Playing Small Does Not Serve the World

Somewhere along the line, girls learn that being proud is wrong and being humble, or even self-depreciating, is kind. This often means sacrificing ourselves so that others can feel better about themselves. If you want to stump the teen in your life, ask her “what are three things you love about yourself?” My clients often are flustered by this question and when I ask them why they say things like, “I don’t want to brag,” “I’d feel so self-centered if I answered that,” or “I wouldn’t say, because that would make me sound stuck up.”

Since when is it shameful to be happy about who you are? I find that we often gladly diminish our light, so that others’ may shine more brightly. I am all for teaching girls to be proud of who they are because this gives permission to others to do the same. This brilliant poem by Marianne Williamson sums it up perfectly…

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Let your light shine

by Marianne Williamson
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.