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Balancing A Strong Personality

Do you have a strong personality, and if you do, how do you balance your public and private selves? Do you make a distinction? 

As you know, I deal with a great deal of performance anxiety, and I often deal with performance anxiety after the fact. For example: this weekend.

This past weekend was amazing and awesome and just the trip of a life time for this small-beans blogger. Best of all? I felt so comfortable with each person on the trip–everyone was inviting, genuine, complex, and had so much to offer to the group. I immediately felt at home with them. I chatted and shared and laughed and was myself around them. 

But was I too comfortable? Was I too “me” for this situation? Did my strong personality become overbearing?

I am at once totally comfortable with myself but also totally uneasy about my personality and behavioral tendencies.

I know how to behave in public, and I can reel in my personality enough, especially if someone else is backing off. But let’s be honest: I am a lot of personality, I have a lot to say, and when I get comfortable, I tend to let it all hang out. I don’t swear/cuss here, but I have a tendency to pepper my conversation with choice words. 

To some, I am charming and funny and just eccentric enough. They connect to my raw-ness, my dry humor, and my genuine interest. My intensity is part of my charm.

Others might see me as just simply “too much.” Of everything. They don’t find my humor funny, they think I am a know it all, I am too brash, too open, just too… much. My intensity is off putting.

I was talking to my mom yesterday about my trip, and I mentioned to her that I was starting to question if perhaps I had been too comfortable on the trip, and if I should have worn my “professional” hat more. I had put on my professional hat, particularly when we were in public areas representing Spyder, but when we retreated to the lodge, or were on our own, I let my guard down and was just Suz. (to be clear, both are Suz, one is just much more well spoken and far quieter).

Was that too much? Did I read situations wrong? What if they never invite me on another trip? Am I a horrible human being that no one will ever want to be around?

Ultimately, it comes down to this: 

Having a strong personality (as well as anxiety disorder) means that you are going to see both sides of the coin: you are going to be alternatively cool being you, questioning ever action you ever make after the fact, and, if you are really lucky (not), questioning your actions as you make them but not being able to stop! 

I know that I walked the line while in Tahoe, but upon reflection, I feel comfortable with who I was and how I acted in the various situations. Sometimes that might be a bit much for people! But I can’t apologize for who I am–it is one of my best qualities, after all. 

Strong personalities can be a mixed bag. Yes, our mouths can get us into trouble (boy, has mine!), but we also are the greatest champions of causes, large and small. You need your drink at a restaurant? Send me in. Someone not treating you right? I’ll make it right. 

You just have to learn when to let your strong personality out, and when to tell to take a moment and wait patiently. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong, but I would rather speak up with my feelings than lose the opportunity. I have done that as well, and of all the things in life, not sticking up for myself (or others) are my only regrets. 

Are you comfortable being yourself? Suz looks at living with a strong personality #sweatpink Click To Tweet

Are you comfortable being yourself? I am, for the most part… but I also know that “Suz” isn’t for every one. That often leaves me questioning myself after the fact when I feel that I have let my guard down perhaps a bit too much. 

What about you? Are you comfortable being yourself?

Do you have a public face and a less guarded private face? 

Do you have a strong personality?

Joining Amanda for Thinking Out Loud!

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  • Reply Allie

    OMG exactly this!!! I struggle with the same thing and, after I came home from a running/blog retreat I was like “ugh, I think I was just too much!” But, that is who I am and, as I get older, I don’t try to wear my professional hat as much. Love this so much!!

    May 16, 2017 at 5:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I so wish I could have gone on that retreat with you. That would have been the best.

      May 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    While I don’t think I necessarily have a strong personality, I definitely act differently in different situations. Its not really intentional, I just become more introverted when Im around new people or in certain settings. I sometimes wish I could be a little more of “myself” in those situations!

    May 16, 2017 at 5:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Sometimes I get really introverted, but when I’m comfy, its all out there.

