Why Are You Still Playing Small? ©2013 Joan M. Newcomb
Recently, I have noticed so many talented, creative, intelligent people living extremely limited lives. Are you one of them? Among the common complaints I've heard is: not having enough money, being dissatisfied in their jobs, unsatisfied in their relationships... sound familiar?
Some of the excuses for staying this way are - "There isn't enough money because of the economy!", "I can't quit my job, I'll never find another one!", or "If I change, my relationship will break up".
Or this one: "I want to be a famous ______ (writer, actor, singer, artist, fill in the blank), but _____ (I'm too old, my friends will hate me, it will take time away from my kids) ".
Every reason points at something outside of you, that is more powerful, that has more influence over your life, than you do.
So you live a quiet life, under the radar so no one can criticize you. You hide your light "under a bushel". You play small.
At this point, there's a narration running through your head as you read this. You may be getting huffy. What do you mean, I'm playing small? I'm working hard, I'm raising my kids, I'm doing the best I can!
I must be wrong, because you're trying so diligently to change your circumstances. Anyway, your reasons are not excuses, they're legitimate! There isn't enough time in the day left over to do more than you are doing. What you want to do requires more money and it's just not there right now. You have to wait until you're retired to do what you love. And it's true, the economy sucks, there aren't enough jobs, I'm too old to try something new, my husband/wife/boyfriend/children/parents/family/friends won't like it/will be upset/will hurt their feelings/be disappointed/laugh at me...
What's the payoff? Is it really peace and harmony in your home, at work, with other people? Or is it living with resentment at others who seem to be happier than you. The real result is unexpressed creativity, repressed feelings to the point of actual physical illness.
What would it be like if you really stepped forward and made those key changes? Is it too scary to imagine?
A clue that you are playing small is feeling angry, frustrated, or depressed. Feeling tired or a lack of energy. Eating too much, drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Spending too much - or too little! You could be depriving yourself of basic necessities, claiming that they're luxuries.
Who is really keeping you small? Is it really someone or something out there?
Up to this point I've been talking to it - the small you. It's the voice in your head that comes up with the excuses. It's the part of you that thinks it's keeping you safe by holding you back. It's the aspect of you that is saying, right now, "I'm not small, how dare you!"
It's a combination of brain cells and personality development. There's a cluster of cells on the left side of our brains that are responsible for organization, for reminding us to pick up bananas from the store, it remembers the rules for crossing the street. The thought processes get distorted over time, from family patterns, experiences growing up, to make up stories and project impressions that aren't true. These can be influenced by substances that affect brain chemistry, like sugar or caffeine.
All of my essays are aimed at the You that is the Essence of Who you really are. It's the part of you that is bigger than your problems, and bigger than your so-called life. You were You before you were born, will be You after your body dies, and You *are* You, even while living a seemingly small life!
When you feel in touch with You, you feel magnificient. You feel expansive. It's a creative high. It's happy with no explanation. You feel inner peace, even if you still have external challenges in your storyline.
How do you get there? How do you start playing big?
It begins with a choice. Choosing to make a commitment to your personal growth and expansion. When you do, all the excuses fall away. All the things you were afraid of evaporate. And, better yet, your changes have a positive ripple effect out into the world. You give permission to others to grow as well. Transforming your life is a healing to the whole planet.
If this resonates with you, I'm offering a summer course in basic Life Transformation techniques to support you in this process. It's eight weeks long, and the first call is free. Sign up here.