How to stop playing small and show up more powerfully

playing small
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Here is my favorite quote about playing small:

“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, fabulous?’

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is 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 other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

What is playing small?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “playing small”, it means hiding parts of yourself or settling for less because you don’t want to offend or eclipse others. Playing small is an insidious form of self-abandonment that puts others’ comfort ahead of your own liberation.

"Playing small" means hiding parts of yourself or settling for less because you don't want to offend or eclipse others. Click To Tweet

For example, you want to fit in with your group of friends so you stay small by counting calories and picking yourself apart. Truthfully, you love the way you look or want to explore more fulfilling topics of conversation.

Playing small can also mean settling for less than what you really want. That’s because you fear you won’t get it or feel unworthy of having your true desires fulfilled. You may also fear rejection from family and friends for enjoying a better quality of life than them.

Where have you been playing small in your life? And are you willing to show up more powerfully? Here are 5 ways.

1. Get honest with yourself.

Slow down and spend time getting to know yourself. What are your true desires and what lights you up and makes your heart sing?

Are you doing those things or depriving yourself of opportunities because they seem weird or too out there? Give yourself permission to explore those areas you’ve held yourself back from discovering.

2. Do things that scare you.

playing small

Instead of presenting a cultivated image, show up more vulnerably. Whether on social media or in conversations, reveal something about yourself that’s surprising.

That doesn’t mean pouring out your heart to everyone you meet. But share what makes you special. Stop denying your depth and power, and inspire others with your views and passions.

3. Stop playing small and ask for what you want.

Too often we limit ourselves by refusing to ask for what we really want. Due to taboos or limiting beliefs, we tell ourselves we can expect only a certain amount of joy, love, pleasure, success.

Too often we limit ourselves by refusing to ask for what we really want. Click To Tweet

Stretch your notion of what’s possible for your life. Get in touch with others who’ve accomplished what you desire to bring into your life. Expand your circle to invite in more broad-minded people.

4. Change your focus.

Many of us focus on what we don’t want or the difficulties in our lives. As a result, we get more of the same.

There’s a saying that what you resist persists. So, instead of negative focus on things that bring you down, let those things go as much as possible. Bring your attention instead to what you desire for your life.

Some people say it’s helpful to envision yourself as already having those things and feeling the emotions of that fulfilled state. That’s because wanting can produce a feeling of lack which perpetuates itself.

5. Stop playing small and make yourself a priority.

We’re no good for the world or anyone else if we’re running on an empty tank. Get serious about prioritizing your own needs instead of people pleasing.

Self-worth and self-love are essential components to a fulfilling life. Without those it’s impossible to achieve and receive what you want.

Simply put, you’ll believe you don’t deserve them and subconsciously sabotage your chances of getting them. If you’re looking for help on how to get your needs met, join the waiting list for my course.

How to stop overthinking and what makes us overthink

overthinking
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Many of us are plagued by overthinking, that hamster wheel of thoughts running around in our heads. Some call this “the committee”, that cacophony of voices steering them in different directions.

Perhaps you ruminate over something you said or should have said. Wake up in a cold sweat over some cringe-worthy episode back in elementary school. Or is that just me?

Often, overthinking negatively affects quality of life and prevents us from getting what we want. It creates anxiety and depresses our mood, taking away the levity and playfulness that help us experience joy.

So, how do we overcome overthinking? Here are six ways.

1. Observe your thoughts.

Rather than letting your overthinking take control, observe when it occurs without judgment. This will help you detach from the ruminating thoughts rather than feeling ruled by them.

2. Practice mindfulness to combat overthinking.

Learning to meditate for ten or more minutes per day will help slow ruminating thoughts. Daily meditation can rewire your brain to work more efficiently and effectively.

If you are diligent with your practice you should notice a difference in your thought patterns over time. They’ll become less oppressive and frantic and more slowed down and organized.

3. Do shadow work.

This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s a response to the common self-help advice to challenge our thoughts. Because that advice has never worked for me.

I’ve learned to do the opposite and go deep into the worst-case scenario. What is the worst that could happen? Then entertain that thought and how you would feel, without rationalizing.