      May 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm
  • Reply Emily @ My Healthyish Life

    I think about this a lot—although I don’t have what I consider a strong personality. I often rethink situations in my head and wonder how I was perceived…too quiet, off-base, young, etc. Especially at work and after-work events (with work people), I have to learn how to balance the professional and personal hats.

    May 16, 2017 at 6:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This is especially a consideration when you are young and in a new career path. You got it girl.

      May 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm
  • Reply jen

    I’ve met you, I ‘got’ yo and I think you’re perfect!

    May 16, 2017 at 6:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And you are pretty awesome yourself!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm
  • Reply Jamie@TheMomGene

    Oooooohhhhh yes. I learned early on in life that I could be “a bit much.” It warped me. I spent a lot of time reigning it in and then a lot of time learning to let it out again. I think the kicker is that if I could stop caring how people receive me, I’d be a lot better at letting it all out there, within reason of course. There is a time and a place for everything. But I worry too much about the other person/people in the scenario so I’m constantly filtering this kind of inner monologue, “Am I too loud? Did that comment just go too far? Wait, am I standing up for myself enough?” I zigzag all across the lines. But being a mom has made me better at staying genuine no matter what, because that’s what I want to model for my kids.

    May 16, 2017 at 7:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I am very interested in what I will be like as a mom. I wonder if it will soften me!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    Inspired or Intimidated by you—that is truly perfect true. It always has been!
    It isn’t really a question or a choice, its a statement and its perfect!

    The personality and attitude? again, so very true!

    You are Susie (not a clone or a someone-else-wannabee) and you are OUR Susie. You get what you pay for…….. but I’d give you a decaf coffee and an hour to yourself first…….just sayin’

    May 16, 2017 at 7:05 am
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    I totally understand this in slightly different ways! I joke that there is “Julie Wunder” and then just me. I think that since I was on tv for so long here people expect me to like that all the time and I worry regular old me isn’t near as fancy or funny. 🙂

    May 16, 2017 at 7:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      But does she need to be as fancy? I bet she is still as funny.

      May 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    I have, or used to have, two very different ways of being myself. One was very southernly controlled, maybe “Southern Proppa” is a better way of putting it.

    In the banking business, I was very professional and could joust with the best of them.

    As a preschool teacher, I could laugh, sit on the floor and color inside the lines– I was more “the real me” or at least less controlled. As a teacher, I realized that kids could read me as quickly as I could read them.
    I was honest and fun, but still a teacher and I knew what my real job was–to teach preschoolers when to reign in their personalities– when they were in school, in public and with others who mattered as much as they did, to stand up for themselves, but to be fair to others.
    Remember the book, “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum? That was dead-on correct.
    You are Susie, you are WHO you are. If you don’t act like Susie, I’m going to start asking you “are you okay? are you sick? Do I need to check in with your doctor?” and then I’m going to start checking your color, to see if you are grey

    May 16, 2017 at 7:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And you know how I feel about that.
      I love all of your versions, except for the one that we have discussed in the past.

      May 16, 2017 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    I have not met you in person (yet!) but I do imagine you are quirky and fun just the way you come across in your blog. That’s what makes you you and I wouldn’t change a thing!

    May 16, 2017 at 7:32 am
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I have a “big” personality as well–which has taken me years to grow into. I’m still somewhat insecure, tho! Sometimes I walk away from an encounter and feel worried that I offended the person. It’s a weird balance. My personality fits my job well, though. I don’t have much subtlety!

    May 16, 2017 at 7:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That’s what makes me a good personal trainer too lol

      May 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    Who gives a hoot how “others” see you….How do you see yourself is what matters most. You are not TOO anything, other than too amazing. <3

    May 16, 2017 at 7:37 am
  • Reply Suzy

    Good Lord, we are the same person. The only thing I’ve got on me is my age and experience and that has really helped me sink my feet into who I am. But even despite the huge age gap between the two of us, and I’ve always told you this, you are far beyond your years for your biological age and life experience.

