As far back as I can remember I have chosen to be small in the world.
For me, being small meant that I would try to be invisible as I lived each day, ensuring that I never stood out or attracted attention. I was afraid to let go and just be myself as I was petrified of feeling vulnerable, hurt or rejected.
My earliest memory of this was at age 5 when I was in kindergarten: I was in a relay race and when the gun went off I ran so fast with my baton that I was set to win. I noticed this and immediately felt uncomfortable, so I slowed down and allowed others to pass to avoid the attention that winning would have brought.
There are many ways being small played out in my day-to-day life. It meant that I would:
- Avoid connecting with another person’s eyes
- Walk nervously down corridors instead of walking in my fullness
- Not say what I really wanted to say
- Stay silent when I should have spoken up
- Limit conversations to those people I knew well
- Hide from public speaking or talking in groups
- Keep up a protective wall so that I did not have to feel hurt
- Choose a career where I didn’t have to be responsible, nor be seen
- Be scared to try new things, even if I felt that it would be beneficial to me
- Take the easy road, which was comfortable and ensured that I wouldn’t be noticed, even though life wasn’t fulfilling
- Dull down my gifts or talents with negative thoughts
- Avoid intimacy and vulnerability at all costs.
In reality, all of this meant that I was a master at being small and I was struggling to commit to life in full.
The choice to hide still allowed me to get through the day, but it was not a joyful or satisfying life because I yearned for a true and loving connection with myself and with others.
These teachings encouraged me to develop a deep level of care and tenderness with myself first and foremost and to fully embrace the possibility that I was more than the limitations I had imposed on myself.
After a few years and with some trepidation I tested the waters, starting with conversations with people at work that I did not know, then speaking within small groups and eventually audiences close to 100.
I committed to taking small steps out of my comfort zone and followed opportunities as they presented themselves, instead of just saying an immediate ‘No’.
As a result, I became less scared of people, particularly those that I did not know, because something felt different. I could feel that people were much more than their behaviour or the face they showed to the world.
Instead, what became prominent was their sensitivity and loveliness, particularly as I was now more easily able to connect with their eyes.
It became clear that being able to see people in this way was only possible because I had begun to connect with my own loveliness, embracing my own sensitivity as a gift rather than a failing.
I had spent nearly 40 years waiting for everything outside of me to prove it was safe to express myself, yet what seems so apparent to me now is that I was actually waiting on ME to develop more self-loving and caring ways with myself.
It is only now as I look back and reflect on my past that I can admit that playing small was an excuse I used to not step up and take responsibility for myself and fully commit to life. I had used hardships and hurts to play it safe. I was playing less, and yet I was so much more.
Perhaps what surprised me most of all when I came out of hiding, was that I could see that I was not the only one hiding.
I realised that when I was trapped in the foggy haze I was so caught up in my own sadness and suffering and my arduous efforts to stay invisible that I failed to see that others were also living less than their true potential. Not potential in the sense of striving for a career or promotion, but potential in the sense of what is within, if only we are able to let go of our fears.
As I began to stop playing the game of being small in the world, I felt clearly how intimately connected we truly are and it is this understanding that provided me with a very real sense of responsibility to no longer hide or dim down my talents, abilities and the quality of love and light that I bring. By allowing myself to shine, I allowed others the chance to see that they too could shine.
I now know without any doubt the depth of the responsibility that I have to not hold myself back by making myself small, but to continually evolve and deepen my love for myself so that I can be all of who I really am. This is by far the greatest gift I can offer the world.
With heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Serge Benhayon and his family for not holding back from expressing themselves and their love for humanity. You have touched me deeply and inspired me to shine.
By Maree Savins, Engineering Project Officer – Tertiary Education, New South Wales
Self-Acceptance and Appreciation Bring true Presence