Accepting our greatness means no longer playing small. It often starts with baby steps, but eventually it means making major changes—in our personal growth, relationships, careers, self-care, and dreams. If I’d believed in my own self-worth, I would never have tolerated the toxic relationships that I repeatedly found myself in during my twenties. If I’d known my value, I wouldn’t have spent so many years ignoring the whispering—and sometimes screaming—voice that told me to leave my soul-crushing legal career and embrace my truth that working for someone else’s dreams would never be fulfilling and wasn’t my path. For a long time, that truth was just too scary and painful for me to face. Talk about keeping my head in the sand! But how many years did I waste, postponing what has proven to be a much better life—simply because I went into hiding and didn’t see that I was worthy of something better?
When we change and grow into new versions of ourselves, we have to tolerate a lot of uncertainty.
Rather than face uncertainty, most of us keep those blinders tightly over our eyes and stay stuck for years, even decades, in the prison of our comfort zones. We believe that sticking with the status quo will win us love and belonging. In order to avoid uncertainty and to feel as though we belong, we hold to long-held cultural beliefs, following the prescribed paths we’ve been told will make us happy. These paths take the pressure off of us. We don’t have to forge new pathways. We can stay “safe” in the roles of daughter, son, wife, husband, mother, or father. We don’t have to have difficult conversations where we break the norms and expectations our family and loved ones have of us.
But how safe are these roles really? How safe is it to play so small that we squeeze ourselves into boxes and live false lives? How safe is it to play so small that we give ourselves away, reinforcing the belief that we have no real worth?
These beliefs that we hold about our own worthiness keep us in situations that aren’t truly satisfying. They trap us in the fear of the unknown, where we’re willing to short ourselves to avoid stepping outside of our comfort zone. The tragedy is that so many of us are willing to stay small to such a degree that we squander the beautiful lives we’ve been given.
I’m here to convince you that it’s time to do things differently.
The good news is that we all have infinite potential. As Thomas Edison so brilliantly observed, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” An infinite attitude toward our own self-worth starts with taking off the blinders and seeing where we’ve kept ourselves in the dark.
So, what’s the first step you’re willing to take out of the dark to ignite your own light?