Cue the music – it’s my birthday! Yup, today I turn 34 years old. To some that number means I’m still a ‘child’, to others, it means I’m getting old. To me, as cliché as it sounds to say, age truly is just a number. I know some twenty-something year olds who are wiser and more mature than some forty-something year olds, vice versa and everything in between. So really, age is just a number and it has little correlation to the way you act or the amount you’ve achieved in your life.
That being said, I do like to take stock of my life as each year is lived and think about what I’ve learned, what I’m still learning, and what I want to continue to learn in the next year of my life. Although there are many things I want for the next year, one is coming to mind that I would like to share with you today.
I want to be BIG.
No, I’m not having a Tom Hanks flashback from the movie “Big” and wanting to ask Zoltar to grant my wishes (although, a genie granting some wishes would be nice…) When I say I want to be BIG, what I’m really saying is that I want to stop being small.
I read a quote by Marianne Williamson many years ago that has always stuck with me. In it she says, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
For me, that really resonates because I have always been a bit of a caretaker in the relationships I have with my family, friends and all those around me. If I’m being honest, there have been many times when I have made myself smaller so that someone else can feel bigger. Whether it’s backing down in an argument even when I feel I’m right, or diminishing my achievements so that the person I’m with can be praised for theirs instead – it all comes down to me not enjoying the full spotlight, even if it is just for a few moments, and instead, turning it onto someone else.
Sure, I tell myself that I’m humble and that I’m modest. Yes, that’s all true, I am all of those things. However, there is nothing wrong with celebrating my own achievements from time to time. I know I would never do so at the expense of someone else so I know I will always maintain humility in my celebrations. There is no harm in defending my arguments because I know that I will always be respectful of others and never try to tear them down. So why then do I still not let myself shine?
Well, as Marianne continues in her quote, she says “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
That, my friends, is why I say I want to be BIG this year. I want to live more authentically and let the people who mean the most to me see who I truly am. It may feel odd at first, in fact, I’m pretty sure it will, both for myself and for the people around me, but like any change, time will allow for acceptance. I truly believe that in being authentically BIG, the confidence that comes with that will help inspire others to do the same.
I get excited thinking of the amazing dialogues that we can have if we all feel comfortable enough to speak our minds truthfully and respectfully. Can you imagine the growth and the learning that will come as a result of that?
And how incredible would it be to really bask in the glory of our achievements – big and small. I know that when I see someone really absorb and celebrate their achievements, I end up feeling motivated and inspired by them to work harder towards my own goals. Yikes! We could really start a revolution here people! A bunch of BIG people who aren’t afraid of being BIG because they know they are no bigger (and no smaller) than everyone else around them.
In fact, a dear friend of mine actually inspired me to write this blog and said something very powerful. She said, “We are all unique but no one is more special than anyone else.” That is so true! We are all equal when distilled down to the core. Some of us may be rich, poor, smart, challenged, whatever – we come into this world the same way and we go out the same way, no one is more special than anyone else.
So that’s my birthday wish. Thanks for humoring me. Now go celebrate yourself!
Here is the full quote by Marianne Williamson.