All my life I have played small in order to not make other people feel insecure. I never wanted to stand out and I would go to great lengths to avoid that happening.
Case in point? Back in 2005 when I auditioned for the Moulin Rouge in Paris, I got down to the last five girls. But my best friend (let’s call her Naomi) didn’t. I felt awful. I was so worried about protecting her that I even started deliberately not dancing as well. I didn’t want Naomi to feel inadequate, so I pulled myself right back. In that moment, I was shrinking, clamming a lid over my light.
When I found out I got accepted, I remember my first thought being “Oh no, I hope Naomi is ok!” I didn’t even really stop to celebrate the fact that I had just been accepted into the Moulin Rouge in Paris — it’s a massive deal in a professional dancer’s world and I completely missed it.
This ‘playing small’ business has been a bit of a recurring theme for me. A few months ago, I had a reading with Ophira — one-half of the amazing Astro Twins. The session was awesome, with loads of aha moments and potent insights. But one of the most profound things she said to me that really hit home was that in my past lives, I was always the second best, the supporting actress. Never the star but always the sidekick, I never got my turn to shine. She then informed me that I have come back in this lifetime to learn how to be okay with my own greatness. To figure out how to sit comfortably in my own personal fabulous-ness and finally let myself shine.
This all resonated so deeply with me. I could feel the truth of her words echoing in my body. I asked myself how to improve your life Melissa?
After my session, this quote by the amazing Marianne Williamson came to mind:
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 and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
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.
Even as I sit here and write this post, I feel uncomfortable.
- “What if people think I’m bragging or that I’m up myself?”
- “Maybe I shouldn’t post it? “
- “Maybe it’s better if I shrink down and delete this post?”
Shhhhhhhhh, Mean Girl!
Celebrating how truly great you are can be a massive challenge. In fact, it can trigger a lot of stuff to start bubbling up — in both yourself and those around you. It’s tough to let your light shine, to really own it.
But the thing is, it’s really necessary if you want to step into your power and embody your full self.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be the best at everything, or that you need to suddenly live your life in the spotlight. All I am saying is that you need to shine and celebrate your greatness, whatever that may look like for you.
We also need to start celebrating our greatness every day, not just when we kick big goals like launching a product, finishing uni, buy our first home or getting married. Celebrate the little things that happen. Like letting go of an old limiting belief. Closing the door on your Mean Girl or choose love over fear when you would normally be swept up in anxiety.
Those precious small-scale moments are equally as important to celebrate as the big ones. And they’re a truly powerful way to start allowing yourself to expand into your full potential.
Now my question to you my darling is this: Do you shrink in order to make sure others don’t feel inadequate? Open your heart, be vulnerable and share with me in the comments below.
I want to challenge you to shine brighter today. Let your greatness pour out of every cell in your entire body, feel that flow of energy and revel in your divine feminine goddess greatness. And if there’s someone in your life who you feel could benefit from stepping up and owning their light, please spread the love and share this article with them.
Thank you so much for being so generous in your comments. Your insights help so many others in our tribe.
Yes! I could relate to your article. I had my first baby 3 months ago and he is very happy and quite settled and when other mums (whose babies might not be as settled) comment I feel like I have to highlight and share his unsettled moments because otherwise I feel bad! I’m proud of my son’s temperament but when speaking with other mums I start to feel guilty which is ridiculous!! Thankyou for your article! I’m going to stay in the moment with my son and feel proud and enjoy his great personality while I can!
HELL YEAH, BABY!
Celebrate that fact that your amazing son is settled. Don’t shrink because you feel bad, and remember how other people react is none of your business. You just keep being your beautiful shiny self my darling.
I just came across your blog. I have to let you know that it is not only absolutely beautiful but your insights and words are so touching. Maybe it is because I feel that I can relate to A LOT of what you say… One of my friends actually made me a picture with this exact quote to hang on my wall to remind me that it is ok to take up space. I’m still struggling with low self-confidence from events in the past, but do realize that if I want to become a teacher and help my students shine, I will have to practice what I preach… Thank you for the reminder Melissa. Xo
Thank you so much for your beautiful words Lucie.
My darling you are right…if you want your students to shine you will have to lead the way. Let go of what happened in the past, it no longer serves you. You are born to shine…don’t forget it 😉
I love this, a word in season! After living a life that resembled a bit of a sitcom, and so much pain suffering seemed like the only option, I’ve come to a place where I’m starting to heal and stumbled across your website at an amazing time in my life. So need to remember to celebrate how far I’ve come then lament over where I have yet to go. Inspiring 🙂 A long journey ahead but it’s begun to look like an exciting one! Thank you x
All to familiar with these feelings. I finished high school last year and came in the top six per cent of the state. Unfortunately my partner, who I’ve been with since we were 13 didn’t go so well, so I never even mentioned to my friends or family that I had done so well. This post has finally taught that it is okay to be proud of myself. I knew my partner would be happy for me, and if I had told him I’m sure we would have celebrated. I think it takes a lot of faith in yourself and your relationships to celebrate your greatness. Thank you for your beautiful words Melissa.
I really liked you article.
I realized that some patterns are repeating in my life, for example I always procrastinate in studies and then the bad grades hit me like a knife. During the exams my mind tells me that I’m really good or relly bad, it depends on the discipline. I have been thinkig about it and notice that when I was a child and young teenager, my grades were amazing, I used to be the geek all the time, the everything changed. I start to think that people were greater than me and start playin small. I know my powers, but sometimes it’s difficult to accept and acknowledge it. It’s not easy. Now I’m commited with myself to change for good. I started a 21 days challenge.
Thanks, Fabiola Christovão
I do this all the time, I’ve realised. Not only with my colleagues and friends, but also even with my family! I am always subtly aware that I must not shine too much lest I stand out and make others feel uncomfortable or ‘less than’. But the thing is, that only makes me miserable and I give off that vibe! It’s time I embraced being authentically me, without apology 🙂 Thanks for a great post, Melissa!
I discovered that I have been playing small for a very long time. I want people to like me so I’m always the supporting cast member in life. Never the star. I recently had surgery and although I have hard moments I get worse when anybody asks how I’m doing. The pain is greater than it really is. I become the best sick person ever. I admit I like people paying attention to me for once. I’m the star, not the sidekick. I need to find my center stage and own it.
Hell yeah sista! This is your time to shine Angela! You don’t need to play the supporting role anymore, that story is over.
Go for it!