PSA: Please do NOT dim your light…

“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.”  (Marianne Williamson, “A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles”)

So in the last few years of my adult life I have run into a bunch of strange emotions that I thought or better yet, was conditioned to believe a college degree would help me avoid. I had so much faith in that, that actually went back to school to double pad my credentials with a Masters Degree but low and behold, those feelings of incompetency, missing out on things, satisfying others and not really knowing where I stand as my own person began to settle in the minute I struggled to find my first real job, and suddenly, not a soul knew what I was supposed to to do next. I grew up in the time of “stay out of trouble, get good grades, go to college and reap the reward”. You had to keep your head down for the greater things that remained unseen. For pretty much my entire life I had been told what to do and it was like once I reached the peak of one of the most successful events of my life, no one could coach me any further but I could not just sit there like my hard work and success in all that I did pursue failed to exist.

Unfortunately, shit just got worse. Not only was I unemployed for about 6 months after graduation but when I married my husband (who is in the military) I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, all I knew was I was 22, fresh out of college and about to marry the man I declared I would marry when we were 14. But I had taken on a life in the middle of nowhere. Jobs were scarce and my prestigious internships intimidated a lot of these small town firms (blow #1 to my ego) and then I was introduced to the military wife dynamic (blow #2 to my ego) – one of which if you are a spouse with no job – you’re leeching off of your husband and your lazy so it forces you into toxic friendships with spouses or the active duty women who sometimes it seems keep you around to make themselves feel better. (DISCLAIMER: I have met some amazing women in both categories along the way. This is no way a reflection of you beautiful souls.)

I fell into this “trap” right away in an effort to find common ground with others and make friends – I started to dim my light. I was people pleasing and realized that I was misappropriating my energy by trying to control the situation that was bringing someone up, while pulling myself down. I started losing sight of who I really was – as the full blown adult I was growing into. The minute I mentioned a degree, I was acting “better than”, the minute I passionately engaged in a conversation where I had more to say than others, I was acting like “I knew everything or smarter than everyone”. I was being me and was being made to feel like shit for doing so.

I finally decided that I could not be confined to the limitation of what everyone around believed was possible. I was soooo much bigger than that. I also began looking outside of the “box” for friends with similar interest only to realize that it scared the rest of those who lacked genuine interest out of my life – yay me!! By dimming your light, you are not only giving people power over creating who they think you are but you’re hurting yourself whether you know it or not, this people pleasing mentally can only have a negative outcome.

Have you ever felt like even doing everything  the right way felt wrong? Or in any situation you had to sell yourself short to fit in? Tell me your experience.

-Ash

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