How to stop playing small and show up more powerfully

playing small
Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

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.

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