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Ladies – We Need to Rise Up and Stop Playing Small (Here’s How)

Melody Beuzelin
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If you’re a woman, you need to read this. In the last hundred years or so, the West has witnessed a paradigm shift as women have felt empowered by feminism to speak their minds and take a stand for their beliefs.
 
While we are seeing more female leaders, business owners and role models emerge, there’s still a concept that I’d like to bring attention to.
 
It’s a restricting layer that, despite our advancements, we still struggle to shed . . . and it limits the full potential that we as women are truly capable of.
 

I Call it “Playing Small”

Through glossy spreads in magazines, social media feeds and all over the Internet it’s implied that as women we should strive to be smaller, more demure and soft-spoken.
 

We still look up to our male counterparts for validation when we should be asserting ourselves on an equal playing field.

 
This concept unfortunately made sense when our options were limited just a few decades ago, where our minds and ideas were not valued as much as youth and beauty were.
 
But times have changed.
 

What is Feminism and the Rise of Female Empowerment?

Enter feminism and feminist values that paved the way for converting observations into bold pursuits. We proved that, in addition to the challenge of raising a household, we can also fight in wars, lead board meetings and graduate with a medical degree if we damn well please.
 
Obviously we’re capable of these things!
 
Feminism is not so much about setting our undergarments on fire and it’s also not about being angry at men for having both X and Y-chromosomes.
 
Feminism simply means equality. Women have come a long, long way in terms of independence. Yet we still tend to look to “look up” to the media’s standards and even our male counterparts for validation when we should be asserting ourselves on an equal playing field.
 
In our vigorous attempts to outgrow archaic gender roles, as women we still manage to shrink back into a space filled with doubt that we create for ourselves.
 

Here Are 4 Ways Women Need to Stop Playing Small – Now

Ladies, we undermine ourselves when we look at our reflections in the mirror with disgust, keep quiet about our ideas and avoid opportunities to uplift others.
 
We need to rise up and hold ourselves accountable in the process. To help with this, here are four ways we as women limit our potential and weaken our personal empowerment by “playing small.”
 

1. Stop Playing Small With Owning Your Accomplishments

When you do something or accomplish something awesome, don’t downplay your own actions by saying things like, “Oh, I don’t know how I did that” or “it wasn’t a big deal.” Yes, it is a big deal. You are a big deal.
 

Own it!

 
Take responsibility for the results you earn from your hard work. Accept a little compliment with massive gratitude. Because you are an inspiration to those around you and deserve to soak in all the goodness you create, even if it’s just for a moment before you move onto your next big thing. And trust me, you will.
 
 

2. Stop Playing Small With Your Words

Your mind is one of your most valuable tools, and your words are an integral catalyst for communicating your thoughts.
 
If you refuse to speak your mind about things you feel passionately about, you give others permission to assume you don’t stand for anything. Are you unhappy with the way someone treated you, or what someone said about someone else?
 
Use your words. Stand up for yourself, others, and what you believe in. Raise awareness. Enact change. Do something.
 

 

3. Stop Playing Small With How You Treat Other Women

This is similar to the above, but with a focus on fellow females. We can be harsh and judgmental – even competitive – with each other. We need to practice more compassion and less comparison in our thoughts, actions, and conversations with or about other women.
 

We need to practice more compassion and less comparison with other women.

 
Use your words to dig beyond the superficial surface of conversation with other women. Instead of asking your friend or coworker where she got her shoes from, ask her if she’s seen or read anything that inspired her lately. By adding depth to your thoughts, you’re inviting more meaningful conversation into your life.
 
 

4. Stop Playing Small With Your Body

One of the infinitely valuable lessons yoga teaches you is that your body is a sanctuary. When you sit, do you hunch, cross your arms, or hang your head low? These actions give you the appearance of being smaller. You’re not taking up space.
 
Maybe you’re not doing this intentionally, but it echoes what might be going on between your ears. I’m not that great. I’m not worthy enough to be where I am in .
 
Listen. No seriously – LISTEN! Yes. You. Are. You are worthy. !!
 
If you want to take the world by storm, if you want to step into your power and make a difference, then act like it. Straighten up, square your shoulders, hold your head high and embody that fierce ball of energy I know – and you know – you are.
 
 

My Experience With “Playing Small”

I still have my struggles with “playing small.” In fact, it was one of the biggest criticisms I received when I gave my final teaching showcase during my 300-hour yoga teacher training. I have a soft voice, and if I don’t pay attention to my inflection, commands can come off as though I’m unsure or asking for permission.
 

The light within each of us has the potential to wash out our shadows of self-doubt.

 
Many women struggle with this – we’ve been societally ingrained to act and even sound small. Many of us have spent so long censoring or muting ourselves that it manifests physically as a weak Throat Chakra (the center of communication).
 
Empowerment requires a lot of self-awareness and responsibility, and it is work. But it’s the most important self-work you’ll ever do!
 

Ladies! Let’s Start Taking Up Space

Let’s face it, we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We all battle with our own self-image and thoughts that criticize and pick apart our confidence. But we are bigger than our egos, and the light within each of us has the potential to wash out our shadows of self-doubt.
 
Start now. Uplift yourself, refuse to be ignored, and you’ll find those around you will naturally take notice. Once you stop playing small and start taking up space with your gratitude, words, how you communicate with other women and your body, you’ll be surprised at how quickly more positive change will follow.
 
Do it for yourself, do it for the women in your life that you love, and do it for all women, because we’re all in this together. Rise up!
 

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Melody Beuzelin

Writer and editor for yogalifestyles.com, Melody Beuzelin is also a 300-hour RYT and certified personal trainer. When she's not diving into digital content strategy or directing on set with the Yoga Lifestyles film crew, she’s determined to become a citizen of the world and disrupt the concept of "business as usual."

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