As an Australian woman I have learnt to play down my successes and be humble in my accomplishments. Heaven forbid people think that I am ‘full of myself’. People won’t like me if I ‘think I am better than them’. And I must remember not to make people feel bad by being better/smarter/faster/shining more brightly than them.
Being proud of accomplishments or standing confidently in my own power feels really uncomfortable, like I am just waiting to be shot down. When you play small by pretending to be less than you are, you are really just trying to avoid the pain that might come from standing out, because what if your fail??
The rules and more importantly the fear that supports you following the rules is ultimately there for your survival. After all an individual that does not stick with the group will not have the protection of the group – this could well lead to death or starvation – if you were living in the desert or jungle. Belonging to the group was a very useful survival mechanism in our evolutionary past.
Chances are you are not at risk of imminent death from a lion and if you are reading this article I would presume your basic survival requirements are met. Now your focus according to Maslow is on your achievements and beyond that on you self-actualizing into a higher purpose.
If you are waiting for someone to give you permission to shine you could be waiting a very long time.
“It’s up to you to let your light shine, don’t wait for someone else to turn the spotlight on.”
How to let your light shine
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable even when it is positive change. Rather than focusing on what could go wrong why not ask “What could go right?” And Breathe!
- Spend time distinguishing between what you think you SHOULD want and what the REALLY want. In the business of striving it can be easy to lose touch with what you really desire and often get this confused with what others desire for you.
- Spend time alone. This is the best way to hear your inner guidance talking to you.
- Own your choices. Even when everything appears to be going wrong, you have a choice. Even when things seem out of your control you have a choice on how you react.
- Make a decision. Indecisiveness is simply fear holding you back.
- Practice gratitude and self-acceptance. Until you accept where you are you will not be able to move to where you want to be.
- Be willing to let go of what you thought was important but in reality is holding you back. This might be old friends or colleagues who don’t like the idea of you surpassing them or being different to the ‘old you’.
- Self care. Playing the martyr is a common way to continue to play small and hide. Put yourself first whether that be taking time to relax, spending money on pretty things that make you smile or saying ‘no’ when you don’t have the time, energy or interest in doing something.
- Surround yourself with people who are bold and confident and not threatened by your power. People who celebrate your success with gusto and urge you to step out of your comfort zone and to chase your dreams.