There are many things that I had to learn to do differently in life. I was the people pleaser, peacekeeper, and the martyr for many years. I never felt any benefit to playing such roles. Yes, I can look back and say that I did these things in hopes of being liked, loved and I was obviously seeking approval. My ego wanted to be known as a good person. Yes, it is ego that desires to be seen as a good person and to be liked by everyone. It left me feeling drained and empty. Sacrificing one’s self in hopes of receiving validation is a spiritual killer.
There was something deeper that was going on within myself that really harmed my soul. I was playing small. Playing small is a done by both genders of course but women seem to struggle with this issue a lot. It is part of the need to be liked and not be seen as a bitch. The desire to not step on anyone’s toes to obtain personal success. Society has dictated to women both consciously and subconsciously that we are to know our place. We are to be nice and sweet. Any aggression is seen as bitchy or hormonal.
I played small in order to stay in my family and to keep my friends. I would be self-critical from time to time so that I never looked like I was boasting. I would express something good about myself but then play it down at the same time so that no one could accuse me of bragging. It was sad because I knew what I was doing. I stopped this behavior many years ago, but from time to time I can feel myself about to play small so that I do not receive any unpleasant comments. I have this twisted desire to make others feel comfortable by making myself uncomfortable. I have to stay conscious of this behavior.
I had come to realize that I needed to get away from the people who made me feel that I could not be proud of my accomplishments. It took some time to weed out people who did not want to see me shine. I noticed that the person who did not like to hear of mine or anyone else’s accomplishments wanted to be the only one succeeding.
The five things I learned from playing small
1.I wasted my time with the wrong people. Any person that tells you that you are bragging or that you need to be humble is not for you. Your tribe should be happy for you even when you are outshining them. I made myself uncomfortable so that others could stay comfortable. Fitting in was my ultimate goal.
2.The people who wanted me to play small wanted to be the only one succeeding. Yes, when a person tells you to be humble observe their behavior. They are usually talking about how great their life is and wanting others to envy them.
3.I delayed my professional joy. My joy is in my work and service. I would hide out working on a platform. I did not put up my picture for a long time. I delayed having an FB page and blogging. I stayed hidden which harmed my spirit. I surrendered myself to the misery of others.
4.I downplayed a lot of moments that I should have celebrated. I wanted to be humble. No one was going to accuse me of bragging.
5.I would criticize myself to keep me in line. You know so that I never appeared that I was appearing better than anyone else.
Sad, isn’t it. The phrase being humble has been overused and abused by people who do not want to see other people shine. I learned to love, honor and accept myself without apology. I will never spend time with people who have an issue with my being happy or shining. The art of taking my crown back was deciding that I do not have to apology for succeeding. No one should have to play small to make others feel comfortable.