The tall poppy syndrome is a well known cliche but it demonstrates what happens to people who dare to stand out. Especially when it's about a natural talent and affinity to something and you have the audacity to embrace your talent without an apology.
At least until you have an experience that teaches you that the price of outshining others is being labelled an attention seeker.
We all have those stories where we are in our Zone of Genius, which happens naturally by the way when you're a child and then someone comes along and admonishes you for letting your light shine too bright.
This could be a jealous aunty, an ignorant do gooder teacher or even a parent. It happens all the time.
It's OK to be brilliant but could you please just do it over there in that corner where no one can see you because you're making other feel like shit by displaying your natural born talents.
We all have something we are brilliant at. However when we are being told this story that we need to hold it in, we learn that it's bad, something to be ashamed of and it's boastful behaviour to let it shine and eclipses others'.
So we never learn how to appreciate those gifts and talents in ourselves. What sadder even is that we learn to judge others who are in those very same shoes. This is how this cycle perpetuates itself and how the damage is passed from person to person.
If only we developed that resilience in ourselves that helps us rebuff those demands to keep ourselves playing small. If only we had the grit and stood in our power in those situations and continued to shine our light as bright as we could in those situations.
But we don't. Our desire to conform and fit in will dictate that we do indeed do just that.
We dim our light. We hide our natural talents. We play down our abilities. We make sure that even if we do act in our power, it's in a constrained and controlled setting that won't make others feel less.
We stay in our sandbox, even if we are busting to make that space bigger and we know that we have the capacity to do so.
When we hold onto all that creative energy and reign it back with the intent that we don't want others to feel excluded, we are excluding ourselves.
There is a whole lot of power that is being contained in a very small space and eventually that power will turn on us.
Why do we do this then if it's bad for us?
Because we don't know immediately that it's bad. We think that we'll be OK. As long as we "just use this small space" (aka our sandbox) to express our gifts, people will include us.
We want to belong and we want to have a sense that we are a part of something. When we stand out, people can make us feel that we no longer belong those spaces. We no longer belong in that safe sandbox we have been using so far.
That's a scary feeling. We are looking and yearning for that safety because it's familiar.
What we don't realise is that we have the right and the power, once we fully own our gifts and talents, to create our very own circle, our very own, infinite and inclusive sandbox. Where we are the leaders. Where we can shine unencumbered.
This an invisibility story I have also uncovered for myself. I had to dig deep into my childhood and reflect on some of my family's behaviour.
See, I was born what you would classify today as a gifted child. My invisibility story as an attention hog developed as my brother came along 5 years later.
Through a childhood illness he developed my parents' attention, understandably, was more devoted to him.
What I gained in my first five tender years of childhood about my naturals gifts and abilities was abruptly cut away.
All of a sudden, when I wanted to share some great achievement at school or a new discovery I made was overshadowed by the fact that my brother was in hospital.
Nothing I ever did after that was as important as his well being.
As a child I learnt that outshining anyone was inappropriate and I had to learn how not to do that.
This was the most challenging invisibility story for me to unravel as it involved a lot of forgiving and a lot of exploring into my true natural born gifts.
Unpacking this false story and owning your own power is the most profound thing you do for yourself.
I have created a safe space for you to discover your stories. This is a little taste of what it will be like.