Why the word “too” is just an excuse (and one of Clare’s least favorite words)

Earlier this year, we published a blog on how I loathe, despise and abominate the word “sorry.  I go off on rants about it… feel free to ask any of my friends.  To go read that blog, click here.  Today I want to talk about my second least favorite word: Too.  As in more than needed or desired.

This is another way to say sorry, or is used as an excuse.  You’re too tall, too fat, too ugly, too smart, too loud, too pretty, too short, too manly, too effeminate, too busy, too tired, too much, too hard.  Well, boo hoo.  Too friggin’ bad.  You’re an adult.  Come to terms with the real reason that you think that whatever is standing in front of you isn’t good enough.  Stop making excuses.  If you use it in reference to yourself, stop apologizing for being you.


You were made to be who you are, and you are here for a reason.


So let’s go with the first one: be an adult and come to terms with the real reason.  Personally, I’m so sick of hearing people complain that others are “too” something.  I get it.  I’m a brassy, 6 foot tall woman that has a lot of education and a lot of life experience.  I’m a specific flavor, and I’m not for everyone’s consumption.  This is very apparent in the dating world.  I don’t understand why is it so hard when dating people to just say: “I’m just not interested in pursuing any kind of relationship with her/him”?  Its ok.  I’m a big girl (literally AND figuratively), most of us are grown ups in the world and can deal.  Deep down, even if we don’t want to admit it, we know that if I’m not right for you, you’re probably not right for me.  Its not me; its not you: its the pair of us together.  I’m not “too” anything and neither are you.  We’ve been this way since before we met, or have molded ourselves to be who we are as separate entities.  It really just as simple as we can now see each other up close and personal and what we want and our pictures aren’t the same.  I get it.  I’m a VanGogh, and you’re looking for something a bit more Renoir.  Its okay.  I promise.  If its not the right fit, I’m sure its for the best.  I appreciate when people try not to hurt the other person’s feelings, but that never works.  Just say that you’re not interested.  That is easy enough to understand.  Direct, even though painful, is really the best way to be.

That being said when you hear someone say that you’re “too” something, then know that they’re nicely trying to tell you that they’re not interested in pursuing whatever kind of relationship with you, be it romantic, platonic, or business.  Don’t get me wrong, its ok to be polite, but just don’t hang on it.  It’s not the right fit.  Be thankful and move on that someone didn’t try to shove your square peg into their round hole.

If you use the word “too” on some attribute of your own, do you realize that you’re apologizing for being yourself?  I’m too tall, or “I’m sorry I’m taller than most.”  My thighs are too fat.  “I’m sorry I don’t make enough time to exercise because I have other things I’d rather be doing.”  Why are you apologizing for being yourself?  Why are you making excuses for behavior you’re choosing?  It’s ridiculous.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about something, when they aren’t taking actions to improve the situation.  Yup, I’m not a fan of my thighs.  I live in New York City, where on an average day I climb about 100 stairs.  I’ve been asking Lesley for years to give me a magical exercise to make them melt away.  But do I go to the gym regularly to strengthen and tone them, no.  Do I do the magical exercises Lesley has told me I should do?  Negatory.  Well, that takes away my license to complain about my thighs.

Using the word “too” is kind of the same thing.  It is an apology or an excuse to allow yourself to get away with things.  If you’re too tired to do things with your family, then you should figure out how to lighten your workload, your commute, or whatever personal things you’ve got going on.  Otherwise, people grow up and leave you behind.  If you’re too busy for a relationship, are you sure you’re just not ready for one?  Or maybe you’re enjoying your job, or being single, or whatever—and that’s ok.  Just look at the real trough and admit it!  If your clothes in your closet are uncomfortable and don’t fit, maybe you need to watch less TV, or become more active instead of being sad about it.  Or go out and and spend money on new clothes.  Those are the choices—figure out which is the best one for you, and stop saying you’re “too _____ (fill in the blank).”

Here is what I would love for you to do: Start listening to yourself.  When you use the word “too” what are you actually saying?  Maybe that you don’t want to do what needs to be done?  Maybe that you’re choosing something else?  Maybe that you’re just not compatible with the situation?  Why are any of these bad or negative?  You are what you are in that moment.  Just make sure you’re being honest with yourself, first and foremost.  If you don’t want to date that person: don’t.  If you don’t want to apply for a new job: don’t.  If you want to start your own blog: do.  If you want to go after that promotion: what is stopping you, nothing!


