‘You’re too intense Em!’*
*vulnerability alert: personal post

You’re too affectionate Em, it’s too intense. Find a boyfriend.
You want too much Em, you’re too demanding, just chill out okay.
Your love is too intense, I can’t receive it all.
You’re a force of nature, like a hurricane that comes in and whips everything up. It’s too much for me.

Ouch. Statements I have heard most of my life from friends, lovers, family, partners.

I used to respond by closing down in hurt, or at least turning down my intensity. Like it was something to be ashamed of, a burden.

Then as I worked on myself, I started accepting that this is who I am. I have been like this since I was a toddler – voracious, passionate, seeking, bursting with life and love. And in recent years I’ve come to love my intensity and gradually accept that it’s just not for everyone.

I wouldn’t say I’m an imposing or dominating person. I know how to be still, silent, listen and hold others. I am very transparent, like an open book with those to whom I’m close.

I am also intense

Intense blogNothing in half measures. When I love someone, I love them ALOT. I don’t hold back. I fall in love swiftly and deeply. I moved in with one of my first loves after a week, a few months later we travelled overseas together for 3 months. We were still teenagers.

When I’m with someone, I want as much time with them as I can to connect intimately. In fact, while I do love time alone, I can never have too much connection, too much intimacy (my husband is laughing knowingly at this point).

Fortunately I’ve found someone who can hold my intensity – he’s like a cosmic sky in which I can dance, a vast ocean in which I can create waves without threat of overwhelming. And in his incredible capacity for vulnerability, he can open to the flood that is my love.

I’m grateful for finding someone who not only can deal with my intensity but appreciates it. I’m aware that there may be people out there though who’ve never really felt accepted in their intensity. So this is for you…

There is nothing wrong with you

In fact you are rare and much needed in this, at times, grey world of guarded hearts and fearful motivations. The world needs your exuberance, your heart-on-sleeve approach, your bold love, your desire to connect.

If you’ve been pushed away, rejected one too many times, let yourself acknowledge the hurt that is there. If you have the capacity for massive states of love, you can and will also feel profound depths of hurt.

Notice how you can embrace both the hurt of being rejected and the invincible hope and ability to continuing loving. Opening to the hurt just adds depth, it’s not the same as saying they’re right, I’m too intense. In fact, you need to…

Accept that some can’t handle your intensity

And that doesn’t mean they don’t love you, it doesn’t even mean they don’t want you as a friend, lover etc. More often than not it means the intensity of your passion and love brings up confronting issues or aspects of themselves, and they’re either ill-equipped or unwilling to face these.

You bring a fire and it burns heavily entrenched patterns, it threatens to awaken parts in people that want to remain comfortably asleep. Some welcome this and want it, others just don’t. This is no reflection of you, but more about what they want.

Different people in our life play different roles, and if someone can’t deal with your intensity but meets you in other ways, just keep the intensity – whether it’s affection, deep conversations, or passion – for others who welcome it. Along this line, it’s worth asking yourself, do you…

Attract people who can handle your intensity

intense life 2Are you unconsciously playing out old patterns of being rejected by attracting exactly those people who will reject your intensity because they can’t handle it? Is there a self-sabotage mechanism at play here?

Perhaps you don’t know what it feels like to be truly received and met. Noticing this is the first step to breaking out of it and attracting people who can embrace and meet your intensity. You may also want to ask yourself, do you welcome other people’s intensity?

Balancing intensity with vulnerability

What are you like around other intense people? Do you open with the relief of being met or run away? If you avoid others who are extremely passionate, loving and open, maybe your own intensity is partly a protection against feeling vulnerable yourself.

If you’re capable of giving a whole lot of love but not receiving it, or helping others to open but not able to be transparent yourself, then something is out of whack. Your journey’s not so much about being matched and accepted in your intensity, but feeling safe to be vulnerable.

I hope I’m not alone here!

I have to admit this is one of the most personal posts I’ve written, and I do feel vulnerable putting it out there. Somewhere inside I still believe that I’m the only one who feels this way, and gets the ‘you’re too intense’ message…

So I would LOVE to hear from those who resonate in the comments below.

