Are You Too Good at Reading the Room?
I’ve noticed heart-centered people like you and me are exceptionally good at doing two things: reading the room, and correcting the balance.
Here’s what I mean. We’re wired to tune into what’s happening around us and sense what other might need to feel comfortable. And because of it, we end up using our intuitive gifts to fill in those voids and restore a sense of balance to most situations we’re in.
Think about it. I’m guessing you’ve been in a meeting, or at an event where the vibe is painfully quiet and shy – and you found yourself being the one to gently break the ice, or start friendly conversation. Because someone had to do it, right?
I’m also guessing you’ve been at a Thanksgiving dinner table or a lively party where there was no shortage of tense, heated debate - and in that situation, you may have stepped into the role of Person Who Kept Their Mouth Shut. Because the last thing that room needed was another outspoken person to stir the pot.
As sensitive humans, we’re versatile and intuitive: a combination that helps us read the room, figure out what’s missing from the balance, and then step into that role.
It also means we can be quick – dangerously quick – to gloss over the details of who you are, and what you want, think, and need.
I want to share a quick example of how this played out in a big way for me a few years ago.
My first ‘real grown-up’ relationship with a man who really enjoyed bucking social and societal norms. It was fundamentally part of who he was, and part of what drew me to him initially. He was interesting! Boldly different! Refreshing! He loved saying, wearing, and doing things that were outlandish and bold, which felt so different from me and how I normally liked to live. It was exciting.
When the shiny newness of our dynamic started to wear off, that’s when we started settling into the reality of who we were to each other: opposites.
It’s not that I didn’t share any of his love for adventure or silliness. But whenever I sensed the extremeness of his unpredictability and wildness and they made me feel uneasy, I’d swing hard in the other direction to keep things feeling balanced.
I got used to doubling down on my role as the Conventional, Steady Other-Half in that relationship. Because someone had to restore the balance and keep us grounded.
But then, something interesting happened. Maybe it was because I was at an age where people around me were starting to figure out who they were, or maybe it was just a product living in the height of the digital age – but it felt like everywhere I looked, I was bombarded with messages about being yourself.
‘Be who you are! Own your uniqueness!’
‘Let your freak flag fly!’
‘Who cares what the world wants or expects from you.’
Here’s the scary part: without realizing it, I’d dismiss those messages as ‘not for me’ – because I believed I wasn’t different or distinct enough to have the kind of bold, brave ‘true self’ they were talking about. I thought I was just Boring.
See, I used to think it was only brave to be yourself if you were some big, bold, marches-to-the-beat-of-their-ow-drum sort of person. Meanwhile I felt unmemorable and generic, like a blank canvas. I didn’t see any real reason to figure out what it meant to be who I really was – because compared to this person I was spending all my time and energy with, who I really was didn’t seem all that interesting.
Thankfully now, I know better.
Here’s the thing. It takes real courage to get to know who you, what you want and need in this life, and to stay true to those things – no matter what that looks like.
If you see yourself as ‘generic’ or ‘neutral’ and get too used to stepping into the roles that others need you to play, you don’t leave yourself much room to explore your true identity. To get to know yourself in a meaningful way. To tap into your intuition. To figure out how you really feel, or what it was that you truly want in this life.
And the truth if you deserve to uncover those details and understand them forwards and backwards, so you can make decisions that let you experience more of them, more often. Because you are no less special, or worthy of love and support than someone whose wants feel wackier, whose personality feels louder, or whose freak flag flies higher.
Choose to get to know the ins and outs of who you are, and honor that person – even if the details change over time. It may take a lifetime, but I promise it's worthwhile.
Because whether that person loves quiet Friday nights in, wild nights on the town, or something in between, she’s a person worth knowing, loving, and advocating for.
Now I want to hear from you:
Have you ever heard messages like “don’t be afraid to be yourself” or “march to the beat of your own drum”, and felt like that message wasn’t for you?
What’s one small thing you can do to retrain your brain, and start focusing on knowing yourself?