As a culture, we worship the big, the fully developed, the expansive and the experienced. Then there’s the shame that goes hand-in-hand with a naive, inexperienced, unpractised stage of life. I don’t think this is something we only learn about later in life – there are plenty of cues throughout life that support this – but if you think back to your childhood, you probably got the message very early on that small and innocent isn’t cool.
“You’re a big boy now!” makes me cringe every time I hear it. In fact, I’m not a fan of big boy/big girl talk, because what’s usually being conveyed is that the big boy/big girl stage is much worthier than anything before that. On some level, children feel the pressure to get out of nappies, to get ready for school, to be reading at that level, to get ahead over there, to prepare for the next stage. And the next stage. And the next.
Life teaches us, or rather it trains us, that where we are is not where we ‘should’ be. The message is that wherever we are is less important, less meaningful than the next shiny bit. So guess how that makes us feel? Embarrassed, awkward and ashamed. It’s crazy but it’s a constant never-ending cycle. We chase, we strive and we push, so that we can escape that awkwardness and that shame. But the whole thing is a mirage. There’s always something we feel we need to move past, whether it’s crawling as a baby or whether it’s 500 followers on Facebook as an entrepreneur.
Once you step back and observe the craziness, and allow your cells to be open to a different perspective, you start to recognise how much you need to honour exactly where you are. It’s not honouring for honouring’s sake; it’s honouring because where you are right now is crucial. Where you are in life is very relevant and incredibly significant.
Small is growing. Small is a tender innocence that needs to be cherished. Small has important lessons to bestow. Small is stretching that takes time, stretching that is necessary to accommodate the growth that will come later.
Small is taking in the world through its own eyes. Small is bringing through its own set of ideas and gifts, slowly, and teaching others about new ways of doing things.
Small is no less magnificent just because it’s small. Small is as inspiring and meaningful as any other phase IF we choose to own it.
So let’s stop the ‘not yet there’. We’re already ‘there’. Think about the mirage. What you’re trying to move ahead of is what you were desperately grasping for not so long ago. If you live in a state of ‘not yet there’, your whole life will be spent in lurching forward, reaching ahead… and losing sight of what’s already in front of you.
What about if we stopped applying adjectives to our situation? What if instead of small, inexperienced, shaky, unpolished, we call it something else instead? After all, these adjectives imply that we’re comparing ourselves to something or someone out there that has ‘more’ experience, is polished at what they do, is ‘bigger’. So let’s dump the comparisons and let’s dump the adjectives.
What you are, where you are is perfect. Perfect for you. The stage you’re in wants you to accept it. It wants you to dive into it, dance with it and just allow it.
I’m not saying that we don’t want to grow our businesses, watch our children grow or expand ourselves in so many wonderful ways. I’m wondering how different it might all look – our family dynamics, our connections, our wellbeing, our work – if we blossomed into our vast potential from a place of ownership and acceptance, rather than needing, frantically striving, to get from here to there out of some misguided notion that ‘over there’ brings more glory.
Get curious about how you feel in relation to where you view yourself and even those close to you – in all areas of your life. Are you in a hurry to get beyond this point? Do you think about how ‘they’ see you? Do you romanticize over what life will look like once you’ve moved past the ‘beginning’ bit?
Maybe you play small because the ‘should’ voice makes you feel inadequate at not having reached the next big thing already. Do you stand tall and shine brightly, or do you shrink and mumble awkwardly? If you suspect you have a tendency to want to rush from one thing to the next, notice your behaviours. Become aware of how you feel to begin with, that’s all you have to do – and preferably with a gentle smile on your face that says ‘oh yes, I do that too!’. Then set the intention to let it go.
Lose the awkwardness and the shame and start working on feeling proud of where you are (without comparison). Affirm that where you are is complete (even if it’s messy) and start to feel how your whole body relaxes into the now, rather than in a perpetual state of wanting to leave it behind quickly.
And just contemplate this: was there a time in your life when you couldn’t wait till you arrived at the point you are right now?
Did you celebrate?
Breathe it in. Pat yourself on the back, put your hand on your heart and take a moment to let yourself marinate in your life as it is now. Embrace all the steps on your journey, every single one. Each step has something to show you. Accepting and gracefully allowing each little bit on your path brings you closer to who you actually are.
You are already there. Wherever you are on your journey, you are already there.
If this opened up something in you, please share it around or forward to a friend who might need to hear these words.
P.S. I’ve got lots of exciting things lined up for you. Are you on my MagnificentMail list?