Confessions of Smallness

I have a confession to make, one that is quite important and that I have Dr. Brené Brown to thank for making it (if you don’t know who she then click here).

The wording of my confession comes from her, but I stand in the fucking raw truth of it and claim it as my own. I claim this truthful confession with the same despair and hope I felt when I finally looked in the mirror and realized I was dying from the disease of addiction.

My confession goes something like this: I have spent far too long of my life engineering smallness.

I engineer smallness everywhere and in so many ways.  I engineer smallness to feel the security of being a big fish in a small pond, to not feel fear, to say I am taking the spiritual high road and seeking humility (as if humility and smallness were synonymous).

I engineer smallness to make myself feel good, to make my light seems to shine brighter. I engineer smallness because I’m just fucking afraid of failure and even more afraid of ‘big’ successes.

Even as I rail against those petty-minded people who let fear rule and ruin their lives – I stand in the shadow of my fears hoping no one will see my light.

I have feared greatness and being large for far too long, claiming the spiritual high road of humility and smallness, as I would judge those who seek “greatness”.   I am not talking about a greatness based on ego, stardom or popularity.

I am talking about the greatness of a large heart, of living through the fear, of not letting shame win, of not being afraid of money, wealth, giving, serving, striving and creating!  All of that is the greatness I have feared and the tool I have used to hide my fear has been my intelligence, my wit and wisdom, and all the things I have learned in both my active addiction and active sobriety.

I have cloaked my engineering of smallness behind the spiritual and the sacred as much as I have the mundane and the mindless. 

I fear sharing this truth of my being with others, and not the truth of my vulnerabilities and weaknesses and pains; no that pain is rather easy for me to share in the rooms of recovery and the stages I have shared with others these last few months talking about “my story of addiction and recovery.”

No, the truth of my being that I have not shared, the ones that lie just beneath gentile vulnerabilities, is the truth that I desire to do great and wondrous things, not for my own glory, but rather to have influence, to do good, to create entrepreneurial ways merge social enterprise, healing, and community renewal. 

I actually have the hubris to think I know a thing or two about life and all that it contains, and that this knowledge (if people would just listen) could do great things for good and goodness.  That is my confession…I am cocky enough to believe I have the skills and passions to do great things, to do the opposite of smallness, and to be rewarded for it (pause for effect, and to address the little shame dance I am doing right now).

YES, I want to live well.  Who doesn’t.  I want to live well by doing good, and to make a living and make a life that is embodied in a cohesive singularity.

But I have engineered smallness as the mitigating risk manager of my life all while mocking those who say go big or go home (thank you, Hugh McGee, for actually showing me what Go Big looks like!).  But I have chosen to not go big, t engineer smallness, and to mull around in the greyness and fringes feeling smug and righteous for doing good in the small worlds I inhabit.

But I do not want to be small anymore.  I want to engineer great goodness.

Call it my legacy, my swansong, my post-midlife crisis – for at 51 years old I have lived most of my life and the ashen taste of mortality mixed with the fear of NOT doing something resides in my mouth – but I desire to do and to be something larger.  Larger not for the sake of largeness, but for the sake of making an impact for good and for growth in this world.

So, there it is.

That is my confession.  My sins spoken aloud take away their shadowy power over me.  In writing this confession out loud, in putting it out into the world, I make myself susceptible to mockery, judgment and the toxic buffoonery that lives through the Internet, but I do not give a rat’s ass.

Oh, I care what others think, but not the pithy armchair quarterback folks in the stands; I care about what people think who call themselves my friends and family, those who are down on the ground with me, wiping off their own knees, cleaning up the blood and dirt that inevitably comes with living a life of daring truth, authenticity and largeness.

So, come confess your fears too.  Come with me and together we will engineer greatness of love and largeness and make the world a more beautiful place for all who call it Home.

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