Stop shrinking and playing small, it’s very unattractive.

In an issue of O magazine, Oprah writes about one of the defining moments in her life.

It was a day in the third grade when her teacher praised a book report she had written.

The other students began whispering, “She thinks she’s so smart.”

Oprah confides that for many years after that, her biggest fear was that others would see her as arrogant. Even the extra weight she carried was an apology to the world — her way of saying, “See, I really don’t think I’m better than you.”

One of my defining moments came in elementary school too.

My class was planning a school play and my teacher picked two of us to sing.

During the rehearsal, she decided that the other boy could sing better and turned our duet into a solo.

I was crushed.

Yes the other boy probably could sing better than me.

But the way she handled it made me feel that my singing was bad and it took years for me to muster the courage to try again.

Each of us has experienced our own defining moments: times when the innocent kidding or insensitive actions of others have caused us to shrink inside, and begin sharing less and less of ourselves with the world.  Soon we start apologizing for our accomplishments, downplaying our brilliance, and playing it small so others feel comfortable around us.

We stop believing,

We stop trusting,

We stop singing.

Stop shrinking and playing small, it’s very unattractive.

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