Responsibility to Not Be Small In The World

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.

It was this dissatisfaction that initially brought me to the Ageless Wisdom teachings, as presented by Serge Benhayon, and it is from here that life started to make more sense.

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

Further Reading:
Self-Acceptance and Appreciation Bring true Presence

1,021 thoughts on “Responsibility to Not Be Small In The World

  1. Despite reading this blog before, I realise more and more how I continue to play small as I live my life with a different sense then I’ve ever done. I’ve been exposed to a new position and i’m very much our of my comfort zone and those behaviours come by time and time again. So it kind of feels that they’re still there but not in the same potency as before and another refinements/adjustment needs to be done.

    I loved reading your list as it was a great reminder that those things still play out, constantly sabotaging me. So I know i need support to heal them and see the root cause so they can be gone out of my body.

    Every opportunity is for us to grow and that’s where we need to see it from and not from the original hurt, then we look at life from a different perspective. Life is very much different then.

  2. When I read this blog again and read through your list of where you have played small, I resonated with two in particularly. These still play out in my life, ‘not say what I really wanted to say’ and, ‘stay silent when I should have spoken up’. I’m realising more and more that when these are denied, it leaves the body unsettled, and those thoughts of, should have and would have continually ring in my head, let alone an unsettled night sleep.

    There’s more to life then we realise and every quality matters. Deny any, the ramifications are there, whether big or small. Be obedient, the fullness and joy of life can be felt.

    1. Sometimes when we say something, we don’t know the impact it has on another. It is only when they return one day and recite that sentence you don’t recall saying it, the impact it has had them to make them realise and make changes within is unfathomable. So there is no right or wrong way to be, just be you.

  3. I resonated with this statement, “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”.

    Maree it is very true more and more of us spend life times of hiding. Whether they are in your face or whether they are timid behaviours, it is all the same same, still hiding from being who we truly are. And when we step up, we offer this reflection to everyone else to be the same, whether they accept or reject this is their choice too, we just need to bring the understanding too.

    At some point, there’s a turning point for all, when that is, is dependent on the individual and the thing that is never tarnished, the soul.

  4. Maree, I can totally relate to this blog, as once I was playing small and every now and then, it slips in. What I recently observed is that my true voice is coming through even though it may be in reaction at times, I am loving that underneath there is something much more powerful than that.

    The antidote to smallness is taking the incremental steps towards the issue at play, and it is at play with you more often than we realise. There comes a point we are to make other decisions and in that other decisions, that something at play will come out again to sabotage, until we care enough of ourselves for it to be over ridden.
    Anything is possible if we allow it within ourselves, and that possibility is within all of us, if we are willing to observe, allow and learn from it…

    1. And as we take these incremental steps, we discover there is more to be exposed of how every detail affects us, life and every one around us. More we say yes, the more is offered.

  5. Being quiet about things and not voicing how one feels is a sure way to keep hidden and not to grow and evolve. Once again this is something I learned too – I learned to be quiet and not say as I wanted to say as I would then be liked or get approval when I said what people wanted me to say. But in this compromise I lost myself. It is a process to re-find myself again.

    1. Henrietta the opposite to hiding is being loud and being seen and still this is not it. Because even in this, we are not seen for who we truly are. To re-find yourself is a process, and it does not need to be arduous, it can be a beautiful unfolding process if we allow it to be.

    2. We need to discover our true voice and there are plenty of people out there that can support us to do this. We once were the truth, we once expressed in our fullest, and we once will return to who we truly are, it is a matter of time, space and all if it.

  6. Playing it small and not being seen is also something I am very familiar with and learning to let go of so that I can allow myself to be seen in the beauty of all that I am.

  7. Great to read this again today, I have recently been feeling how I am restricting myself by not embracing new experiences, trying to stay in comfort instead of trying new things and allowing myself to expand and grow. Very encouraging to read your experiences again today, thank you.

  8. A much needed read this morning as while I have come out of a fair bit of hiding over the years there is the need to “continually evolve and deepen my love for myself so that I can be all of who I really am.” I am learning there is still much more to unveil and stop hiding away, from myself and everyone else.

  9. Maree, your list of playing it small is one that many of us can relate to! This is exposing if we allow this as an opportunity for growth.

    1. I am sure many can also relate with this, if they are prepared to be honest as Maree was, ‘I was afraid to let go and just be myself as I was petrified of feeling vulnerable, hurt or rejected.’

  10. This brings me back to the fact that there is nothing selfish about loving ourselves and giving ourselves space to be who we are as the relationship we have with ourselves is the basis of every relationship we have with others and the world.

  11. ‘Playing it big’ can now be the ‘new’ expression and this not referring to what one does but rather the quality one expresses in and the fullness of expression that we can all bring which essentially is a forever deepening and expanding quality.

