Life gives us opportunities to hide away from our inner dreams and greatness. There is always a back door to escape by if you really look for it. Or hiding behind someone else works well too.
What does this mean for us? Why hide? Why not be out in the world saying what we believe and sharing our amazingness. It’s often our learned behaviour to be small in order to stay safe in some way that impacts our ability to ‘show up’.
In Australia our ‘culture’ is to stay small or someone will “pull you down a peg or two”. We call it the ‘tall poppy syndrome’. I’ve been told that it actually comes from our convict heritage. When a convict got ‘too big for himself’ and had the internal power to decide to try to escape, he was in trouble. The other convicts knew that if anyone escaped, those left behind would be punished. This became an effective way to keep the convicts in line. The soldiers used the fear of other convicts to keep them powerless and small.
So why now decades later do we keep doing this? It often comes from learnt behavior within the family unit. If I stay small or quiet I will ensure safety or harmony in some way. These are the survival patterns we all have to some degree.
Some people have it more than others depending on the functionality of their family life. Perhaps Mum or Dad were loud and angry and you knew if you stayed quiet you’d not attract unwanted angry attention. Perhaps a sibling was very unwell and you were always expected to stay quiet in order to keep the peace and not rock the boat. All of these learnt behaviours effect how we feel about showing up in the world. They can be fundamental patterns of behaviour that won’t allow us to push through and show our true potential.
The great news is that this can change with some consistent effort and using the tools that work best for you. The amazing thing about all of this is that when you do push through this fear stage and show up with the fullness of who you really are, you’re actually giving yourself the best healing possible. Let me explain.
A man in his mid 40’s, we will call him Stan, came to do some work with me. He had dreams of building a business that he’d always wanted to do but never felt he could. After exploring his background it became clear that this playing it small to stay safe was a behavioural pattern that he had perfected as a child and it was a pattern that he was still stuck in. Often, as adults we end up becoming stuck in these patterns even though the threat is no longer there, and now the pattern creates dysfunctionality.
The first important step is to recognise where you’re at and the patterns that exist. Your initial response may be to blame whoever was involved in this creation. This may feel a relief and your inner victim may like it for a while. “Oh that’s why I can never ……” (you fill in the blanks)
A significant transition occurs when we decide to take responsibility of where we are ‘at’. The inner victim gets a back seat and we draw upon some of our other inner resources that wish to move forward in life in a new way. Stan began to work with his subconscious patterning and reprogramed them with supportive statements regarding action and mindset:
- “It’s safe to been seen and heard”
- “My words and actions are valuable and wanted”
This opened the door for shift to occur. He worked though his fears and began to make plans for his new business venture. This was so different for him, because in past this exposure would have been too scary to tolerate.
It was through his bravery however that he gave himself his deepest healing. In showing up and sharing himself with others he was actually healing his past wounds. People enjoyed what he had to say, began to seek out his advice and even wanted to work with him on his business ventures.
Just think about this more deeply for a moment. His inner child, whose strategy it was to stay small, was initially reprogrammed to open up to new possibilities. Then with bravery and perseverance he showed up in the world more, and was welcomed and accepted. Along the way his inner child (that is always with us) witnessed himself in a whole new way. “Oh it’s ok to have a voice, it’s ok to share my passion, it’s ok to be seen”. This was the healing the inner child really needed, to be accepted and appreciated, and it was Stan that gave that to himself.
I always feel privileged to watch the unfolding of healing. When we empower ourselves and take responsibility for making the changes that are required, life can open up to new possibilities and wonders.
Do you have any patterns that are holding you back? Would you like to get to the core of your issues and make the changes that are required for transformation? Remember your initial 1.5hr discovery session is free, so what have you got to lose?!
Love and Wisdom