Recognizing When You’re Playing Small and How to Stop

This time of social distancing has been so eye-opening. The most recent realization that I came to was how my impulse buying was keeping me from having the things I truly wanted. For example, in addition to the money I spent commuting 50 miles to work each way, I ate out for lunch nearly every weekday. My office is walking distance from several restaurants so my colleagues and I would often get our second wind by getting out for a bit. And then later in the day, before I’d begin my 50-mile commute back home, I’d usually grab a quick drive-thru snack. So not only was this habit incredibly unhealthy, but by eating out, I was spending tons of money every month. Hundreds of dollars, easily. Unbeknownst to me, the tradeoff was not having my dream car, not taking my dream vacation, not purchasing quality clothes that would last, and never having my dream handbag. These were all things I knew I wanted, but month after month, year after year, I would never have the money to get them. I never did the math on how much I was actually spending by eating out; I think subconsciously I didn’t want to actually fact the problem. So I’d gripe that I just didn’t understand why I hadn’t achieved some of my material goals. And because I didn’t/couldn’t have them, I tried to diminish their importance under the guise of being down to earth, practical, and low-maintenance. “I don’t need a luxury handbag, that’s a waste of money” all the while I would drool every time I saw another woman holding one.

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting luxury items, but there’s also nothing wrong if you do want these things. But since I didn’t have the money, I downplayed their importance when in actuality, I marveled at well-dressed women. Deep down, I wanted to be one. Through my journey to self-actualization and confidence, I’m sharing a few ways to recognize if you’re downplaying your dream life along with the strategies that helped me overcome my self-sabotaging

Ways you might be playing small:

  • Overeating to perpetuate the idea that you’re unattractive and therefore unworthy of love
  • Overspending to not acquire the things that would serve as a visual reminder that you’ve outgrown your past or past self
  • Not putting on makeup or wearing flattering clothes to avoid standing out from others
  • Not speaking up or sharing your ideas or opinions under the guise of being polite, nice, or respectful

How to shift your thinking to live your biggest and best life:

  • Be honest. Take some time to reflect on the people or things that inspire you and times in life when you felt that you were at your all-time best. Use this info for the next step…
  • Use daily affirmations to retrain your mind to think positively about who you are now and who you will be in the future
  • Make a list of the things you want and reference this list before impulse buying
  • Create a vision board displaying the things you want to see in reality – hang it somewhere you’ll see it daily
  • Commit to 21 days of living big. This is sort of a “fake it until you make it” practice. Get into character and just BE the person you envision yourself being until it starts to come naturally.

You can rewrite your story anytime; you aren’t relegated to being or doing anything that no longer serves you. Take it one day at a time – even tiny steps lead to the destination.

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