    May 16, 2017 at 8:45 am
  • Reply Becca

    I 100% struggle with this- fearing judgement for being my true self. But (something I’m working on) never apologize for who you are

    May 16, 2017 at 8:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Never ever apologize for who you are. Because you are awesome!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply Stephanie Suire

    When we met last summer, one of the things that drew me to you was your strong personality. I love that you are comfortable being yourself around people you have just met. As for me, I think I try to me more extroverted in public situations (conferences, trips, etc.) but it wears me out after a few days and I am glad to revert back to my introverted self when I get home.

    May 16, 2017 at 8:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I am the same way. ANd I remember that round table… LOL

      May 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply Emily

    This totally 100% reminds me of my wonderful sister who has taught me more about being honest with your feelings and thinking out loud instead of holding it all inside. God has so marvelously used her to bring me out of hiding and reveal some of the feelings and things I struggle with; and I will be always so grateful for that. I’m really thankful for people like you and my sister, because we need you to bring us out and get us to talk and be okay with using our voice. <3

    May 16, 2017 at 9:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yes! Use your voice! We love it when people use their voice! I’m glad your sister brings it out in you!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply

    I think you should always be yourself and who cares if its to much for some people! Im shy and very reserved in public. It takes a very long time for me to be comfortable around people! I wish I were more like you.

    May 16, 2017 at 9:09 am
  • Reply Linda @ Veganosity

    I met you at a blogger product tasting review and you were the loudest, funniest, and cutest woman in the room. I could see some of the women pulling back from your boisterous personality. I, on the other hand, thought you were a ton of fun and I loved your wit and slight sarcasm. It took me many, many years to learn that when people have a problem with my personality, it’s THEIR problem. You do you, Susie, because you’re awesome just the way you are. xoxo

    May 16, 2017 at 9:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahahaha I love this. And I love that you were drawn to me! I love you too!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday

    I have the performance anxiety, but it’s a different flavor. Around people my age, it’s more because even though I am 21, I bear a lot more similarity to someone is around 40… and sometimes 80. And around older people, I’m afraid I come off as unintelligent or space-y because I typically only speak when I feel like I have important, well-formed things to say. Fortunately, those both go away once I know people well, but you can’t only interact with the people you know.

    May 16, 2017 at 9:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think you are such a fabulous soul–but I also know what it is like to be incredibly shy and need to be given the chance to speak. I think that is why we work–I gave you that first chance to speak and then forced you to take it. I also understand where you are coming from in a way that few do!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply Christina @

    I’m really shy, so I more worry that I was too boring / didn’t let my personality show at all when I meet new people…I’m trying not to care as much what peopple think is a process!

    May 16, 2017 at 9:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is amazing how much we care about what other people think and how it can influence us!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply Cora

    I think this is something we can all relate to – though maybe on opposite ends. Some may feel guilty that they are just too quiet and can’t get themselves to be seen, even when they feel they are being totally outright. That’s kind of like me – though ironically I feel guilty when I feel like I’ve been “too much,” as well. I think you nailed it most importantly when you said we/you just need to learn when and where to let out those different aspects of your personality. But then when it all comes down to it, you just have to be you. Ya know? We only have one life, and if trying to be someone else or downplay the personality we really feel best expressing is going to take extra energy or anguish, then it just isn’t worth it. People who get to know us will learn that we all have different parts of our personality, and people who love you know that underneath any sort of strong personality is always someone who is feeling and caring extremely deeply.

    May 16, 2017 at 9:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Truly truly. I get so passionate that I can forget to have as much candor as I “should.” But people should know that I am involved and invested!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    I have almost the opposite problem. My professional side is far more commanding and outspoken than my non-professional self. I’m more introverted and quiet in non-work settings. But honestly, others are never as judgemental as we are on our own selves!

