We serve no one when we play small
I was on a permaculture course,
The ideas, systems,
interested and interesting,
weaving webs of new understanding.
One of us,
if she could venture
into academia alone,
a university at her shoulder.
Keeping her voice small,
When her work,
is game changing,
I did it too.
For years when the letters PhD first joined my name,
I didn’t claim the ‘Dr’,
not feeling like what I thought a ‘Dr’ should feel like,
Not feeling big enough,
So much still I didn’t know,
So I played it small,
not wanting to make myself
not wanting to stand out,
to be heard.
Sometimes we need another’s words
To tell us,
‘If you don’t do this, write this, research this, then who will?’
‘What if someone, somewhere needs what you have to say and you don’t say it because you don’t feel worthy?
‘What if it is none of your business what other people think about what you do, say, write,
if all you have to do,
is be you,
do the things
that you can do
to make a positive difference,
to your small corner of the world.’
‘Who do you think you are to play small?
Do you think the oak holds back when it has room to grow?
Doesn’t every plant reach for the light?
It is natures way to grow.’
Sometimes we need a gentle nudge to step into the arena,
and dare to fail,
Sometimes we need someone else’s words:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, 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 are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”