How often do you get in the way of your own success? And it’s not always from a conscious place. The best way to describe this is to share some of my own insight. Even though it does make me cringe.
When David and I met I had returned to University age 26. Trying to pay my way I didn’t have much to my name. I’d also come out of a painful break up. The early patterns of our relationship were established in the solid and consistent support he provided to my more dependent self. This worked for him too, I needed to be needed and he wanted to be provider and liked calling the shots.
Fast forward 16 years, buying houses, 3 children and a ton of growth later and we’ve had to work hard to maintain equilibrium. This initial establishing of power in our relationship would maintain my playing small for years to come. Eventually I wanted to review why I could get close to my goals but never reach them or see them through. With coaching I saw patterns and caught myself out but it still shakes my bones to make changes because in love there is the fear of loss of love and that’s massive.
Every time I came close to changing the dynamic on which our relationship was built for example equalling income (not an easy feat in our case), meeting financial obligations, full time hours committed to my work or equal and fair share of housekeeping/childcare for him I would sabotage myself (all be it unknowingly) back to a position of emotional and sometimes even physical dependency. But Why!
Because the known and familiar become our baseline for safety and security particularly in our relationships. Parental patterns will shape almost all our choices until we know different. A story like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I can’t do it alone’ will shape our perspective of every situation. Until we do the inner work to understand our stories, patterns and importantly our own unique values and desires independent of those we love. We must love and act for ourselves.
Standing our ground, finding our authenticity, achieving our goals, pursuing our dreams, we can do this alongside another but not to please or appease another! When we play small not only will we forfeit our goals but halter our growth towards peace of mind! Life takes courage, at first it’s much easier to stay small and get in our own way until eventually it’s not, it’s no longer easier and the pain eventually instigates change!
In my adult life I’ve accomplished some great things like vast travel, living alone in cities, a first class degree, a high profile job, owning my own businesses it’s hard to imagine in all of that there was any ‘playing small’ and yet, I have jumped ship at the first sign of real success many times, I’ve maintained physiological problems well beyond there due date, I’ve defaulted to drama, injuries, emotional breakdowns and much more to ensure that the dynamic in which my feeling of security is known isn’t jeopardised! (aka I feared change on an identity level).
To realise our potential we must be prepared to move forward inspite of the boats we will rock, the relationships we will burn, the barriers we will blast open. Step into the unknown and trust the process! When we stop playing small and be the change we truly wish to see in the world, the world around us changes for the better. And a tip is – forgive yourself truly for what you didn’t know till you knew it! Be braver and bolder and you’ll learn that love is infinite anyway!
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