A bashful glance at the ground when someone congratulates you on an achievement.
An “oh please,” when a friend tells you how nice your house is decorated.
Sound familiar? OK, you can put your hands down now.
Recently, a friend stopped me cold, mid-conversation, to gently point out how I was minimizing my strengths. Things I like doing. Things I am good at doing. And it doesn’t stop there…I minimize compliments and praise, accomplishments, goals. It’s like I’m the freakin’ Mimimizer Bunny.
It’s a learned behavior; making things small.
Making one’s self small.
Making a life seem small.
My children do not minimize. In fact, they do the opposite. They believe they are 10 times bigger than their actual selves. In their minds, all their ideas are achievable. Even when I tell them that mixing cinnamon, sugar and butter together then putting it in the microwave will NOT result in a cookie, they will argue to the death that if I just allow them to try, it will work. This is how I know minimizing is learned. When we are told over and over that we are: over the top, too much, obnoxious, over zealous, persistent, a dreamer, not realistic, a failure. The residue of those words start to create a protective layer around our hearts and imaginations, even our skills and our talents, so they don’t threaten anyone else. So they stay small.
But here’s the kicker. Our ideas, our strengths, all of who we are is beautiful and luminous. We were born to be bold. That whole caring-what-other-people-think thing has really done a number on boldness. But the good news is, it is never to late to bust a move on a big life.
Here is my battle cry: Let your light shine so bright that it sets the world on fire!
Let your life be big and your heart bigger. Share the things you are good at with the world. Take a risk, even if it seems ridiculous at the time. Know that others may have made you feel like you are small but the only one perpetuating that feeling is you – and the fact is, that is straight-up ridiculous thinking! I was put on this earth to be me, not someone else’s version of who they think I should be. You were put here to be you and no one else.
Ever since that conversation with my friend a few weeks back, I have started to shift my mindset and change my habits of minimizing. I look people straight in the eye and say, “thank you,” when they say something kind. In moments when I second guess what I am about to say, I remind myself to be authentic. When I feel too tired or lazy to do something for my family, I encourage myself to be bold in loving them, and do it anyway. A day has a way of granting opportunities to those with a willing heart.
Please, don’t waste on more day in the land of the small.
Wake up each day and set this place on fire.