By Molly M. Cantrell-Kraig (@mckra1g), Women With Drive Foundation (@WWDr1ve)
“How much longer will you go on letting your energy sleep? How much longer are you going to stay oblivious of the immensity of yourself?” ~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
The significance of this quote and its meaning really hit me between the eyes when I first read it. There are a couple of societal programming factors that contribute to my specific reaction:
Firstly, I was raised to feel as if “tooting my own horn” was boastful. Delivering results, especially quality (ie. good grades, a job well done, etc.) was expected of me and not necessarily worthy of commendation.
Secondly, “Boys don’t like smart girls.” Right or wrong, good or bad – it’s the message I internalized when I turned eleven years old. Desperate to not appear to be a know-it-all, I quit answering questions in class. Sometimes, I pretended not to know the answers when called upon.
As a result, I learned to soft-pedal my skills; under-represent my capabilities. Hold back. I began to doubt my instincts and as a result, my “immensity” atrophied. I began to hide my light under a bushel.
Sandbagging requires a lot of energy to maintain. It’s frustrating.
What’s doubly frustrating is the gnawing awareness that your facade isn’t serving any one’s best interest. Not yours; not society’s. Being independent means that you honor your own voice. When you finally recognize and embrace your unique power and perspective, then opportunities to flex those skills present themselves.
In order to transition to independence, you have a responsibility to yourself to step into those opportunities. From the beginning of this series, however, we’ve explored together how the power of fear tethers us and keeps us from fulfilling our potential.
What are we afraid of?
“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. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
When we achieve our own autonomy through actualizing our “immensity,” our ascent is not achieved at the expense of anyone else. We haven’t stepped on any toes, thrown anyone under the bus or otherwise impeded another’s success. It is a pure transition, and as such, generates positive energies. Think about times when you were around a positive, giving, successful person. How did you feel? I’m willing to bet that you felt energized and full of “possibility thinking.”
You have a responsibility to yourself to identify and develop your individual ‘energy.’ Through the application of your talents, you will create your own independence and enrich your community.
Take a moment and jot down the first thing that comes to you when you write the following:
“I am happiest when …..”
“People always ask me for help with….”
“I don’t notice time passing when I am….”
“I collect or surround myself with …”
These are all clues to your passions and your gifts. Take some time to meditate on your answers and see what sifts out. Seek out opportunities in your life to create more of the “instinct” moments. Your independence lies along this path.
As for whether or not ‘boys like smart girls’? It’s immaterial. What’s important is that you like yourself.