We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.
I can’t remember the exact moment I realized something wasn’t right—that the “same old, same old” wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Up until that point in my life, I felt confined. So I took a hard look at myself in the mirror and started the work of asking myself why.
What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me. In a subconscious attempt to protect myself from the disapproval of others, I put my voice and my opinions in a box of limitations. In this metaphorical box, who I was wouldn’t rock the boat and I couldn’t step on any toes.
What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me.
It took me years of self-discovery and growing pains to realize that I was living for the approval and applause of others and that the fear of not receiving it caused me to play the role of a lesser version of myself. For a while, this worked for me.
Yet, as I’ve matured, I’ve grown out of the box of playing small for other people. Now, that box of limitations is not large enough for me to fit in and living inside it is no longer sustainable for the healthier, more whole version of myself that I am today.
So I got out. I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself and say what I think and what I want. I’m learning to take up every bit of space I’ve been given, and it feels good.
I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself.
Let’s step out of the tight spaces where we have confined and limited ourselves. Everything about you—your thoughts and your opinions—is valuable and worthy of being seen and heard. There is room for you to be the most true and authentic version of yourself.
Starla Gatson, the Darling family
Have you ever felt the need to play small for other people? In what practical way, can you start taking up space in your life?
Image via Koury Angelo, Darling Issue No. 11