  12. There is a big difference when one is walking and living with ‘confidence’ in terms of letting oneself be seen for who one truly is versus holding back. One could say that one ‘comes alive’ with showing one’s true colours.

  13. From this blog we can all understand how we set the limits on how we will be in life from the daily choices we make.

  14. Thanks Maree, I always get so much from your blogs. I noted these two dot points on this read “Not say what I really wanted to say; Stay silent when I should have spoken up.” I hadn’t really thought of these as playing small but I can see they are, as they are another restriction on the fullness of my expression.

  15. A beautiful sharing Maree and a testament to the power we all can live with when we deepen our connection to and honor the truth of who we are within. When we truly come to know who we are we then realise that this is who we all are, and this love simply cannot be contained, as to do so in a form of abuse to ourselves and all others.

  16. Recently the level of tension from playing small has increased for me. But it’s not that the playing small has increased as such but that I am so much grander that the parts where I do hide appear even more uncomfortable. I am lost if I focus only on the playing small part without acknowledging my grandness.

  17. We can be so loaded with this strategy of playing small that we don’t even see clearly that we are doing it. It takes someone who is not doing the same to show us that playing small is not being real.

    1. Could playing small mean that we are not rejected by our friends, family and work colleagues?
      How many times have we heard someone say who’s a ‘smart arse’ which in anyone’s book is not a compliment but a put down because the person saying it feels uncomfortable or lesser and wants to bring you down to.

    2. We offer ourselves in our fullness, and so inspire others to do likewise, ‘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.’

  18. We underestimate and play down how powerful and amazing we truly are, as we begin to claim and live this truth we realise that this just keeps expanding and evolving.

  19. What you describe here shows how very well we know and actually plan our every move. We feel we are dictated by life but we very much have our hands in the whole game.

  20. When people tell me they are worried about what other people may think about them I point out that the chances are they aren’t even thinking about you, because they are too busy worrying about what others think about them!

    1. Yes, great point here Leigh, and that is how we keep ourselves at arm’s length, each worried about the same about the other/s. We are always in the same boat but we live as if we are not. We are in truth not separate from each other but our thoughts make us believe so.

  21. As long as we are obsessed about ourselves and make it all about me me me, we play small because we are so much more than that.

  22. I have never thought of myself as playing small and have always been a leader. However, even so I have discovered that I have been playing small because I am discovering just how much vaster and more awesome I am than I ever imagined – there is no limit to the expansion that is available and on offer for all of us.

  23. Maree reading your list of playing small exposes how ridiculous they are and that they serve no purpose other than to keep us held back from fully committing and participating in life. I recognise them all and have used them all and not one of them has served me or humanity.

  24. Well this is a higher responsibility than we have taken so far. Are we playing small? And why do we do so?
    What I have found, playing myself small for whole my life, is that you get a sense of identification with it, one that at least offers some protection away from feeling and the potential of feeling hurt. Now, coming to a point of observation of how I lived life, I can see that all I truly missed was me — playing big, being my fullness, being myself.

  25. It is almost like we think being in our presence and power is something ‘dangerous’ to do that we go ‘undercover’ as soon there is other people around and try to fit in by the way we walk, talk and move. I very much relate to the examples you offered here and it is a beautiful process to let go of this ‘undercover’ powerhouse behaviour because I can feel it is not truly dangerous, it is just exposing for many people and we don’t always like to be exposed and I don’t always like to be the one offering the pull up. Yet it is not true to stay small and keep others small too by doing that.

  26. Maree I have read several of your blogs and I find each one full of inspiration and encouragement and I am sure many others do too. Thank you so much for stepping out of the shadows and sharing yourself as you have and do.

    1. Elaine – this is spot on and for all of us to step out of the shadows and be seen and not be scared to make a mistake.

  27. I appreciate how supported I’ve always felt in every workshop or presentation held by Serge Benhayon. I could openly express my feelings in the most vulnerable moments. I’ve always received the words that I needed to listen from people who had similar experiences. Sharing in small groups was very confronting in the beggining, a curse actually that exposed very much how I saw myself and how unsteady I felt within me. However I always felt such a respect, very loved and cared by those who listened me. Step by step I learned how trapped I was on my ideas about me, playing less was a choice that I could change by caring my body and appreciate the qualities that I bring, learning to be just as grand as I am, no more no less. This is not arrogant but the most humble choice that I’ve ever made. It makes me feel vital, joyful and very grateful by the choices I’ve made in my life that supported me deeply. Love being a student of the Livingness, I can’t imagine living another way as this is an amazing learning that never ends.

  28. When we came out from the individualization we can see that we are not broken but in a process of coming out from a cage that trapped us for so long. It was all in our mind, created by us but now we can co-create another way of being based on love which is available for all.

