The Power of Owning Your “Bigness”

Moving Into Light by Kate Bedell

Throughout history we have been given the message that an acceptable woman is a “small” woman. In response, we’ve been trying to squeeze ourselves into a smaller and smaller forms to appear attractive and palatable to the male cultural gaze.

It’s important to de-bunk this myth. There’s no payoff for being small.

Throughout time we have been asked to be “small” in so many ways:

  • In our physical bodies: wearing corsets, binding our feet, wearing high heels, trying to be physically “slim” and lean at all costs.
  • In our personalities: to be quiet, to be polite, to say what people want to hear, to “look the part,” to be tolerant of poor treatment, to carry the burdens of others.
  • In our behaviors: to perpetuate the comfortable illusions of others at our own expense, to display the behaviors and traits that don’t threaten the insecurities of those around us.

It is precisely the tension arising from “trying to be other than we are” that creates deep suffering and perpetuates the female “pain body.” Our oppression lies in the splitting within ourselves; the inner rejections, and the ways we’ve let this tension control how we view ourselves.

The Spark of Hope by Katie Hoffman

The oppression of falseness and the hunger for the real

The “myth of smallness” is that if we could only become small enough, then we will finally get the love, approval and support that we deserve. We pour all this energy in meeting impossible standards of appearance and behavior. The truth is that we will never be “small” enough for those that protest our “largeness.” The reason why is because their need for smallness has nothing to do with us personally; It is a projection of the limitations they fear within themselves.

Largeness doesn’t necessarily translate to being more extraverted. It means different things to different people. It simply means being more authentic and allowing the full spectrum of yourself to be revealed, even when it bumps up against cultural norms.

We must refuse to believe the lie that we are most loveable in our attenuated, abbreviated forms. 

Chrysalis by Erica Art

The danger represented by the “largeness” of the female form is a symbol for something much deeper than our body size or the volume of our voices.

This largeness represents something inherently powerful in us as women…

  • our large capacity for expression
  • our large capacity to bring change
  • our large capacity to be powerful
  • our large capacity to love
  • our large capacity to heal and transform
  • our large capacity to give birth and give death
  • our large capacity to feel our emotions and extract wisdom from them
  • our large capacity for connection to our bodies and the inner messages

See all external attempts to keep you small for what they really are…

  • a fear of your power
  • a fear of change
  • a fear of the unknown
  • a fear of abandonment
  • a fear of their own powerlessness
  • ignorance of their own possibilities and potential

These fears are not something we need to fight, judge or fix in other people, but simply something to accept as their responsibility to heal while we go on embodying the full truth of who we are. Their ignorance is not our responsibility to fix.

Clouds Print by Michael Creese

Being your full, un-attenuated self is a form of holding space for others to step into their own “bigness” as well.

Many of us grew up watching our mothers wither under the myth of smallness, perhaps teaching us to be small too, in an effort to help us survive.  We may have watched our mother’s failed attempts to be seen as valuable and worthy under the myth of smallness. This can be heartbreaking to witness.

Many of us have felt enormous compassion for the ways our mothers’ value was unseen by the larger culture and society. We may have felt that we owe our mothers somehow for their invisibility. This feeling of “owing” is seductive because it feels like it will “put flesh on our mother’s bones” but the tragedy is that it simply cannot. Our mothers have to do their own inner work to become healed and empowered. No matter how much we love other people, the responsibility for their own healing lies within them.

Many of us stayed small because we didn’t want to get approval from the culture that has hurt our mothers so much. 

The Dollmaker by Katie Hoffman

In de-bunking the “myth of smallness” and breaking the inter-generational enmeshment that inner deprivation fosters, there emerges a new tension; the tension of needing to not over-function for our mothers. There arises the necessary betrayal of refusing to be our mother’s primary source of nourishment. Healing the mother wound addresses this “emotional cannibalism” that patriarchy creates between mothers and daughters. We can’t heal them by refusing to own our own lives. This realization opens up the luminous possibility that adult daughters and mothers can become peers, equals or “sisters” on the path of conscious awakening.

We must internally bless our bigness, even when others reject it…

Any woman who desires to be whole and healed may very easily be labeled as “too much” “too intense” or “too big” in this culture. You are probably “too big” for most people. It’s OK. Own it! Not in a defensive, oppositional way, but in simply BEING who you are without apology, without shame and without guilt. Find every opportunity to occupy every cell of who you truly are with joy and love. 

Heart Chakra by Marcia Snedecor

We must see the connection between our “largeness” and the largeness of possibilities for all beings. 

There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not “too big” or “too much.” All those labels were given to us. They never originated with us.

Labels are reflections of the limits of those creating them. Those labels only reflect the limitations of society, not the flaws in human women. They are attempts to control and distract us from the source of our power that lies within us, a source of nourishment that once discovered and owned, makes us unstoppable.