    May 16, 2017 at 9:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ain’t that the truth!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner

    I don’t really consider myself to have a strong personality per se (at least, not in the way that yours is strong), but I do worry that my sense of humor or way of speaking is off-putting to people. I definitely reel it in sometimes. That being said, there’s plenty of people that I thought didn’t like me or I had made a bad impression on, and that turned out not to be true at all. We’re our own worst critics and most people don’t notice the things we notice!

    May 16, 2017 at 9:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So true. We are always our own worst enemy! We just need to let ourselves be!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm
  • Reply Jo @ Living Mint Green

    I wouldn’t say I have a strong personality – my demeanor is calm and relaxed. I definitely have a public/professional “me” and a ‘real/uncensored’ me that my friends/ride or dies have the pleasure of experiencing. I don’t unleash around everyone because I know they couldn’t handle it. HAHA

    May 16, 2017 at 11:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That sounds like fun to me! Sign me up!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    Well, you know me… I don’t give a single fuck what people think about me. Yeah, I’m sure I’m too much for some… but that’s not my problem. I had a friend tell me a few years into our friendship that she thought I was intimidating at first. That cracked me up. At least it keeps people from bothering me in the gym. Lol!

    You do you! \m/

    May 16, 2017 at 11:20 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I have serious resting bitch face, as we know. I BET you are intimidating in the gym! But I love you!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    I can relate SO MUCH to everything you’ve said here.

    I think my performance anxiety and not wanting to be too “me” negatively impacted my barre audition. I refuse to beat myself up over it, but dang, it’s been a really good lesson to relearn for the future.

    I’m definitely not someone that everybody likes. For a long time I tried to myself so that everyone would like me, but that just felt fake. I’m much better at accepting that not everyone will like me, and the people who do are awesome.

    May 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Well, then I am awesome, because I think you are fabulous. I love your straight talk and genuine nature–you are one o fmy faves!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Liz

    This is a great post, Suz! I worry about that sometimes too, coming on too strongly and filterless at times. Thanks for sharing!

    May 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This is why I love you!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Emily @ Pizza and Pull-ups

    I tend to be really quiet and shy until I get to know people, so I frequently second guess how things went when I meet new people and wonder if I engaged enough, if they thought I was disinterested, etc. I like a strong personality that helps pull me out of my shell.

    May 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You need to come hang out with me!

      May 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    Most people tell me I’m intimidating. I’ve been hearing that my entire life and cannot for the life of understand why that is. I guess because I’m sort of inquisitive and unexpressive? IDK but I understand what you mean about feeling like you can be who you are around anyone without questioning it. Challenging indeed!

    May 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thus why I love you–I could immediately be myself around you!

      May 17, 2017 at 9:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I don’t care, I like you.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Hannah

    I tend towards saying I don’t have a strong personality because I’m very quiet, but I’m also extremely stubborn and if the right buttons (or sometimes wrong buttons) are pushed, the strong personality comes out. Sometimes I’m torn on whether I like that part of my personality or not – stubbornness is definitely a double-edged sword!

    May 16, 2017 at 7:52 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh girl I hear you. I think you are very strong, whether or not you have a “strong personality”!

      May 17, 2017 at 9:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hear you there…

      May 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Bethany

    I totally get this! I think it is why I tend to be more comfortable with a guys than girls. I like the blunt comments, honestly and dry humor.

    May 17, 2017 at 6:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh preach lady preach!

      May 17, 2017 at 8:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      #preach We would be friends tho, lol

      May 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm
  • Reply Rachel (LittleChefBigAppetite)

    I love this sentiment SOOO much! You do you!

    May 17, 2017 at 10:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Don’t mind if i do!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Chase the Red Grape

    You be you girl! That’s all you can be and that’s all you know how to be. Life is too short to be anything else apart from you. If it’s too much for some then maybe you just aren’t each others cup of tea – and that’s fine, we can’t please everyone… Nor should we try to!

    May 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm
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