This blog originally appeared on The Serendipitous Soul, home to SheHive's Mindfulness Coach, Jennifer Raybaud.
Yesterday on Facebook I posted a quote and referred to another, the one I made reference to was by the famous American spiritual teacher, Marianne Williamson and it goes like this "Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."
This morning as I was lying in bed, I began thinking about when I've "played small" and a couple distinct times came to mind. I'm going to share one of those times because I think that as women (and of course this is the only perspective I'm privy to) we hold each other back WAY too often for some seriously petty reasons.
Earlier this year I was giving a presentation as part of a group. Several of us took turns sharing ideas and I can recall as if it were yesterday standing there, sharing and suddenly feeling uncomfortable, feeling judgment like I had never experienced before, the voice in my head, my darling inner critic, felt my dis-ease and since it's his job (yeah, he's a he to me) to keep me safe, he decided to "warn me" to "tone it down." "Don't be so energetic Raybaud, don't articulate those facts so much, don't use that word..." he was pretty thorough in about a moment's time. Incredible how much "he" can mess with me with less than a second or two ticking past.
Then the other "voice in my head", what I like to call "my higher-self" jumped in immediately, putting my critic in place. She said "No way! You don't play small for anyone, anymore." Just be yourself, it's not your problem." And away I went, continuing on with my presentation.
Now just so you don't think I was being egotistical, which by the way I didn't feel "puffed up" by this incident at all, in fact, I felt dismayed that fellow professionals would give me that vibe and that I almost "shrunk" to meet it but weeks after this had happened a woman who was in the same room ran into me. She brought up that day, brought up my presentation and brought up the fact that the feeling of judgment against me was palpable. It was so "there", that she felt it too. Yea, I knew it. Score one for the gut.
But you know what? I get it, I'm easy to judge in that space. I have been standing in front of people presenting almost my entire adult life. I have been teaching folks for years and I write and present my own materials several times a week so public speaking, which I know is a real bugger for most, isn't for me. So right there, I'm in a unique position.
I also have an interesting vocabulary, it's a culmination of the millions of books I've read in my life with a heaping helping of random trivia and I would be remiss not to cite the influence classic film and my affinity for "all things vintage", has had on it. Especially things from the 1920's - 1940's, I jokingly say that I speak in "Granny-isims" because I find myself using words from long ago at times. I adore words and those that know me, know this ALL too well.
I get it, I'm an easy target at times, but here's my issue. What the heck is wrong with us as women in making the choice not to celebrate one of us "rising" in any way, in any form, and at any occasion? It's not like the person doing well takes a piece of us away, I mean unless you feel that way and I would throw down the challenge that that says more about you than it does the object of your disdain.
We have to get real to get right and it begins with our objectively shining the "spotlight of awareness" on ourselves at times instead of blaming others while firmly entrenched in the role of victim.
It's time to stop playing small as individuals and consider "signing-up" to be a part of the team of women looking to aim higher. To cheer our collective body on. To want all of us to think and behave out of our highest selves at any given moment, and to utilize every drop of the divine gifts we've been given.
I'm done playing small. I mean it. 'Til the day I die. If you can't like, respect or love me the way I am, then Darlin', I don't need you in my life.
Proud member of the "Aim High - Watching Women Fly Club!"
Membership is free and by golly, we want you!
My hope is...you'll join us. <3