  29. Thank you Maree for letting go this pattern of playing small. Your sharing makes me see how amazing we are and the responsibility that we have in honour this fact. When we shine, we lovingly invites others to do the same. A very worth choice to make.

    1. Beautifully shared Inma – it is always inspiring to see another live with true power, knowing who they truly are and loving it with no need for competition or comparison just an honoring reflection of the ‘more’ that we are and are here to live together.

  30. Like you Maree, for much of my life “I was a master at being small and I was struggling to commit to life in full.” Not only that, I was the master of self-sabotage and those times when I would step up and commit it would not take long before I was cutting myself back down to my accustomed smallness, a state of being which had become my normal. But playing small, not committing to life and holding ourselves back from expressing our uniqueness is actually incredibly irresponsible as we are here to shine as brightly as we can, in every moment; and we can’t do that by living a lesser version of who we truly are.

  31. The world opens up when we can see that we are not the only one that thinks has issues and problems so called and stories, but we are all equally the ones to make up the One.

    1. Definitely and sometimes when sharing what we’ve lived, from understanding it from the energetic perspective, even if that is not what we talk about, the other person just gets it and knows that we know what’s going on for them.

  32. It is a responsibility to not play small, for all of us. I have managed to create a lot of issues including chronic lower back pain and digestive problems. My momentum of holding back is not so simple to crack because of the familiar behaviors so comfortably easily chosen time and time again. These choices can lead to devastating events. A timely blog to read and remind myself what it can be like to not bring your all.

  33. It is interesting that we live on a planet that no other species has any such ability to play less than who they are, you don’t see a tiger walking awkwardly past its family or a tree one day curling itself in and apologising for being so big and beautiful. What is it about us as human ‘beings’ that choose to deliberately retard ourselves? When everything around us including the magnificent stars at night, the universe, the vast expansiveness constantly reflect we are all of this and no different to this magnificence of this.

  34. “In reality, all of this meant that I was a master at being small and I was struggling to commit to life in full.” I know this reality too well as it was mine too. It was therefore no coincidence that my life was continually full of challenges and with very little flow to it. As I have discovered in the last few years, not living who we truly are hurts; it hurts our body, it hurts the quality of our life and it also hurts those around us. In stark and glorious contrast, when we choose to live all of us in full our life is amazing as are the relationships with those in our lives.

  35. When we see and meet people who are choosing to play small, we often think we should join them. But this way of being does not support anyone. It is when we stay connected to who we are and express from our fullness that people receive love and truth. And I agree Maree, it is our responsibility is to reflect absolute truth and love to the world. Whenever we choose to play small we are draining ourselves and everyone around us because we are going against our true nature and holding back our divine expression.

  36. What a powerful reflection we offer others when we embrace and live who we truly are, and when we don’t we confirm to others to hold back and play small and nobody wins.

    1. There is not winning or losing when we play small but an increase in the tension in the body when we know an opportunity to express was offered for all and we chose to ignore.

  37. When we hide ourselves away from everyone we all miss out on the potential of what we could bring and the ripple effect it could have.

  38. A great article Maree thank you, I can relate to playing small, playing safe, keep hidden so as not to be noticed, as I read your article I realise that I have come quite a way in coming out and sharing myself with others, I am becoming much more comfortable with letting people see more of me as i open up more to the love I hold within myself.

  39. There is something very tiring about keeping ourselves small as it is ‘safe’ but also wearing us down on the inside and it is a bit boring to just hide our natural expresion, what we would love to say, do etc. inside to only let it out with certain people. It is this exhaustion and flatness of life that started me to bring myself more into my days and not leaving my joyful self at home.

  40. What a great line “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.” Beautiful Maree how you have outlined self love as the foundation for letting go of playing small in the world. We are actually taught to “not be too big for our boots” which is often about not shining brightly and being all we are without holding back, but it’s actually unloving for self and others not to shine.

  41. When we just once have the experience how much we contribute to life and all of us by the very unique and beautiful qualities we hold with and only need to express and share we will know that we count, that we are an essential part of the whole. The question then is if we embrace and accept it or do we hold on to the beliefs and ideals that tell us otherwise – usually that initiates a process of discarding the false identifications and deepening one´s self-love and self-acceptance.

  42. All the seemingly good reasons to make oneself small are exposed to just be excuses for not wanting to shine one´s light and thereby inspire but also challenge others who may react and get at us for exposing them in their safe and comfortable smallness.

  43. We have an easy relationship with reducing ourselves so to make us as small as we want us to believe we are and appear we are. This does not change the fact that none if this is true. It is just us playing games.

  44. Being willing to be seen, and then to shine is a much more evolutionary path than pretending you are anything less than that.

  45. Very Beautifull to read Maree, it was during a presentation Serge Benhayon shared how being small was actually a form of bullying that stunned me for a good minute as I could feel the truth of this game and realised the thing I had been reacting too most I was actually doing myself! This has brought home the responsibility to just be real and true to myself and stop pretending I don’t fuel a room when I walk in.

