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The Blue Moon in July was a strong one and I got hit in the middle of the night with this memory. I got up and wrote it down. I feel shy about sharing it. But it was such a wonderful insight, release and shift that I share in hopes that it may help you as well.
The Big Berries or Feeling Like a Fraud
I remember my first job picking blueberries to earn pocket money. It was during the summer school holidays and I was 12 years old. My job was packing them. We sat at a big picnic table and had to put the berries into punnets and cover the top with plastic that was held tightly in place with a rubber band.
We were instructed to sort all the larger berries, put them aside and be sure to place them on top covering the smaller berries underneath. I remember feeling uncomfortable about this procedure. It felt dishonest. I’m not sure why I thought it was wrong.
The memory of having to do something that I felt was dishonest stayed with me my whole life. Not that I think about it often. But it comes up unexpectedly. Even now I can catch myself unconsciously turning a punnet over at the food market to see if the berries are smaller on the bottom than on the top. They’re not.
But it’s more than that. The memory and feelings of intentionally putting the large berries on top comes up when I market myself or write copy about myself for my business which is necessary in order for potential clients to know about me and what I offer.
What comes up for me, though, is that I feel like a fraud. Thoughts of “Who am I to … ” jump up and grab me by the throat. I feel strangled by these thoughts that glare accusingly at me. I know from reading about this and speaking with other women that this is a very common feeling. Why do we feel fraudulent?
How can I be authentic. How can I be real without making myself bigger or keeping myself smaller than what I am?
Here’s an example. I was writing some copy and wrote down that I run a yearly women’s retreat in Bali. I read it to my mentor who suggested I phrase it as “I run international women’s retreats”. I know this is completely ok but in that moment, it was like putting the big berries on the top. I was portraying myself as a big berry when I felt like a small one underneath.
My mind was conflicted by the thought that it’s true – it is an international retreat. But I was seeing myself as a small berry rather than a big one.
I felt squirmy and I was puzzled by these feelings that came up. How come I struggle with this? Why do I carry this judgment about putting myself out there as a big fat juicy berry on top? And then it came to me. I learned it. I learned to dim down. Way way down. Don’t shine too brightly. Who am I to be a big enticing berry?
It’s amazing how much I learned to tone down my shine. When I was a child I naturally shined but this often led to being ostracized by my peers and this was painful. I learned to tone down to try and fit in with hopes I’d be accepted, especially by my peers.
Soon it became a habit that felt like I was being authentic. But it’s NOT. I’m not meant to dim down or hide my light. And nor are you. That’s not being authentic.
So I’m curious..
Have you ever dimmed down? Toned down your brilliance?
The more I contemplate the phenomenon the more strongly I feel that others need to see our light shine brightly with all the little imperfections and vulnerabilities we have. It helps them to be willing to turn up their own brilliant authentic shine. We can be the big berry on top. All of us.
Being kind, loving and accepting of ourselves, no matter what, is a start to being able to turn up the light and feel good shining as we’re meant to.
These days when I go to the farmers market and look at a punnet of blueberries they’re all big. On top and on the bottom. I kid you not. What a wonderful thing to notice.
I hope my story helps you be the big berry in your life no matter what you do. Your willingness to shine helps others do the same.
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With love and gratitude