Compensating and Compromising

I’m a big guy; 6’5”, 235 pounds. All my life I have been compensating for my physical presence by making myself smaller, so as not to intimidate others. When I say I make my self smaller, it goes beyond the physical; I make myself smaller in every aspect of my life. I have compromised myself, and my gifts, in order to make those around me more comfortable.

Today, as I was working out at my Aikido class, my partner said to me, “ You are not using your full height and power; try changing your posture. “ I stood taller and did the exercise, this time without trying to make it easy for him. It felt comfortable and he was thrown to the mat with force; but gracefully. As I became more comfortable with myself, we worked out together easily. The truth is that by being my real size and not compromising my power, it allowed my partner to get much more out of our work together. He was able to adjust and move to the new and energetic challenge I presented; and by pushing him, I allowed him to grow.

I see now that by being anything less than our full selves, we are not doing anyone a favor. I was not doing myself a favor by keeping myself in a physical and mental straight jacket; of my own making; and I certainly was not doing those around me any good.  Yes, every person is different and we want to make adjustments to them; but I never want to be so busy with concerns about others that I do not fulfill my own potential.

When we have big dreams; but fear that even mentioning them would freak people out; would disrupt the status quo, and be too much for people; we underestimate them. My experience is that by acting in alignment with our dreams, values, and purpose; we activate the potential of those around us. We allow them to grow with us. Those that are not interested in growing will find other partners; but those that stay, will push us and support us, as we use the best parts of ourselves in service to the world.



2 thoughts on “Compensating and Compromising

  1. Pete,

    This is a beautiful post and something I need to remind myself as well.

    It immediately brought this to mind (in particular what I emphasized):

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

    © Marianne Williamson, 1992
    Found in “A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles” Harper Collins, Chapter 7, Section 3, 1992.


  2. Tracy,
    For many of us the first step is getting beyond the feeling that “we are not enough”. Once we lose our fear of being inadequate, we face the new fear that you so eloquently point out…fear of our own greatness and the limitless possibilities that our lives represent.
    Thanks for the great comment.

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