How many of you have felt that you have played it safe? Played small out of fear of the unknown, discomfort, or… judgement. Oh the dreaded judgment.
Judgment is a concept that has sat with me in many different ways over my lifetime. Believe it or not, it’s healed me. And I have so much to say about it, but I will keep it fairly short right now.
I remember growing up, and being the smallest one (always), I learned from a pretty early age how different characteristics and qualities can set us apart. Most of the time – brought to our attention by others. Being “teased” for being small, I don’t recall it ever being something that was used against me in a malicious or bullied type of manner. It was always in great love – “oh care, my little munchkin!” “I love you my small pea.” “Care bear, you’re just so petite and little!!” “Oh I could hardly see you over that!” It was never like, “oh you can’t do that because you’re too small.”….. I TAKE THAT BACK! Those damn roller coaster requirements. And I LOVED roller coasters and rides. Gosh, those were a hit to the gut. Those moments REMINDED me I was small. I never walked around thinking about it. If I couldn’t reach something, I wasn’t thinking about how disadvantaged I was – I just made it work, crawling on counters or grabbing a chair to get there 🙂 🙂 (and in the case of the roller coasters, getting really good at disguising standing on my tip-toes for an extra inch ;)).
For me, judgment has crippled me when it comes to actions. How I think the world is wanting me to act. What to say. How I should handle certain situations. Thinking no one cares what I have to say. And you know where I think it comes from? Being a PART of the judgment of others. You know, when your friends are gossiping and speculating about other people’s lives. I’ve realized in those moments, you are not special. You are not an exception to what others will say. We will undoubtedly be judged. But what we can do is bring awareness to it, stop being a part of the judgment of others, and TRUST we are meant to act from our heart. The rest will come from your awakening.
From my complete fear of judgment, I have had a few spiritual awakenings. That’s the only way to describe those periods of my life. The toughest transitions, the pivots of my life. There have been a few. Two that have really broken me. Shattered my old self. But those were the moments my soul was screaming out and my mind – the analytical, perfectionist mind of mine, really couldn’t put into words what was happening. I was so lost and confused, why did I want this? Why did I ask for this? I could try and reason to myself and others why I was choosing to change, but it still wouldn’t sit right with my soul. And each time, I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve rebuilt myself more in line with my most authentic self. A rebuilding of what was true & what wasn’t.
Now I can see. I see those moments so clearly and for so much purpose. But shit, in the thick of it – I just wanted to run away from everyone. Silence myself so no one had the power to tell me what I was experiencing. I was so vulnerable. And being a people-pleaser, whenever someone would tell me how they THOUGHT I should behave, or what I should do – it was just another layer of suffocation. A burial of my truest self. Because I wanted so badly to be seen as someone who knew exactly what I was doing and why I was doing it.
Last year, my breakdown/awakening was so painful. I couldn’t really reason with what was happening inside me. I felt so utterly alone. No one truly understood me. I don’t think I ever once heard, “I understand where you are coming from.” It was usually an, “oh really?” Or “I don’t see it like that.” That was rough. I was changing and shifting and going through so much inner turmoil that I just wanted to stay away from my “normal” life. I felt an incredible amount of judgment. And just like when I was younger, I know it wasn’t full-on judgment – there was love.
My support system just wanted me to be okay. They wanted me “back.” And I felt that way too, to some degree. I knew I would get “back” to my “outgoing” and “fun” self – but I also had a strong awareness that I had to SIT with whatever I was going through. I didn’t know when it was going to end, I knew it could have been a full year before I was feeling like “myself” again (that’s a whole other post, identifying as “myself” when healthy & confident vs. struggling & lost – we do not leave & return).
I wanted to play small. I wanted to be small and insignificant. And the more I wanted to play small, the harder it was to quiet my pain. You see, pain needs to be released. It needs to be heard. It will not quiet itself until it’s been known & truly felt.
I understand my pain has given me so much purpose. I no longer want to be small (I have a choice in some areas!). I now know my pain is what will continue to fuel my work for the years to come. My pain has healed me. I want to be there to hold space for others to experience and nurture their pain. I never ever want anyone to feel as alone as I felt (despite the support I had). It’s part of the spiritual path. To feel alone. It may always feel that way a bit (I’m starting to embrace that feeling more). But that’s why I want to build a community around this journey. A journey that we can share & build with others.
Being vulnerable is so hard. Being lost is harder. Playing small can be a hell of a lot easier than feeling like an outsider and completely alone. Like your world is crumbling as you step into a new way of being.
But I’m learning – WE ARE NOT HERE TO PLAY SMALL.
We all have a purpose and when you discover that, playing small seems foolish. Letting your world crumble, in a healthy and somewhat more managed structure than I have done, is worth the pain. I can promise you that.
We are indeed here to play! But not small. Dear sister and brother, not small – do you hear me?
I am here to remind you and call you back home to the fierce, humbled, strong, determined child of the Divine you are. Ready to be heard and fought for. You deserve it. Oh darling, you deserve it.