  46. To be truly successful in life is to live in connection to who we are, through our everyday living, without compromise or hesitation. And in living in this way, we reflect that this is our true way of being for all.

  47. Thank you Maree, great to read your blog again. It’s really opened my eyes to the limitations I have placed on myself, which is considered to be so normal in this world – almost everyone is a reduced version of themselves instead of shining brightly with the fullness of their essence. I have recently been feeling how I too have used hurts and difficult situations to reduce the fullness of myself, yet when I connect to my inner essence it’s actually untouched by these situations. We give power to the hurts instead of the love we are in essence.

  48. I too was a master at playing it small and protected myself from the the world like a ninja, but I now see how much of a toll and stress this played on my body and when I let myself be me and let go of the needs, beliefs and or pictures I can go into, life becomes a lot more flowing, simple and fun. We can also connect much more with people when we are being ourselves and allowing our bodies to move and express from their natural flow. Responsibility then becomes simple and not so much of an effort or task, it becomes our daily purpose and one that connects us to the all.

  49. What’s beautiful about what you have written Maree is that all of the changes in your relationships have come from changes you have made within yourself first. Hence we are our own saviour and this is deeply empowering to appreciate.

  50. I love your commitment shown in this blog, and how this supported your evolving relationship with people, ‘Instead, what became prominent was their sensitivity and loveliness, particularly as I was now more easily able to connect with their eyes.’

  51. As I read the list of ways of playing small I could relate to all of them. And lately it’s been very disturbing to feel the unrest and unease within me that playing small brings with it. At some point I valued this reduced version of myself but less and less so these days.

    1. It’s a beautiful thing when we start to feel the limitations and restrictions on our being and begin to let them go.

  52. It feels like a game in holding myself small, the game of not wanting to take responsibility of what my contribution to life as it could be. For instance by holding myself small I do not share my clarity with the world and instead tell all other people to do the same, to stay in the misery we actually all feel living life small is but in a way feel comfortable in. That to me also makes clear that we all know the answers for all the problems we face in the world but that we have to activate this knowing by us choosing to not play small anymore but to live to our potential as best as we can.

  53. Playing small and not being seen was an old familiar pattern, you highlight many ways this can play out in life, and through listening to the teachings of Serge Benhayon have come to understand that we are much more than the limitations we impose on ourselves. ‘I had used hardships and hurts to play it safe. I was playing less, and yet I was so much more.’

  54. What I took from reading your blog today was how playing small prevents us from exploring our full potential, and that potential is related to what we can bring to the world and reflect to others via the depths and multidimensionality of our being.

  55. I can relate with what you share re having played small in your life, and agree no more playing small we are here to shine and bring our love and fullness to the world.

  56. Maree what you describe here about playing small is very widespread, and I like the point you make about not seeing that everyone else is doing the same when we are wrapped up in our own stuff. You being out there means you are a great reflection for others and you have an understanding of where many are at, because you were once there yourself.

  57. That could have been me! Playing small is a big pattern I have played out throughout my life. What is beautiful about what you are sharing that it is not about pushing ourselves to stop being small and be out there in the world but that it is about beginning to deeply care and love for ourselves so we feel this amazing quality we are bringing to the world and how to not hold that back.

  58. Maree I love your expression. Your blogs are always so real and insightful. Very supportive and inspiring, thank you.

  59. This has been great to read again as “being small” can be seen as a concept and not fully understood, so how you have broken it down into how it translates into everyday life via your examples was very helpful. For me one of the big ones is when I don’t meet people via their eyes, or hold that for very long, as my eyes really share all of me.

  60. Wow… We know so well how not to be the fullness of ourselves, in every detail. We must know, and actually be a master of, how to be and express ourselves in truth for us to succeed so well in stopping that from being lived.

    1. In knowing this it can help turn around any negativity. If theres a behaviour of playing small asking myself about the grandness that I am in truth opens me up to feeling more the love that I am rather than the focus on berating (and feeding) the playing small.

  61. It is funny because one way we play small is to be small and hide and another way to play small is to be big and out there – either way anything less than being the grandness of who we truly are which comes in all shapes, forms and sizes is playing small.

    1. That is a brilliant observation Nicola because we may not see someone who is famous or successful as playing small but as you say “anything less than being the grandness of who we truly are” is playing small.

  62. The not looking into another’s eyes when speaking–this is something common we give and receive every single day. If anyone does this because of wanting to remain small, I would like to tell you in honesty and in love how absolutely horrible that makes another feel with the arrogance of choosing to be small. It is saying to another you only deserve to get so much of me, what you are offering me I also want to only accept so much. This is absolute arrogance and extremely hurtful to everyone.

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