The Truth About Being ‘Intimidating’ (And Why You Should Embrace It)

 Sophia Sinclair
Sophia Sinclair

I’ve come to realize that nowadays people use the word ‘intimidating’ for all the wrong reasons.

If you’re independent or successful or following your passion, you’re intimidating.

If you’re strong or tough and know how stand up for yourself, you’re intimidating.

If you’re a public figure and you have a few thousand followers, you’re intimidating.

If you’re doing anything that’s slightly unconventional or progressive, you’re intimidating.

I don’t have a problem with the word ‘intimidating,’ it’s good to know that what you do somehow makes people see you in a different light, or maybe even a bit powerful, but I have a problem with how this word affects your relationships. I have a problem with people who are afraid to approach you because they’re intimidated by you or people who can’t be honest with you because you intimidate them.

I always associated ‘intimidating’ with strength and respect not with fear and hostility. I never thought that being intimidating would push so many people away.

I never thought that being happy with yourself or working hard on impressing yourself instead of others was intimidating. I always thought it was authentic. I always thought that it’s the only way to live and it baffles me to know that when you truly learn to love yourself, people will find you intimidating, they will find you somehow repulsive because you have standards or because you demand respect.

Sometimes I think my life would be so much easier if I was more stoic; if I knew how to settle for draining jobs and mediocre relationships. If I knew how to shut up instead of saying too much and if I knew how to tell people what they want to hear instead of the truth.

But the more I think about it, I don’t know if I would’ve liked that person, I don’t know if I would’ve wanted to be around myself, if I would’ve liked to see my face in the mirror every morning knowing I’m betraying my own values, betraying my own heart. I don’t think I would’ve liked living disconnected from my heart or disconnected from my voice.

I find myself intimidated by a lot of people too, but I don’t run away from them, I don’t think they’re better than me, I try to learn from them, I try to talk to them to get some inspiration and I try to analyze how they react to criticism, how they react to people telling them they need to slow down, or they need to shut up or they need to just be ‘less intimidating.’

I still don’t think I’m intimidating, but if being myself or trying to swim against the tide is intimidating, then I’m going to try to be as intimidating as I can be.

Because one thing I’ve learned is that people will label you when they either want to be like you or want to bring you down. They will label what they don’t understand, what they can’t have, what they secretly wish they had and what they don’t really know how to be.

So if people constantly tell you ‘you’re intimidating’ — don’t take it as a bad sign, don’t try to change, because it’s so much better to be around people who find your intimidating qualities appealing and impressive than people who ask you to change because they don’t know how to deal with you or they’re trying to find ways to bring you down.

Because a lot of people secretly love that you’re intimidating and they see how far it’s getting you but they just don’t want it to exist so they can remain in control, so they can remain one step ahead.  Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Rania Naim is a poet and author of the new book All The Words I Should Have Said, available here.


Writing makes me feel alive. Words heal me.

Keep up with Rania on Instagram

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