Playing Small

On occasion, someone comes into my life around whom I make myself small.  It’s not something I know is happening until much later, usually, and therefore am not as apt to exit the relationship or learn how to respond differently to that particular person.

It happens in friendships, romance, business, even family.  My particular experiences have fallen into a couple of these categories.  I once dated someone who praised what he liked about me and ignored what he didn’t.  He wanted me to fit into this box of what he hoped I was, and when I couldn’t live up to this imaginary person he thought I should be I felt rejected and I berated myself.  Eventually I was able to see what was happening and I have chosen not to be with someone who didn’t see my own unique brightness.  I’ve also worked with people who emit a sense of needing to be in the know, to have all the right answers, at all times. I’ve caught myself pretending not to know something (“Oh, really!  How interesting!”) or just keeping quiet when really I do know the answer and it might be better.  Or at least a different, also valuable, idea.

No more.  I am not small.  I have important things to say.  I have experience and ideas and there are certain subjects on which I can claim to be an expert.  And that doesn’t make me egotistical – it’s honest.  You don’t get to say it all.  You don’t get to assume who I am or what I think or of what I am capable.  I do.  And I’m going to say so.

This quote is pretty well known but there is truly nothing better to share on this topic.  Thank you Marianne Williamson for reminding us that we are permitted to shine:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.