For example, don’t say you would get over it and move on. That may be true, but the idea is to feel the disappointment and pain. Acknowledging your worst fears helps you move through them more effectively than avoiding them.

4. Do a brain dump to overcome overthinking.

overthinking

This is a journaling exercise in which you pour out everything you’re thinking onto a blank page. The act of getting things out of your brain and onto paper has a cathartic effect and helps organize those thoughts into something coherent.

If writing is not your thing, you can record a voice memo of your brain dump instead.

5. Take time to sit and think.

Many successful entrepreneurs schedule time in their schedules to simply sit and think. They get their best ideas from these sessions as their thoughts have space to flow without pressure.

Most overthinking comes when we feel constrained and stressed. Relieve some of that pressure by giving yourself a few minutes every day to let your thoughts meander.

6. Do something different.

Get out of the prison of overthinking by distracting yourself with another activity. Getting into your body and indulging the senses serves you best here.

Go for a walk, especially in nature, or move your body in some other way. Listen to some soothing or energetic music and take a dance break.

What causes overthinking?

Stress and anxiety can easily lead to overthinking. And you may be prone to ruminating thoughts when you feel unsupported and don’t take enough time for yourself.

Past trauma also leads to rumination. If you were raised without proper attention to your emotional or physical needs, you become hypervigilant.

That means you feel the need to consider all the outcomes (especially the worst ones) to keep yourself safe. If you let your guard down, your brain reasons, you put yourself at risk.

This is another way self-sabotage stems from a misguided sense of self-protection. For more on that topic, read here.

How to stop using self-sabotage to protect yourself

self-sabotage
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Did you know that self-sabotage is a misguided form of self-protection? Yes, self-sabotage is your inner child’s way of keeping you safe.

You may have wondered why you get in your own way so often. Especially if you’ve gone through any type of childhood trauma, you’ve become an expert in stopping yourself from getting what you want in life.

Those self-defeating behaviors may have worked at some point. But they no longer make sense and are holding you back from moving forward.

You may wonder how self-sabotage could ever be seen as a form of self-protection. Here are 4 ways.

1. Self-sabotage helps you avoid disappointment.

When we go after what we want, there’s always a chance we won’t get it. Rather than cope with the possible disappointment of falling short, self-sabotage “helps” us by compelling us to give up before we have the chance to fail.

2. It helps you avoid fear.

Almost anything worth doing that propels you forward in life requires overcoming fear. But life is so much easier inside the comfort zone.

Some of us were never taught the value and rewards of facing fears. We weren’t celebrated for our efforts, so the fear of putting ourselves out there feels insurmountable.

Self-sabotage helps us avoid this fear that feels like death to someone who never learned to navigate it.

3. It helps you avoid risk.

self-sabotage

Like fear, risk is another requirement on the road to an enhanced life. Self-development and relationships require risks like vulnerability and visibility.

As a child you may have been rewarded for being invisible, hiding your needs and feelings, and catering to others. Now that you’re called to show up as yourself, you may not know who that is.

Self-sabotage helps you avoid the risk of rejection for who you are. A risk that’s all too real because you experienced it as a child growing up in a system that negated your inner reality.

4. Self-sabotage helps you get your needs met.

When you grow up with unmet needs, it’s difficult to meet those needs yourself as an adult. Basic self care may elude you and you’re susceptible to burnout from not knowing when to stop on your way to a goal.

When self-sabotage presents you with the next distraction or compels you to give up before the finish line, it may be answering your need for rest.

Perhaps you need to ask for help or support or you’re moving in a direction that’s misaligned with your true heart desires.

How to stop self-sabotage

The reason these sabotaging tendencies are so hard to change (and why most self-help advice doesn’t work in the long run) is that they are subconscious.

What if instead of chastising ourselves for self-sabotage, we thanked our inner child for keeping us safe? Next time you go to berate your self-saboteur, treat her with kindness instead.

