How many times have you felt the need keep playing small in order to make other people happy?
I’ve done it a thousand times.
I did it a lot when I first hung my shingle out in the blogging world, having a Twitter account for each of my varying interests. I was the crafter over here, the vegetarian over there, and the community builder way over in the distance.
It was fun for a while; being super niched in allowed me to find a lot of people who were super into that one thing that I was also super into. But it also felt extremely fragmented and more than a little exhausting.
Introducing myself to others at events became a game of “who should I be today?”
Posting online became an exhausting mental debate about what thing belonged where.
In my attempt to be what I thought other people wanted, I was left feeling scattered and annoyed.
This mentality was actually doing me more harm than good.
And it reminded me of something that I read in Marianne Williamson’s, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles:
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. 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.
The first time I read that, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But the more I am exposed to it and the more I let her words sit and marinade, the more I love them.
Playing small doesn’t do anyone a bit of good. It makes YOU feel angry, fractured, and resentful. It prevents others from really knowing who you are at your core. And it leaves the world with a little less sparkle.
And lord knows that we need all the sparkle in today’s world.
I give you permission.
To march to your own beat.
To be yourself.
To shine brighter than a pile of glitter on a gorgeously sunny day.