In our Top 5 Posts of 2008 series, this post is #1! The message is as important and valid today as it was when we first published it, so we’re pulling it out, dusting it off, and giving it another moment in the sun. Enjoy!
Historically, I smallenate myself, especially when confronted or questioned. I don’t offer ideas or thoughts or opinions, even when I have them in spades. I short-sell myself and short-circuit myself. I don’t stand up for myself, even if it makes me miserable. The opinions of others are more valuable than mine, especially if I feel like that other is better than me, either in general or in specific.
I’ve been trained to be small, because being small makes it easy to manipulate me, keep me down, and fill me with fear.
Today, I was writing an email to Marty, with whom I am collaborating on an art project. He asked if I had any ideas, and I responded with “I don’t have any ideas…” but then proceeded to write a paragraph of ideas. My initial response, deeply ingrained in me, was no – I’m not smart, I’m not creative, I have nothing to contribute – even when my contributions are requested and valued.
Another artist friend recently contradicted me when I said I wasn’t creative, because she saw in me creativity I express without awareness. My awareness was trained to hone in on the negative, on the lack, instead of on the fullness of myself.
But more and more these days, I find myself feeling and being creative, offering ideas, voicing those strong opinions I previously locked in, standing up for myself and not agreeing to things that go against my grain, being less and less afraid (and persisting more in the face of the fears that remain) – honoring my bigger self within.
In the lovely lyrical words of John Mayer:
Someday I’ll fly
Someday I’ll soar
Someday I’ll be so damn much more
Cause I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for…
I think my ‘someday’ is now.
I wrote that post four years ago.
Where could you be in four years if you decided today not to smallenate yourself anymore?