In a recent retreat, one of our participants called me out on not being very good at receiving compliments. It’s true. I hear them, I acknowledge them, they stay with me, but owning, really owning, my good qualities? Yikes that’s hard. In truth, I’m often more comfortable owning my shortcomings, even to the point of being self-deprecating. It’s something I continue to work on, one of the edges I seek to expand in my practice.
Does this comfort in the familiarity of playing small, this discomfort of stepping into our true power, by any chance ring true for anyone else (wink, wink)?
For us as yogis, it's an obstacle. Not because we're looking to be “puffed up” or for our egos to be fed, but because when others reflect our strengths back to us in words and we deflect that or dismiss it, we minimize ourselves. And, the work of the yogi is to fully step into our greatness, our rightful power, our true magnificence. Not for ego’s sake, but for our own evolution, and so that we can rightfully share the gifts we’ve been given with the world. So we can serve in the ways we’ve been purposed to serve.
It was Marianne Williamson (not Nelson Mandela, though it is sometimes incorrectly attributed to him) who wrote this, something we’ve probably all read before:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are weak. 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 ... As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Ah, the edges of our greatness. Our playing small does NOT serve the world. So wise. So true.
So this week when one of our members paid me the HUGE compliment of quoting me online and using my words as a theme for her classes I felt it again, that shrinking, that voice of “Who am I to be quoted? To be great? To be powerful… beyond measure?" I had to remember, for the gazillionth time, that it is just my ego that wants me to stay small, that feels insecure. It is NOT the deepest, or truest part of who I am. I’m here to serve through my teaching, through sharing my journey with others. It’s what I’m purposed to do. And, when I doubt that, it feels small, untrue, and supremely unhelpful.
Remember, just as “ego,” being our individual personality and preferences, can puff us up, it is also just as much a sign of ego to keep playing small.
So, please DO NOT tell me how great I am in response to this post. PLEASE do not pay me any compliments. It’s not what this is about. Instead, I invite you to explore with me:
Where are the edges of your greatness?
Where do you tend to shrink back from owning your strengths? From standing in your magnificence?
How have you been able to step into your true power?
What helps you to remember?
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