No really, NOTHING is stopping you.  Stop making excuses.


Secondly, make sure that you’re not just making an excuse to get away with something else or get away from something else.  When you stop making excuses, you’ll start making better choices.  “I’m too tired for my family”, becomes “I need to make the time I do have with them a bigger priority.”  “I’m too busy for a relationship” becomes “I’m ok with being single and focusing on myself and my career right now.”  “I’m too fat” becomes “I’m going to rearrange my habits and walk 1000 extra steps a day either at lunch time, or parking farther out, or walking to the next subway stop instead of using the close one.”

Stop using “too.” SERIOUSLY, it makes me cringe!!  Stop making excuses for yourself.  Stop being negative.  Turn it to a positive.

Side note: In one of my Psychology classes, I read that there was a study done where if you told someone a negative thing, they would believe it, and it was more likely to happen.  Instead, if you spun it positively, then the thing wouldn’t happen.  For instance, if you told a child “don’t run, you’ll fall down” then they probably will fall down, because they’re thinking of falling.  If, instead, you tell the child simply “be careful” they will, and chances of falling are less likely.

If you make something a positive by saying, right now I’m not my ideal weight, but I’ll work on it, instead of saying I’m too fat; or say I’m going to work on loving myself instead of saying I’m too busy for a relationship; or instead of too busy for my family, say I’m going to start making Thursday’s family dinner night, and everyone needs to be home by 6pm so we can spend time together, then these things will happen.  And you won’t be too anything, except, maybe too content.  Which is just silly.  I’d LOVE for that to be my only complaint in life.

Start listening to the way you talk.  Do you use “too” or “sorry” too much?  I’m sure you’ll find an over abundance of those two words.  Instead, turn things positive.  Stop apologizing and using excuses.  Start using “I’ll fix” or  “I will.”  Remember, your brain is listening!!  Be who you are.  I’m sure you’re wonderful, or at least have some wonderful qualities that you can form the rest of yourself around.  Go be, do, and live.  No more excuses.   You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!

–Clare

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Crying Wolf On Social Media

My dog died. (Sorry, horrid way to start out a blog…but there it is). Actually, it’s not my dog he belongs to a really close friend, but I’ve known him since college, so it feels like he was mine–like a furry cousin or nephew that I used to see a lot. He was old. Lived a good life. Was loved so very much. 

