Stop Shrinking to Fit the Places You've Outgrown
Nina Herndon
September 20, 2021
February 7, 2023
Be Inspired

“You cannot thrive when you’re just trying to survive.”

Wow, that’s powerful, I thought to myself, nodding my head and jotting it down as we continued on with our session. It was here, in one of my first meetings with my therapist, where I allowed myself to see how I was shrinking to fit into a place that I’d outgrown.

Once I’d heard it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It became my mantra, my reminder, my truth. 

“You cannot thrive when you’re just trying to survive.”

I’m no scientist, but I know that survival is rooted deep in our biology. It is an inherent trait of humankind and it is what allows me to be here today. For that, I am grateful. 

But I’m also grateful to be in a place — physically and historically — where I have rights, freedoms, and privileges. Things that allow me the opportunity to do more than just survive.

Why do we opt to merely survive when we have so many opportunities to thrive? For me, it’s fear. It always has been.

  • Fear of the unknown. 
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of letting people down.
  • Fear of embarrassing myself.
  • Fear of losing someone or something. 
  • Fear of being out of time.

The list goes on forever.

In my last blog post, Finding Peace in the In-Between, I shared how I quit my job (terrifying), things didn’t go according to plan (more terrifying), and then I ended up doing all these things I thought I “should” do because I was absolutely terrified. Do you see the pattern?

Fear is always hungry and never satisfied. It is the reason we make ourselves smaller to stay in a situation that no longer serves us. Whether it’s a job, a relationship, a friendship, a pant size, a belief, or a bad habit; we sacrifice our peace, our time, our sanity, our joy, our happiness, ourselves.

Sacrifice - “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”

Over the years I’ve learned, and continue to learn, that nothing is worth sacrificing who I am.

Is your peace, your time, your sanity, your joy, and your happiness worth less than the thing(s) that you’re shrinking to fit? 

If you’re in a place where you’re ready to step into the truth that who you are is in fact worth much, much more than the thing(s) you’ve outgrown, I invite you to stop shrinking. 

How to Stop Shrinking Yourself

  • Get honest with yourself. “You cannot thrive when you’re just trying to survive.” What comes to mind when you read that?
  • Start small. You don’t need to quit your job, throw out your too-small wardrobe, and break up with your partner tomorrow. Start by taking some time for yourself, whether it’s a short walk in the morning or a 10-minute guided meditation (like this one, Fear Unmasked).
  • Do something that scares you. Whether you want to go skydiving or make that phone call you’ve been putting off, just start somewhere. 
  • Define and re-define your own success. When we’ve outgrown something, it doesn’t mean we’ve made a mistake. It means we’ve grown. Consider (or reconsider) your goals and ask yourself if what you’re doing is propelling you towards them.

I know this is scary. For me, it’s still scary. Sometimes it’s painful and uncomfortable and overwhelming and exhausting. But it’s also exciting and exhilarating and wonderful and life-changing. It ebbs and flows just like the rest of life. But it’s so worth it. And for me - my peace, my time, my sanity, my joy, and my happiness are all so worth it. What about you?

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Nina Herndon

Nina believes that women have an incredible ability to help one another, and is driven to cultivate safe spaces for them to do so. Over the years she has helped her mom to grow Retreat in the Pines to reach as many women as possible and she currently serves as Managing Director.

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