And become more conscious of her appearance in the following ways:

Perfectionism

Procrastination

Expecting the worst

Imposter syndrome

Excuses

Separate yourself from your inner saboteur and view her as a part of you that has good intentions. Then give her a hug, offer her a comfortable chair, and continue on your journey toward wholeness and personal integrity.

How to celebrate International Day of Beauty your way

beauty
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Beauty in our culture has been hijacked and made into something subjective. Instead of a source of joy, beauty has become something we try to obtain and live up to.

The concept of beauty has created pain for many women as they feel they fall short of its elusive standard. But I prefer the definition on my Moonly app: beauty is in everything that exists in the Universe and implies a way of being, creation, and meaning.

An aesthetics and cosmetology committee started the International Day of Beauty in 1995. But beauty encompasses so much more than physical appearance. Here are 4 ways to celebrate this day in a way that fulfills and enriches.

1. Care for your body.

I am not talking about a punishing exercise regime or denying yourself the pleasure of fine foods. Go for a luxurious massage, body wrap or polish, or treat your skin to a facial.

Indulge your body in a treatment that’s only meant to serve your own pleasure. Let go of the desire to tame your body into submission to some ideal.

Eat healthy food and exercise moderately because you love your body and want it to work for you for a long time. Not because you seek cultural acceptance or love by looking a certain way.

2. Care for your soul.

beauty

Nourish your soul with a time of meditation. Envision what you want and how you’ll feel when you have it. Take yourself on a retreat, either online or in person.

Visit an art gallery or other cultural spot to indulge your love of beauty. Give yourself a massage with essential oils. Take your time to experience the fullness of this act of self-love.

3. Indulge your senses.

Enjoy aromatherapy such as the scent of essential oils in your self-massage. Drink an herbal tea which will satisfy taste buds and relax you at the same time.

Fulfill your desire for visual beauty by adorning yourself with beautiful accessories and clothing that make you feel wonderful. Apply your makeup and do your hair as an act of self-love rather than to please others.

Listen to soothing music that calms and relaxes you. Or energetic rhythms that make you want to dance. Then dance as if no one is watching. Close your eyes to achieve the feeling of freedom and abandonment.

4. Connect and communicate.

Speak beautiful affirmations of self-approval and self-love. Reach out to like-minded women for deep authentic connection.

Express yourself fully instead of holding back parts of you that feel unacceptable. Embrace your power and magic instead of dimming your light.

The world needs your unique gifts, so have the courage to display them even when it feels audacious or uncomfortable. Especially then.

How to navigate rupture and repair in relationships

rupture and repair
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Have you ever felt a relationship go to the next level after you have a fight for the first time then come back together? This is the magic of rupture and repair, an essential component to healthy relationships.

The common ground you reach after the disagreement feels more solid. You feel grateful for the conflict because it’s allowed for an enhanced feeling of closeness and connection.

Even though it felt bad at the time, the rupture offered an opportunity to go deeper with the friendship or partnership. You feel like you know the person better and feel better about the relationship because it’s weathered a storm and come out intact and improved.

How does the concept of rupture and repair work? You may have done it already and if so you’ve demonstrated excellent emotional intelligence. Here are 4 healing actions that are usually involved.

rupture and repair

1. Apologize

It takes a good deal of humility to admit you’re wrong and apologize. Even when you’re not sure you’re wrong, apologizing goes a long way toward repairing a rupture in a relationship.

It shows the other person you’re willing to give something up for them. In this case, you care enough about them to sacrifice your need to be right.

2. Forgive

By the same token, receiving and accepting an apology is essential to successful rupture and repair. You inspire mistrust when you refuse to accept an apology and prefer instead to keep the rift going.

You may not be able to forgive yet and that’s okay. But denying any possibility of forgiveness means the relationship stays in rupture mode.

3. Understand

Ruptures often come from misunderstandings. If we seek to understand rather than taking offense we invite repair into the relationship.

4. Listen

Listening without prejudice to another person’s point of view will bring about repair. If we tone down our defensiveness and open our hearts to another person’s feelings, we increase connection.

Instead of identifying with a point of view, prioritize the relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon your beliefs, but resist the urge to dehumanize someone because they disagree with you.