How to overcome the fear of being big In the world.
As a recovered fat-kid, I have had a lifelong issue with being perceived as BIG. You might have met me before: I was the kid in your high-school class that always carried an extra 40 pounds, tended to wear extra-large sweatshirts in the heat of the summer, and did his best to not catch too much attention.
I was that guy the popular girls ignored, the bullies liked to taunt, and the nerds felt comfortable playing video games with. My extra pounds born of my love of all things glutenous and sugar-filled gave me a body that was unattractive. I did not have much self-confidence in my young, adolescent heart.
I was fortunate to lose those extra pounds in my transition from High School to College with the help of a nutritionist, but I have never been able to release the body-based dysmorphia that ruled my shadow.
Regardless of how good a shape I was in or what was reflected in the mirror, I still saw the flaws and extra curve of my stomach. It has been an internal battle my entire life. Now as I reach 48 and I can see my high school days in the rearview mirror, I am working to love my body and the size of it. While it is not easy, it is getting easier.
I am currently working on my platform for my forthcoming book and investigating all the subtle mental blocks I have to success. There are many. Some are obvious, but most are hidden, crafty and hard to track down. I want to know them all, deeply, so I can move through them and to the other side of allowing all the success I deserve to have.
For some, these habits can be called a glass ceiling or a limiting belief, and if you’re alive and human, you have them. Probably many.
I was once working with an educator who I can only describe as a beautiful, smart and powerful Queen. She had hit a wall in her revenue in her private practice for empowering women. Mystified, she couldn’t see why she continued to run into a glass ceiling.
In our work together, she discovered that if she moved past it, then she would be making the most money in the history of her family of origin. She unconsciously feared that if she made more money and succeeded they would disconnect from her and she would be alone. Once we had realized this, we were able to reframe this challenge where she felt safe to progress past this mark. She is now making significantly more money than before and is still connected to her family.
We all are afraid of what will happen when we get big. Another client is expanding at such an accelerated rate that she fears it is ruining her marriage. As she continues to grow in her practice and public presence, she doesn’t know if he can keep up.
In one couple I coached, the husband found a new personal desire but was deeply afraid of revealing it to his wife of ten years. He withheld his secret, causing a chasm between them that provoked her suspicion and mistrust.
We fear if we get big, we’ll be abandoned.
Recently, I was working with my therapist, and we used the prompt, “I don’t deserve to be big” as our starting point. For those who do not know, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a fantastic technique that uses sound and vibration to stimulate both halves of one’s brain that has been shown to heal PTSD and addiction.
My experience has been that it is similar to going into a deep meditative state or the beginning of a plant-medicine journey. My cortex shuts down, I feel like I’m falling down a mine shaft, and thoughts that are locked deep in my subconscious arise. Memories, sensations, and viewpoints connected to the original prompt come into focus.
One reason I don’t want to be big or seen as big is that I equate fame and fortune with inauthenticity. I know that many powerful celebrities are good and righteous people, but for most of our role models, I am suspect. I play smaller games because I am afraid that I will lack integrity in my actions. While I have no evidence of this, it keeps me small.
My fat-kid doesn’t want to be big, but my adult-self does. I am in a profound conflict of desire versus fear, hope versus childhood wounds, and not knowing if I will lose love when I grow and expand to who I perceive I can be.
My high school yearbook quote was stolen from Ferris Bueller when he said, “Who would believe that I was in a parade, who the hell am I?” While I can’t remember the motivation behind picking this quote above all others, it does express my exact ideology at that point. I didn’t believe that I was worthy of the attention. I know now that it was just my deep fear of being seen and loved. Every day I work to eliminate this belief so my impact can be felt deep in the world.
To Become your Bigness
- Identify one area of your life where you feel your self-imposed limitation.
- Investigate any historical reasons why you limit yourself there.
- See if there is any benefit to staying small in this area.
- Create a plan where you can move from your current status quo into a larger, more present position.
- Find an accountability buddy.
You deserve it.