Stop Playing Small
I’m very good at playing small. I didn’t get much attention from either of my parents, so I find it easy to slip into that “little girl seeking approval” role. If I’m nice and sweet and listen and nod and agree with what you say, then you will like me. Of course, it’s not as false and conniving as that. In the moment, I do care what you are saying, and I am listening attentively, but the core motive at the heart of my subconscious is that if I listen and approve of you, then maybe you will listen and approve of me back. If that doesn’t happen, then I am left stuck in the little girl role, meekly playing along with the situation, behaving as is expected of me, keen to be compliant and to please. Too much of that leaves me weak, drained and empty. Clearly, my subconscious’ strategy is flawed, because I am asking you for permission to step out of a role that I have put myself into. I have to give myself permission to exit the performance, and that involves not even entering into that power imbalance in the first place.
I have written before about the holographic nature of the universe, and how the divine benevolence of the cosmos manifests through this multi-dimensional reality. In our immature understanding of karma and the law of attraction, many people believe that the universe operates as a mirror. If someone belittles you, then it’s because you belittled someone previously, and this is the universe highlighting that to you so you can stop behaving like that. I don’t believe the universe is judgmental! I think the universe is always forgiving and always compassionate. The universe is love, that is its divine nature. Love is the only true frequency at the heart of the cosmos, and everything comes back to love. The universe doesn’t point a finger, and chastise us like a Victorian parent. No, I believe that if someone belittles us, it is the universe’s way of telling us to stop belittling ourselves. The universe is highlighting to us the ways that we are unkind to ourselves rather than they ways in which we are unkind to others, so we can learn better the fundamental arts of self-love and self-acceptance that are at the core of all personal evolution.
Nowhere is this more evident than when we choose to play small. Maybe it’s particularly a female thing, maybe it’s particularly an English thing, but we love to use perceived failure as an excuse for playing small. When we attempt a project and it doesn’t achieve the desired outcome, we then justify all the reasons why we didn’t deserve to be successful. We think of explanations as to why things don’t go our way, and even why we were silly to have tried in the first place. You could apply this to relationships, or to a work situation, but when we invest energy into something and we don’t get the return that we hoped, we assume that somehow we are at fault and we don’t deserve to get what we want.
I have come to believe that this is not what’s at stake, however. My experience is that the universe loves risk, it loves us to take those dangerous leaps into the unknown, it loves it when we fly out of our comfort zone, and the more wild and adventurous the steps we take, the happier it is to reward and support us in our journey. The universe hates stagnation, and it hates it when we play it small. There is actually not much that the universe holds in lower regard, than a person who is under-estimating themselves and not stretching themselves or pushing themselves. When you play safe, you are not allowing any room for magic and miracles, and they are the currency of the universe. How can it do anything for you when you close yourself to possibility in this way?
So next time you attempt something and it doesn’t work out how you hoped, don’t see it as a judgment that you are not worthy of success. See it as the universe’s benevolence in allowing possibility for even greater glory. If it doesn’t work out with that guy or that girl, it’s not because you don’t deserve a happy relationship, it’s because you underestimated your worth and the universe has someone even more wonderful in mind for you. If your creative project doesn’t make you money or garner you attention, it’s not because you’re not good enough, it’s because the universe has a project for you that is far more rewarding and fulfilling and it doesn’t want you to waste your energy on something less perfect.
A wise man recently said to me, “There are man-made laws and there are natural laws, and the natural laws are infinitely more powerful.” He said this fairly obvious statement with such conviction and surety that it was a moment of epiphany for me. When we play along with our conditioning, and do what we think we need to do to fit in, we are following man-made conventions. But when we step into our power, we are operating in alignment with the natural forces of magic and miracles. The universe is abundant and infinitely regenerative. When the tree loses its leaves, do you think it feels it has failed? No, it comes back year after year with deeper roots, bigger branches, and more flowers. In natural law, the desire to keep coming back with more, to keep reaching towards the light, is the imperative force. Any perceived setbacks that appear to get in the way of that are not setbacks at all, but signposts to keep us hurtling along at hyper-speed towards the highest and grandest version of reality.