And if you liked this post and want to receive more like it, plus some great free resources on relationships, sign up here to my e-list.

15 replies
  1. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    Hi Emma, I love your intensity and the way you describe it. I would add to this with my own experience of actually making myself sick with CFS through holding back my intensity. I feel it like the river of life flowing through me and when I hold it back through fear of judgement or some such control mechanism I can have headaches and belly aches and physical pain. When I open to this force that is my passion, my creative energy, my desire for truth and real ness, I feel ALIVE and physically amazing.
    Many of my clients with anxiety or depression also find great relief in their symptoms when they change their relationship to intensity.
    You are not alone and you describe it so well. This is a sweet post thanks Samantha xox

  2. Emma Swan
    Emma Swan says:

    Hey Samantha, thanks for sharing your experience with holding back your intensity and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I totally concur with feeling amazing and alive when the intensity of my passion flows through me. Thanks for your insights and support x

  3. Simon Elmaleh
    Simon Elmaleh says:

    He Emma :)
    What an AMAZING AMAZING post, I’m blown away at how you described it all, I feel very much the same in just about all those ways and more, only you seem to have been able to open to it and not run. That’s my problem exactly, it’s actually so dysfunctional that somehow I actually unknowingly reject it. I actually push people away and have been rejected so much so through this dysfunction it hurts so much to embrace it. There so much fear to really show people who I am, even when the matching does comes along, I’m still held back and lay dormant. I love love and so much so, love giving In Jupiterian proportions, not just love but really anything. My loyalty is unbound but somehow the fear to commit and push through boundaries makes me run and hide therefore, therefore not being loyal st all.
    Somehow I’m feeling writing this now, my intensity and fear of it has been so dampened I have not been able to truly express or represent my most vulnerable parts.

    Thank you for sharing yourself and experiences with us I felt like you were talking to me personally. Thank you for inspiring me to be more of what I am. I wish someday this will change.
    With so much Adoration, love and respect
    Thank you
    Infinite love

    • Emma Swan
      Emma Swan says:

      Hi Simon, I’m so moved by your comment and sharing of your experience. Your intensity is so vivid, and I also feel your confusion and pain. I hope just by voicing it starts making it easier to move through the fear and accept the magnitude of what you have to give.
      Before I could share it openly with others, I had to make friends inside myself both with the intensity of my passion and love, AND the possibility of hurt and rejection. It’s like trusting that if you can open right up and experience massive states of love, then you can also be with the hurt without feeling like your going to be destroyed.
      I share these experiences in the hope that someone will recognise them in their own life and not feel so alone. So I’m really touched you gained so much from the post, and have utmost faith you’ll find a way to embrace and bring forth the unique flavour of your intensity. Love Emma xx

  4. Cecilia Moorcroft
    Cecilia Moorcroft says:

    I love this Emma… I’ve had a challenging relationship with my intensity and it’s such a relief when I meet someone who can match it. There is definitely a belief that it’s too much, that it will scare people and I’ve spent a lot of energy in my life trying to dampen it or control it. I have to say, I think it’s getting better, I’m not quite as concerned with overwhelming people and in some ways, when I am my true big self, it gives permission to other people to embrace their bigness too. Thank you for this post, it’s beautiful to see your vulnerability and I’m grateful that you shared it.

    I especially love this line: “he’s like a cosmic sky in which I can dance, a vast ocean in which I can create waves without threat of overwhelming. And in his incredible capacity for vulnerability, he can open to the flood that is my love.”


    • Emma Swan
      Emma Swan says:

      Thanks Cecilia. It’s great to hear of your experiences with trying to ‘manage’ your intensity as well as gradually becoming better friends with it. It is amazing how much energy we use trying to control or suppress it!
      I’m really glad to hear you’re having experiences of others embracing their intensity when you do too. That’s awesome! It is such a relief when someone can match or even hold us in our bigness. Much love xx

  5. Corinne
    Corinne says:

    Awesome! I’m learning to embrace my intensity and not hide it. Definitely resonates. I have the belief too that I can’t be matched, but realized it was just an excuse to keep hiding. No more! Rushing ferocious and joyous waves of excitement. I also liked what you said about saving the intensity for those who want it. In my new found intensity-or-death phase :-) I’ve had the mindset of “well, if they don’t like it they’ll leave.” But I like the level of refinement that comes with the calibration of intensity. Thanks for being vulnerable.