When I got the call about the news, I had three reactions:
1) I can’t believe he’s gone
2) I wish I could cure the deviation being felt
3) I need to post it on social media.
Whaaaaat?  Ok. The first two are normal. The third has become the norm. But why?
Social media, like anything else, has so many positives, but it also has its negatives.  It allows us to connect and reconnect and network with so many people. I can see pictures of new babies from across the island, I can see accomplishments and exciting news of friends scattered across the country, I can see updates from the other side of the world. Instant private views and news. Unfortunately, it also allows over shares, and created co-dependence. It brings up the adage: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?  The problem is, everyone wants to make sure that they’re heard, even stranded and in a forest of our own making.
Cellphones allow the same thing. Don’t get me wrong–I couldn’t live without my smart phone–I’ll try to turn it off for a day, and only last a few hours (Candy Crush, I can’t quit you). I have a love hate relationship with my phone. With the ability and possibility to need and be needed by hundreds nee thousands of people at any given moment of the day. (Phenomenal cosmic power; itty bitty living space. Anyone?)
Let me go back to the dog…when I got the news I was talking with one best friend, and I was about to meet up with a second best friend (I believe in lots of friends and many best friends; at least for myself.) Mid phone conversation, the text came through. I started bawling. I was still talking to phone friend and meetup friend rang my buzzer. I told both friends all of my feelings and sadness. Amidst all of this I wanted, no NEEDED to tell the world via social media what happened.
Why? Why did I need to tell my 1006 “friends” when I had two right in my reach?  Two genuine people. Two people who know the responses which soothe me most. Two that would actually hug me.
I have to tell you, it itched, the need to post my sorrow. How would people know the reason I wasn’t myself?
So, are you reading this crazy thought and shaking your head at me??? I’m shaking my head re-reading it. (A little side truth…I started this blog almost 6 weeks ago and am polishing and revising now.  Seriously?!?  Why did I feel that need?). Well, I felt the need because I wanted to connect. I wanted to reach out, and be reached out to. In this fast world, we still need a human connection. Even if it’s just a “like.”  This fell under the co-dependence AND over sharing headings.
There is such comfort in knowing we are not alone. But at the same time, it’s mildly creepy we allow people to stalk us. It really is an odd phenomenon. We allow people to know details about our lives that are relative strangers, or are strangers. I still can’t get over people walking up to me on the street that I vaguely know, and asking me how some life event was…because they saw me post about it on social media.
Now, let me be clear–I love social media. I think it’s a great forum. It’s amazing to find friends again that were lost and are now found. It’s great to connect with people who were once a part of my life in different cities–my California peeps, my relatives, my semester in London. But, it’s when we become dependent, addicted, if you will to social media that it’s the issue.
My Facebook app was on the second row right hand side of my iPhone for years.  It was easily accessible. In one quick tap, I could look anyone up.  Facebook became my go to when waiting for anyone…I’d hop on when I was bored, lonely, or even just wanting to space out. I found myself rechecking Facebook five minutes after I had just checked it. Nothing new in the news feed. And it was worse when I had a crush on someone or was dating them…I was a mild stalker. (Don’t judge.  I’m sure you have some bad social media habits, too). I’d even do this to my friends when they were too delayed in texting me back–where were they, if they checked in at a movie, I’d know that why wouldn’t text back for a few hours; but if they weren’t checked in anywhere, there was no excuse for not responding. WHOA!!!!! What?  Stalker much?  I’ll admit it.  And then there was a moment I went crazy because of Facebook…A friend went AWOL for days. I checked Facebook, and a picture of him doing something silly, having a smile on his face popped up. I LOST it. He could post on Facebook but not respond to a question I had sent him via text 4 days before???  I cried. I was angry. I wanted to text him mean and angry things. Luckily, my sensible side kicked in. Who knows when that picture was taken? Maybe then. Maybe weeks ago. Maybe he, like me during my dog death time, needed to show the world how he wanted to be seen in the moment he posted. Who knows. The thing is, my overreaction came from the thought that I felt like he thought all of his Facebook friends deserved to see that he was happy more than he thought I deserved a response. He needed the attention of his 1006 friends on Facebook (I don’t know how many he really has…I just like the number 1006 to describe number of Facebook friends. Because who in real life has the time to keep up with 1006 friends?!?) In that moment he needed that attention, more than he needed the attention of one of his best friends. (Remember when I mentioned co-dependence up above…?)
We’ve sat down and dealt with all of that–but the point is that both he, and I during my dog time, felt the need to tell everyone instead of being “old fashioned” and just talking through our feelings with a nearest and dearest.
This incident, and more my overreaction to it, made me take a week off of Social media. It actually stretched to 10 days–I was quite proud. I missed a birthday party, the death of a friend, and something else that was really big at the time, but I can’t seem to remember what it was. The thing is, I found out about them through other people. Eventually. My life went on. The first few days were rough. I ended up moving the app into a folder, moved it to the fourth page of my apps, and the second page of the folder. So it took me three swipes, a tap, and another swipe to enter the realm of Facebook. Actually, it still does. And I use it less. And life goes on.
I now check maybe once a day. And it’s kind of blissful. People know how to find me. I know how to find people if I’m having a rough day.  My friend (the one who “inspired” the hiatus) and I talked out the situation. He doesn’t know the picture on Facebook was the catalyst. But it doesn’t matter. I cried. I wanted to cry about my “wolf” dying. Instead of taking it to the masses, I took it to genuine friends.
Social media is great to reach out. I’m not saying “don’t use it.”  But remember that “social” is defined as: interaction that is enjoyable. Needs, burning desires, stalkings, and the like, aren’t enjoyable. Think about how you post and browse. Is it truly social?  I have had a “posting policy” for the last few years: unless something will positively effect, I don’t post it.  How do your posts rate to that? Are you more negative or positive?  Maybe you need to take the week challenge and see how your life changes (or goes back to normal)!  Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.  If you need more convincing, read this article about relationships and social media.  Use social media for good, not evil!
–Clare
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