For most of my life, I was not actively aware that I was playing small. Like a lot of people, I went about my days, weeks, years ‘living’ my life. What I have come to know is that both ‘the path of least resistance’ as well as ‘going with the flow’ are usually indicators of living your life from a place of fear and not truly knowing yourself.
There was always a pervasive and elusive feeling that ‘they’ were going to discover that I was a fraud. I don’t think I ever identified who ‘they’ were, but I lived for many years waiting to be found out. That I wasn’t as smart as one might think, I was an imposter adult, imposter professional, imposter parent, the list was endless. In an attempt to hide the fact I felt like an imposter, I played my life small.
After a lot of struggling and a lot of work on myself, I was finally able to not only recognize what I am meant to do, I had the courage to speak it and move towards it. As proud as I am of myself, an unexpected bonus appeared that I was just able to recognize.
I am no longer afraid, well, that might be a big fat lie when it comes to spiders and horror movies and a long list of other things that don’t come to mind at the moment, but that is not the point.
I finally don’t feel like a fraud anymore. I will never pretend I am ever more than a gloriously imperfect work in progress but I have been willing to do enough work on myself, learning who I am, what I want and need, to understand that I have gifts, ideas, thoughts and contributions to make. I don’t need to try to be anything other than who I am.
I realized that I felt like a fraud because I had no idea who I was. I never learned to ask myself the questions and take the time to figure out the answers. I was too busy deflecting attention away from myself.
I wanted to be liked so I tried to be who I thought people would like me to be. As I continue with my personal growth journey, I am learning that regardless of what ‘they’ think, or what I think society ‘expects’, the absolute best thing I can do for myself, my kids, and the world, it to be me.
I hope if you ever feel the way I used to, you find the courage to stop ‘going with the flow’. I hope you take the next exit off the ‘path of least resistance’ and start asking yourself what brings you joy, what gives you a sense of connection, what makes your heart smile? When was the last time you were truly and completely at peace?
DO NOT be discouraged when you come up blank, keep asking yourself the questions over and over until you have your answers. Sometimes it is much easier to figure out what makes you unhappy, mad, sad, cranky. Go with it. You will get there. You have the answers & by the way, ONLY you have the answers for yourself. Your partner, parents, friends, co-workers, kids, none of them do, they have their own work, this is a solo mission. (You can ask other people you trust some of the questions if you are really struggling, getting a different perspective can be a big help at the beginning, but you need to make sure that you test the information they provide to see if it really does make you happy, bring you peace, feed your soul. Seeking some assistance is a wonderful tool to help you learn to ask & be able to answer the questions for yourself).
Your personal answers are there, inside you. The true test is giving yourself enough time to learn how to recognize your answers. The quiet voice we so often ignore, the thought you think that is immediately followed by ‘that’s stupid’, ‘you can’t do that’, ‘you can’t earn a living doing _____’, or a host of other negative tapes we all have running through our minds.
I hope you step through the fear, I hope you find the bravery to ask yourself the questions and I pray that you have the fortitude to keep at it until you are able to recognize your own voice and your personal truth.