Do you stand out or stand in? Have you ever tried to fit inside a box that was too small, contorting your limbs and squishing all your body parts just to fit in? I am sure you have seen a few entertaining videos of cats squishing themselves into small boxes or paper bags. Perhaps you made forts out of blankets and boxes when you were a child so you could tuck yourself in and hide away in your own little world. The important question to ask yourself is, “Am I still trying to fit inside the box, play small, and hide my true self from the rest of the world?”
I remember as a child building forts using furniture, pillows, and blankets. I would add my favorite stuffed animals and other comforting trinkets and I would crawl inside my own little world and feel safe for a while. While my home was safe, the rest of the world felt big, intimidating, and painful to me. As an empath and a healer, I could physically and emotionally sense and feel all the pain of others in my own body like constant thorns. I came to the conclusion that it was hard and painful to be me.
I tried to fit in and pretend to be someone other than who I was for a long time but in the end, it led me on a path of more pain and suffering. Denying my unique gift as a healer was dishonoring to who I am at the core of my being. Trying to be like others instead of giving myself permission to be me create a feeling of claustrophobia that was strangling my creativity and keeping me playing small. I didn’t want to stand out or make anyone feel inferior. I didn’t want to outshine others, because I didn’t want them to feel bad; yet at the same time, I was trying to prove my worthiness and follow my dream to save the world. Growing up I wanted to save others more than I wanted to save myself. It was a constant internal tug-of-war that used up so much of my energy it was exhausting—it left me feeling helpless and disconnected from my sense of self.
It is through the lens of fear and judgment that we make decisions to go with the crowd, follow like a herd of sheep, not rock the boat, lie low, play small, be accepted, and fit in a box that doesn’t stand out from the rest. We are taught to try and fit in. But, we are not meant to fit in. We are meant to stand out. If we were meant to be carbon copies of each other, we wouldn’t have been born with our unique features, gifts, talents, and personalities.
The perspective we choose and the lens we use to see life will determine what we see. Snowflakes are a great example. When we look at the snow falling from the sky, we see snowflakes. From a distance, they all look the same. But when we zoom in and take a closer look, we can see that each snowflake is unique. No two snowflakes are the same. Each snowflake has unique characteristics. As a child, I was fascinated by that. Depending on your perspective, the snowflakes look the same or completely different. You can say the same thing about the leaves on a tree. When we take a closer look, each one has a uniqueness that is sometimes subtle and at other times more obvious.
Now I am not saying all of this to make us feel separate from each other, but to emphasize that we each have a unique role to play here on this Earth at this time. We are all connected at the core of who we are and at the same time we are meant to stand out and share our unique gifts with the world. As long as we are trying to be like everyone else, we will always feel inadequate and find evidence of how we are not enough. When we are trying to fit into a box that someone else built and live up to the standards that others have set, we will always fall short; we will never fit in; we will always feel like we don’t belong. This creates a fundamental experience of separation.
The good news is that when we stand up, own our uniqueness by being fully authentic, we each play an essential role in the healing of the whole. Every single one of us has an essential part to play. When we watch a movie, we can see how each character adds value and depth to the overall script. If everyone were playing the same character, the movie would be a bust.
Some of us have a small role and some have a bigger role to play, but each role is essential. One person’s version of playing small may be another person’s version of playing big. It is not about comparing ourselves with others. Comparison is a game of judgment that makes us feel inadequate no matter what we are doing or not doing. By comparing ourselves, we will collect enough evidence to convince ourselves that we will never be, do, or have enough. Comparison always crushes creativity, insight, and intuition.
When we shift from the fear of comparison to the energy of cooperation, we shift into being a contribution to all of humanity. We honor the role each of us has to play and we are willing to contribute to the whole by playing our role fully, wholly, and completely. We return to love and harmony. We can stand strong, united in love.
Our heart holds the key and our script for our part in the play is placed inside us. So how do we get out of our head and into our hearts? How do we shift our perspective and open our minds to receive guidance from within?
It is about tuning into your heart and being truthful about how you are showing up in life.
I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions. First, take ten deep breaths. Yes, right now. Stop and take ten deep breaths. Imagine yourself in your mind knowing that you can take an elevator down into your heart. Go down, down, down deep into your heart space. As you read the following questions, let the answers come from deep within. Go with the first answer that pops into your awareness and write it down (even if it doesn’t make sense).
How am I shrinking, hiding, and dimming my light?
How am I playing small?
How am I trying to fit in?
What role am I meant to play?
Am I willing to play full out?
Am I willing to play my part in the grand plan?
Am I willing to stand up and stand out and be a full authentic expression of myself?
In what areas of my life am I showing up fully to play my part?
Many of you may be wondering how to know what your part is. You can’t know in your head, but I guarantee your heart knows. As long as we are using the limited programmed filters of our minds, we will never truly know how we are meant to stand out. Our mind is full of fear-based filters, judgment, and the fear of judgment, along with a long list of perceived limitations of the world.
If we drop into our hearts, we can tap into a knowing that goes beyond our mind. It is a knowing that resides in our hearts. It is our heart that holds the key and specific directions to our life script. All we need to do is get out of our heads and into our hearts and let the directions come. As with a recipe, each ingredient will be given, and each direction will be provided one step at a time.
The world doesn’t need you to fit in. What the world needs is for you to play your part—stand up, stand out, and stand strong. You have a unique role and an essential part to play. The world needs you now more than ever. Are you willing to play your part?
Say YES! Just say YES!
Stay tuned next week for chapter 12 ~ When We Fight to Be Right, We Will Always Feel Wrong
***This is an excerpt from Sue Dumais’ book “Stand UP Stand OUT Stand STRONG ~ A 30 Day Guide to Navigate Life When the SHIFT Hits the Fan”
Published on atfortyfive.com with permission from © Sue Dumais