I’ve written before about the greatest compliment I’ve ever received, several years ago when a temporary employee that hadn’t seen me in a year looked at me one afternoon and with all sincerity, “you just look so happy!”–she will never understand how life-changing that statement was to me. She was the first person as I was going through so much transformation in my body to acknowledge the inside work that took place made the exterior changes possible. That was priceless.
Several weeks ago, I walked into a weekly meeting and greeted the room as I entered, and the self-proclaimed curmudgeon in the room (*more on him in a second) without skipping a beat, exclaimed, “You’re so loud!”
Now, under any other circumstance, I might be extremely embarrassed and shut down over such a remark–but I also have to say, this statement was also followed up with a giant smile and a big hug from the gentleman that proclaimed it. This man has known me since we moved here (the first time), shares my personal values of integrity and transparency, and shared many of the frustrations we had in other areas of life previously when he sat on our board for a time. He has seen me in group situations where I was afraid to say a word to where now I have taken on leadership, speak up, and don’t back down when it’s appropriate.
People that have met me recently often comment they see me as an extrovert, and in some ways, it feels good that I’ve got people fooled. I absolutely come to an ease in many situations and am learning my way in others, and I always love meeting new people and speaking about the things that I’m passionate about–but the reality is, I am absolutely an introvert and people still scare the absolute crud out of me. I don’t thrive with the pressure of groups or being put on the spot–but still like to be included, savor my alone time, and don’t mind collaboration but do my best work individually.
Introvert/extrovert labels aside, I’ve definitely got to count, “you’re so loud!” as probably the second best compliment I’ve received–to me, it’s an edifying remark of coming into my voice. I’ve taken the time in my business, politically, spiritually, and the groups that I join to carefully cultivate the people in my life I align myself with so that I have the joy and freedom to speak when and how I’m moved to do so. I WANT to be considered loud, because when I speak, it’s important–I don’t speak to simply be heard, I speak because it’s worth being said.