How much emotion is too emotional? Is there a scale for being too much of anything?

„too emotional, to creative, too vital…“ – too much!
Just with these two words you can judge peoples’ emotions and blame them for those feelings.

Talking to our guest author D. the other day, these thoughts began to arise in my mind. As I am thinking of her as a master of self reflexion, I asked her to write about „being too much of anything“. Thank you D. for this wonderful and self-critical reflection and blog post.

Valuable and important to reflect on how and when we characterize and label someone with „you are being too…“ Or other people are judging us, or our children in this way.

And now D.:

Too much / too little / not enough / just about right. Who gets to decide that?

During the last days I heard the words: „You are too sensitive! “ I heard them a few times. So I started thinking about it. Or let‘s just call it: justifying myself. This is the more honest term for it.
I am a highly sensitive person. I am probably more emotional than other people, feeling more deeply, more intense. But I think „too emotional“doesn‘t exist. „You are being too emotional“ is emotional invalidation. Psychology…you can read all about it online.

So I opened my laptop, found a nice spot in the warm sun, looked up at the sky, started writing and thought: STOP! Stop right here and reflect on your own labeling!

And what I saw was: Whilst other people are judging me for being too emotional, too soft, and too sensitive. I actually sometimes characterize people to be not emotional enough, too hard, not kind enough, lacking this and that.

Too much / too little / not enough / just about right. Who gets to decide that?

No one is permitted to judge other people like that! Putting labels on peoples emotion just isn‘t right.
I have made this mistake myself: People accused me to be too sensitive, I, myself put people in the box: heart of stone and justified my point of view eagerly. I am right! Well, but I was wrong! What I did was putting labels on people from my point of view.

Is it actually bad to judge someone?

Often enough, when we are judging someone, we create expectations. Every reaction, every word by that other person will be defined by my expectation. I put that person in a box. But no one belongs in a box.

Just as I don‘t belong in any box, I don‘t want to be judged or labeled.

Too much / too little / not enough / just about right.

I will try to avoid that from now on!

Too much in my eyes, is too little for someone else. What I feel is just about sufficient, might be plenty for someone. What I think is perfect, someone else will see as faulty.

Interacting with other people: If I cannot understand an emotional reaction, I can ask that person. I don‘t have to be able to fully comprehend it. Acceptance is the magic word. As understanding it, is not always possible.

Two days ago my son came home from school. He was upset because he was involved in a huge argument with one of the other boys. I said to him: „Don‘t be too upset. This boy is just a little too insensitive. “I was so wrong! This is where the foundation for acceptance is built: childhood. I should have used the words: „Talk to him. Ask him why he reacted like that. “(which I later did)

I will never be able to deal with all people in the same way. As I find unkindness, lack of empathy and compassion not very pleasant. But I am really curious about the answer to my question: „Why did you react like that? “

Maybe I will be surprised.

Maybe people would understand if they would ask me: „Why are you so emotional in this moment?“ – instead of throwing a: „You are being too emotional“ in my face.

So, back to terminology: Emotional invalidation is when a person’s thoughts and feelings are rejected, ignored, or judged. Invalidation is emotionally upsetting for anyone.
If I don‘t want to cause that upset to anyone and don‘t want other people to upset me, the following has to sink in to my brain:

My perception of that person, doesn‘t determine his / her personality and feelings. Other people’s perception of me, doesn‘t determine me as a person!
Breaking the circle of emotional invalidation leads to more awareness, kindness, compassion and understanding.

Communication advice by Bea: „I perceive you as being too sensitive” instead of a „You are too sensitive“ might be a good start. Maybe for teacher-parent communication:
„I perceive your child to be too quiet, too noisy…etc. “

Maybe that might be a good place to start and helpful.

What do you think? Are you falling in the „too much / too little“trap, too?


Béa – and D.