    • Emma Swan
      Emma Swan says:

      Great to hear that you’re learning to embrace your intensity Corinne. I also know that ‘no one can be match me’ belief – it got in the way with me too for a while. ‘Intensity-or-death’ phase – love it. Enjoy your ferocious and joyous waves of excitement!

  6. Julie
    Julie says:

    I’ve had this problem all my life, you’ve nailed the scenarios so well Balancing intensity with vulnerability – geez, where to start on this problem! It’s been so difficult to balance this because, as you say, intense people get hurt too. It’s true that you end up with the ability to hold a lot of depth, but getting to that point is really difficult. It’s like you run the gauntlet of winds of sensitivity in order to get there. And it took a long time to understand that I was intense – I didn’t really understand what that meant – I just found life a struggle because I didn’t know how to deal with me being me. I had to step back and separate my feelings from other peoples reactions – that was difficult. I’m still navigating my way because it’s hard to balance being vulnerable with being intense. Thanks Emma, it’s good to see it in print!

    • Emma Swan
      Emma Swan says:

      Thanks Julie. I’m finding embracing my intensity and vulnerability is really an art I expect to continue learning for the rest of my life. It’s like by stepping forward in all your intensity – being bold, passionate and visible – is such a vulnerable act. It’s a huge risk. And yet that’s what makes it so ALIVE. They are inseparable really.
      I agree it’s really challenging to get to the point where you can open to the depth of hurt, as well as the highs. And you make a good point about taking a long time to understand you were intense – I think most people who are naturally this way, don’t see themselves as ‘intense’ until the world starts reflecting it back. Thanks for sharing your experience Julie xx

  7. Angela
    Angela says:

    I can totally identify with this and have only recently accepted that my intensity is something to embrace and be proud of, and not a fault or flaw. It’s certainly brought rejection at times and been addressed as a short coming. So lovely to see this shared and find I’m not alone.

  8. Emma Swan
    Emma Swan says:

    Hi Liz, wow thanks for sharing your story. ‘Daunting and exhilarating’ is such a brilliant way to describe the process of embracing and coming forward in your intensity. But as you say, ‘little by little’… if you’ve had a challenging relationship with your intensity in the world, take it step by step, unleashing a bit more each time with those you know can hold it. I’m so relieved to hear you have find someone who can. And yes, as you can see from the comments, there are many others walking alongside you on this path. Fiery love, Emma xx

  9. Beverley Drumm
    Beverley Drumm says:

    Awesome blog Emma! From one super-intense, super-charged, magnificent woman to another – thank you for mirroring how I feel and discussing the issues it brings up (“you’re too intense”, “your light’s too bright”, “the sex was too transcendent”, “there’s an imbalance between us”). The more I’ve embraced my true nature – which is blindingly intense and passionately loving – the more alive and empowered I’ve felt, and the more – recently anyhow – men have just virtually richoted away from me. This doesn’t leave me feeling less and I’ll never stop loving and living with my whole heart and soul, but your blog does prompt me to be clear about attracting men who can – at the least – match me – in future, and affirm there is nothing wrong with how I am. xxx

    • Emma Swan
      Emma Swan says:

      Beverley, thank you for sharing your experiences so vividly. It’s an honour to act as a mirror for such a magnificent woman as yourself. I love your blindingly intense and passionately loving nature. As you say, it’s quite a process to not only own it and embrace it yourself, but then to attract those who can do the same. I love hearing, that despite your recent pain, you won’t stop loving and living so fully. And I have no doubt you will attract men in the future who will not only match you, but stretch you beyond your wildest imaginings. xx


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  1. […] It can be terrifying facing such parts of ourselves, not to mention the challenge of ignoring the messages we get from our community that ‘being intense is not okay‘. […]

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