This is a note to self but if you’ve ever thought of yourself as too loud, too quiet, too much or not enough, this message is for you, too: You may not be perfect, but you’re perfectly imperfect, and that’s as good as you’re ever going to get.

My name is Viv — short for Vivacious (and Vivienne).

I’ve mellowed over the decades but when I was younger, I well and truly lived up to my name. Despite being riddled with anxiety and susceptible to depression for much of my early life, my personality used to be so big, it sometimes entered the room before my body.

I was always the first on the dance floor, the first up for Karaoke, the first to break the ice or crack jokes in awkward situations. I had no trouble drawing attention to myself. I was rarely single.

However, despite this confident outer shell, I was incredibly insecure. Often, right in the midst of some extrovert behaviour, I would dissociate and observe myself from outside of my body. I can conjure up that feeling quite easily. I can feel it as I write this — me, floating several feet above my own head, precisely where the walls meet the ceiling, harshly judging every gesture and every word.

I’d blurt something out at a party and two seconds later, the voice up there would say, “did you really just say that?” “Was that a bit too much?”

I’d move my body on the dance floor, genuinely feeling the rhythm and just going with the flow, and then mid-movement I’d think, “do I look like I’m showing off? “Is this too much?”

More often than not, I felt different, other, wrong. Let me tell you, it was exhausting. But enough about me.

Do you ever find yourself grappling with your authentic self?

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Is there a part of your personality that feels natural and unstoppable yet leaves you feeling vulnerable to the judgement of others?

Is there a true expression of yourself that you wish you could tone down, even just a little, in order to blend in better?

When people acknowledge these qualities in you — e.g. ‘You’re so outgoing’ — do you take their words at face value or do you decide that what they’re really trying to say is, ‘honey, you’re too much!’

Here’s the thing…

You, just as you are, are perfectly imperfect.

It is your unique presence and personality, be that large, small, loud or quiet, that makes you you, and you deserve to have people in your life who accept you as you are.

This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate those who aren’t 100% comfortable with 100% of your personality traits 100% of the time. It also doesn’t mean letting go of your true nature in order to accommodate the discomfort of others.

It simply means recognizing that when others express discomfort around your behaviour, you are being something that they are not comfortable being — and here’s the good news. They don’t have to be that thing! That thing is your thing, not theirs. So let them sit in their discomfort and just keep on doing you. And try not to judge them too harshly, for they, like you, are perfectly imperfect.

The world needs your quirks, imperfections, otherness.

You, me, each and every one of us — we all bring something special to the table. As long as your specialness isn’t hurting anyone — and let’s take a second to acknowledge the difference between causing others discomfort versus pain — embrace your special something in all its glory.

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Some may squirm. If they do, let them, and trust that if they love you they’ll get over it and stop wriggling soon.

As for those who try to change you, if they’re hellbent on making you feel like you’re TOO MUCH for others, do yourself a favour. Consider the possibility that they simply AREN’T ENOUGH for you. Remove your perfectly imperfect self from their presence (or they from yours) and protect your beautiful otherness.

Perfectly imperfect. That’s me. That’s you. Let’s keep shining anyway.

Viv for Today xo

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