years he has become a bright and engaging boy. He has the ability to express great empathy but at other times likes to do his own thing without thought of how it might affect others.  He also reacts to things in a very extreme way, both positively and negatively. I was doing some research based on his challenges adjusting to the behavior expectations of school this year and I came upon the concept of overexcitabilities. It not only hit the nail on the head with everything I saw in him, but explained so much of my own life.

What you see as your greatest excesses may in fact be your greatest assets!

Those who are highly excitable both perceive and respond to the world in qualitatively and quantitatively different ways.  According to

Kazimierz Dabrowski, "one who manifests several forms of overexcitability, sees reality in a different, stronger and more multisided manner."  Excitabilities are also associated with high "developmental potential," so what you see as your greatest excesses may in fact be your greatest assets!There are 5 excitabilities he identifies:

Sensual

- Heightened awareness of the senses.

Since I was young I've been highly sensitive to my physical environment. Little things bothered me so I learned to tune them out. Eventually I could no longer tune them out as I experienced the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia.  Over the years I've tried many things to help but very little stuck. The last few years I've been able to pinpoint a few things that really made a difference and stuck with them in a way I never thought possible for me before. I also lost and kept off 40 lbs in the process.

Intellectual

- Increased intensity of thought.

I was almost held back in kindergarten for asking too many questions. When I was evaluated by a child psychologist, he said, "she's not a smaller apple, she's an orange." This became my mantra for much of my schooling. I was tested twice for giftedness and  learning disabilities and while I was never identified as learning disabled, I never figured out how to work to my full potential in school until my masters program. Now that I can focus my areas of further learning on things I'm passionate about, I can excel in a way I never could if my heart wasn't in it.

Imaginational

- Vivid imagination.

I was definitely a daydreamer in school and even tend to be so at work.  I can stay on track for a bit, but my mind is often somewhere other than where I am in the moment.  Before I had a child I could indulge my creativity outside of work hours, but since then I've lost much of my outlets for creative expression.  Without this outlet my mind tends to wander even more so I am making more of a priority to create in my life.

Psychomotor

- High activity.

From the time I hit puberty, every spring I would fall into a mild depression and fatigue. The stress of school built up for me so that I needed the full summer break to recover.  A few years ago I was tested for adrenal fatigue and it turned out my body produced excess stimulating hormones and not enough calming. Ironically, my chronic fatigue was due to an excess of energy.  I went into a job in schools because I knew I needed the time off. Only recently did it occur to me that I went right back in to the very system it took me months to recover from every year. Now I'm cutting back my school hours to explore my passion helping others explore theirs.

Emotional

- Exceptional emotional sensitivity.

While some kids like to pick up stray dogs, I tended to pick up stray people. Our family took in several friends who were having a hard time. As an adult, a few especially stressful living situations ended up leaving me with a significant physical cost. I used to value in myself my ability to get along with challenging people. Now I realize the test is not how well I can get along with everybody, but how well I can take care of myself.Throughout my life, I've been an extremist. I would joke that I had just enough OCD to keep my ADD in check. I had high standards but impulsivity. I would dive into something, then throw the baby out with the bath water. I sought a partner who compensated for me rather than complemented me. Therefore he saw the same faults in me as I saw in myself. After 5 years of managing a home as a single working mother, I'm now with someone who doesn't love me despite my quirks, but because of them.

Harness your power!

Harness Your Power!

When excitability is harnessed, you may experience life with great passion and joy.  If not well channeled though, it can lead to overwhelm, anxiety, fatigue and even chronic pain.  It can also affect our personal relationships if we are perceived as "overreacting" to things and our productivity can suffer when expectations don't match reality and priorities are placed in things we "think" we should do, instead of things we love to do or need to do.The problems arise when we either suppress our excitability, or let them go out of control.  To really get the most out of our energy, we must learn to harness our power.

Think of the movie Frozen.  It has been very popular lately, partly because it breaks the damsel in distress mold of the standard Disney movie, but also because it addresses a very real issue in many people's lives.  When Elsa looses control of her powers, she hurts someone she loves.  In an attempt to control her power, she tries to suppress it.  In the process, she isolates herself and her sister and ends up loosing control all together.  This is true of many of us when we try to suppress an essential part of us.  Either we feel isolated or incomplete, or we leave ourselves vulnerable to an explosion of suppressed power.  It isn't until she learns to control her power and use it when and how she wants it that she is able to fully realize her potential.

When you get a clear picture of your own powers, you can better recognize when they are suppressed or getting out of control.  My goal is to help those who are highly excitable find ways to use it to their own advantage so that they can reach their highest potential.

Sign up for my free Excitability Checklist here to find your own unique Excitability traits. 

Photos courtesy of Guy Holtzman Photography