I was posting a letter to my daughter. Snail mail! I enjoyed the walk to the post box, all spring wind and sunshine. Walking clears my head. It keeps me nailed on. That rhythmic patter of my feet on the footpath calms me. My mind can mull unimpeded in the fresh air.
Mull it does. This morning The words, ‘the Smallness,’ kept taking centre stage. Oh no, I thought. I didn’t want to think about that right now. But a few kilometres further on, I’d done the mental gymnastics.
What does the smallness mean?
I’m talking about giving away your power.
Giving away your power?
It’s those times when you sell yourself short and don’t assert your needs. Big things, small things; it doesn’t matter.
But isn’t that a humble, nice, good, female …
I believed all those enablers. My mother taught me how to be good. I took the broken biscuit. My father encouraged me to comply. That’s what good girls did. They made their daddy’s proud.
PLAYING SMALL DIDN’T SERVE ME.
Yes that sentence is uppercase and probably should be bold. It screamed at me for years but I had lost my truth and my connection to myself. Lost years.
Conflict entered my life. I’d bought a narrative that wasn’t my own. I tried to be the ‘perfect,’ wife, mother, daughter, health care professional, friend and I compromised my relationship with my truth to varying degrees depending on the relationship.
I can’t give advice but I can share the things that have helped me come home to myself. Every time I gave in and felt contorted, I came to understand that something was wrong with the choice I was making.
Compromise does not equal giving in for the sake of peace. Compromise is a respectful path, the earnest searching for another solution that suits both parties. It is WIN, WIN.
I found it confronting to accept that I had lost my way and that I’d given my power to others. I’d been disappointed over and over by the result. It kept me small and as a recovering anorexic, I lived with this smallness for many years.
Change has been difficult. It has taken vigilance to shake that monkey from my back. Once I fully understood the ramifications of my actions, there was no going back. Power differentials always benefit someone. And playing small ensures it is not you.
Feelings are your intelligence (your inner GPS) telling you whether you are going the right or wrong way. Conflict, shame, guilt are red flags heralding the smallness. Stop, buy time, reflect and then make a decision that causes inner expansion not contraction.
If it is right for you, it feels good.
Go gently, remember you are enough.