“I now understand that the true measure of womanhood is exactly what I'd avoided for so long—to be filled with all of who I am. Beginning when we are girls, most of us are taught to deflect praise. We apologize for our accomplishments. We try to level the field with our family and friends by downplaying our brilliance. We settle for the passenger seat when we long to drive. That's why, every week, I find my television studio filled with women who tell me they're so concerned with what others think that they've compromised their dreams and completely lost themselves. It's why so many of us have been willing to hide our light. Instead of being filled with all the passion and purpose that enable us to offer our best to the world, we empty ourselves in an effort to silence our critics.
Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are in essence ignoring the owner's manual your creator gave you and destroying your design. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.”
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I was one of those who was so concerned with what others thought that I lost my dreams completely. I lost all confidence in myself -- many times. I floundered when I couldn't be a mother. I was expected to have children as is every woman. I quit going to church on Mother's Day because the pastor always read a scripture that made me feel worthless. He said that the true purpose of woman was to reproduce. All the mothers in the congregation stood and were recognized. (Just one more nail in the coffin of my confidence in organized religion.)
Teaching little children did not satisfy my need for completion. Once a child left my classroom, he was lost to me and I never knew what became of him. I could not take joy in what I was doing. I became consumed with the troubled kids that I could not fix. I could not go home with them and protect them from all the pain there. I felt I was a failure as a teacher. Looking back, I realize I was a good teacher, but never thought I was good enough.
So many of my years were wasted before I had the courage to do what I loved, not try to fit a mold made by others.
I try to persuade women not to sell themselves short. Follow your dreams and be bold about it. Be proud of all your accomplishments. Don't worry about what others think. When I am told, I can't toot my own horn, I say, then, who is?
This sentence says it all -- Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are in essence ignoring the owner's manual your creator gave you and destroying your design.