Not taking criticisms personally is one of my biggest lessons. It is rooted in my deep need for acceptance and approval, which, among others, I did not receive from my family of origin.
The rejection from my mother, which began at birth, propelled me to live my life for others — hoping to meet society’s expectations, to be accepted, to fit in, to be loved [by my parents and family] — which, as we know, is an unhealthy — although usual — response to a dysfunctional upbringing.
Thankfully, I now know that to honor myself and my needs IS what brings me joy; to do otherwise is what kills it.
Recently, my Little Nadine was triggered by the invalidation that I received, as I expressed by ‘Bigness’ and uniqueness.
Oh, it was tempting to defend and explain myself just so I would win the other’s support! I certainly did not appreciate the invalidating, even condescending energies, especially as they weren’t even privy to all the goings-on in my life!
Thankfully, I was quick to recognize my habitual dysfunctional response pattern and held my rein. I quickly realized there was no need for any excessive and unnecessary explanation to remove whatever doubts others have about me.
I soothed my pouting and sulking Little Nadine, who felt dismissed again, and assured her, “I got this, my dearest Little Nadine. You are marvelous and magnificent. I will not allow anyone to tell you or make you believe otherwise.”
When we beam our Light and express our ‘Bigness’ — instead of playing small — those who are operating from the old, limited, and disempowering patriarchal paradigm are threatened.
They dismiss our Light and ‘Bigness.’
They respond with skepticism instead of validation and celebration. They do not celebrate our Light and ‘Bigness.’ They do not know HOW to celebrate our Light and ‘Bigness.’
In “The Power of Owning Your ‘Bigness'” by Bethany Webster, she wrote that “we must internally bless our ‘Bigness,’ even when others reject it.”
I will add, we must bless and be compassionate towards those who are threatened by and reject our Light and ‘Bigness.’
That hasn’t been easy, especially during the early days of my healing journey. But I have accepted it to be one of the challenges of being a forerunner. It does get easier over time, though, thankfully.
One challenge is the message that it is ok to express my ‘bigness’ — as long as it is SMALLER THAN or the SAME SIZE as the ‘bigness’ of others. It’s ok to shine my Light — as long as it is NOT AS or JUST AS BRIGHT AS the Light of others.
If my ‘bigness’ is more prominent than others’, if my Light is brighter than their Light, it triggers them, making them question and reject me.
Yup. Competition. Envy. Jealousy. Insecurities and fears coming to the surface. All damaging byproducts of patriarchy.
But those are THEIR issues, not mine.
It is others’ limitations and woundedness that are preventing them from being able to hold space for and allow us to express our ‘bigness.’
Patriarchy taught us to accept and celebrate those — especially women — who [are expected and forced to] play small and practice false humility.
Patriarchy taught us to put a limit to our ‘largeness’ — therefore preventing us from living from our authentic selves.
[My mother was the epitome of false humility. I had to play small to accommodate her insecurities and give way for her to shine, feel good about herself, and be the center of attention.]
We must stop playing small. We must express our ‘Bigness’ and uniqueness.
I have learned that no matter how I dim my Light — which I shouldn’t — or no matter how I play down my triumphs — again, which I also shouldn’t — as Bethany Webster wrote in “Dare to Own Your Potency,” I “will never be ‘small’ enough for those that protest [aka cannot and refuse to accept] my ‘largeness.’”
Whether or not it is a result of patriarchy, perhaps it is human nature or universal for people to question, doubt, condemn or not be comfortable with those whose choices and lifestyles are different from theirs, from the majority, or what’s considered ‘normal.’
Thankfully, I have now embraced my being a maverick, dancing to the beat of my own drum. I am no longer as affected by the lack of acceptance from others.
I’m equally thankful that my being a maverick has equipped me with the ability to have so much empathy and compassion for fellow deviants [like the LGBQT+ community] and those who are wounded and suffering — especially those who are not even aware of their pain and woundedness.
This recent invalidating experience reminded me that I must continue to freely, joyfully, and unapologetically express who and what I truly am — no reservations, no justifications, no explanations. Only with the sheer intention of expressing myself. Of expressing my authenticity. Of living my truth.
I was reminded…..
…..to stop focusing on others’ reactions. I must not give my power away by relying upon external approval to boost my self-esteem.
…..to not judge them for judging me for choosing differently.
…..to continue living as I please — even if it doesn’t please others or they don’t understand, believe, support or cannot comprehend my choices.
That I do not owe anyone any explanation.
That I must not allow the invalidations and attempts of others to keep me small and prevent me from expressing my ‘largeness’ and showing up authentically. I must not allow their dismissive energies to make me doubt myself — especially not to renege on my choices and decisions.
I do not need anyone else’s permission — or approval — for me to express myself authentically and no longer play small. The only permission that I need and matters is the one coming from my Divine Self.
I was likewise reminded to offer a prayer of thanks for how far I have come in my journey of authentic expression and living — that despite being in a patriarchal society that does not celebrate a woman’s ‘Bigness,’ it is so much freeing, empowering, and ‘weightless’ to no longer be trapped in falsehood and inauthenticity — and to not be [overly] concerned with what the opinion of others are about me.
I was reminded to bless others for gifting me with the opportunity to keep staying firm in my resolve to express myself authentically — no matter how it goes against the majority or no matter how incredulous others may perceive my choices, lifestyle, and path, as well as what it is that I have determined for myself as the source of my joy and fulfillment — including and especially the fact that I feel fulfilled at this point in my journey and am content with where I’m at.
This, as I continue making peace with all that was, being grateful and appreciative for what was accorded me [be it by my mother, family in general, or whoever else], and extend compassion for what they were/are not able to — or couldn’t, wouldn’t, or refuse/d to — give me.
Truly, “it takes guts and fortitude” to live as our essence.
I remind myself of all these, as I affirm and proclaim, borrowing from “This Is Me” [“The Greatest Showman”] —
“Watch out, here I come
I am marvelous
I am a warrior
I march to the beat of my drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies
THIS IS ME.”
I play this clip whenever others attempt to put me down. It quickly shifts my energies and helps bring me back to my core and the truth of my essence.