Realizing our complicity in the myth of smallness is essential to vanquishing it

To really give ourselves permission to fully “occupy our largeness” we must be willing to forego the payoffs of our culture that rewards us for being small and non-threatening. Let us praise authenticity wherever we see it, in ourselves and in each other. For example, let’s refrain from praising each other for when we lose weight in an effort to meet the standard of beauty, but instead praise each other when we look happy, healthy, and vibrant. Let’s stop rewarding our silences, our superficial niceties and exhausting standards. Let’s instead praise heartfelt vulnerability, the bold risk to be real, and the courage to risk rejection for the sake of what is true.

Revelation by Cindy Elsharouni

As pioneers we must bear the tension of being ourselves in a world that may not be ready to accept us in moments. That’s OK. We can find support in men and women who do “get it” and are actively on the path of living as their real selves.

Our imperfections are interpreted as an assault only by those who haven’t done the necessary inner work to begin to love themselves. Your “imperfections” are expressions of the very things that make you REAL and therefore loveable, reachable, connect-able. Your imperfections are treasures.

You are an abundant, complex, multi-faceted being. Consciously owning this inner abundance is a joy unlike any other. This is wealth. 

The Hummingbird by Clancy Cavnar

We all want to be loved for who we really are, not for the mask that the culture says we should wear. The love we receive in exchange for wearing false masks is an empty transaction; a hollow sentiment that never truly nourishes us. It perpetuates the inner deprivation women have been living with for centuries.

We must risk being seen for who we truly are because the love we receive for being real is the only kind of love that truly is truly nourishing.

The more fiercely we love and approve of ourselves, the more we give the message to others that their real self is welcomed and safe to be seen as well. As we do this we can directly recognize the abundance of space there is for ALL of us to flourish! 

We realize this by claiming it, not by waiting for others to give it to us. Our fierce claiming of our right to take up space is what creates the space. This space is waiting for each of us to claim it. WE get to decide who and what we are, no one else.

Casting the Net by Joyce Huntington

© Bethany Webster 2015

(Art credits in order of appearance: “Moving into Light” by Kate Bedell, “The Spark of Hope” by Katie Hoffman, “Chrysalis” by EricA Art, “Clouds” by Michael Creese, “The Dollmaker” by Katie Hoffman, “Heart Chakra” by Marcia Snedecor, “Revelation” by Cindy Elsharouni, “The Hummingbird” by Clancy Cavnar,” “Casting the Net” by Joyce Huntington)

If you’d like to receive my personal support in moving beyond the mother wound and into your full potential and success, please click here to sign up for a free, 30-minute Clarity session where I can help you get clear on how the mother wound is impacting you and create a roadmap to get you to the other side. I look forward to connecting with you!  ~Bethany

Ways to Work with me: 

Click here to download my FREE e-book on “Transforming the Inner Mother” and sign up for my newsletter.





16 thoughts on “The Power of Owning Your “Bigness”

  1. Thank you again Bethany for a good reminder. Unhealthy patterned ways of being have a tendency to take over. We so need these reminders telling us that we are big.
    Even with everything that I’ve learned, it’s still hard to come out of hiding – “needing to not over-function for others” – “BEING who I am without apology, without shame and without guilt.”

    um,um… that feeds me. thank you.


  2. There are so many articles and blogs encouraging large women to feel okay about themselves. But the backlash is also severe i.e. a kind of denigration of those of us who are smaller, lighter, thinner … by nature, not diet. That’s fine, too. The full range of female size is, to be blunt, irrelevant. It’s what’s inside that counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One day I realized that all my mother wanted from me was lies. She didn’t want to hear anything from me that didn’t parrot back her belief that humans in general and women in particular were worthless (only god can have worth). She is more proud of my my failures than my success. I died a little inside when I realized that

    I still don’t know how to deal with it. I find myself wishing that she had had a better life.


    • It’s heartbreaking to hear how deeply wounded your mother was. I can imagine how painful it must have been when you realized that. It takes a lot of courage to see that clearly. AS painful as it is, to see the reality of it can help you find your own ground within you. You can have a different kind of life than your mother and also wish her well. I invite you to check out my online course to help you work through this. Love and blessings on your journey:


  4. I often find it funny/uncanny/timely how much outer messages such as this seem to line up with my inner realizations. I’ve been working on being present in my existence without apologies, taking up space and truly appreciating all the ways I do so.

    I learned to be small throughout my life and it’s caused me great pain.In my effort to connect with my inner child, I keep a picture of myself as a child next to my bed. In the picture, I’m laughing with my head thrown back, fully enjoying the moment. When I look at this picture, I’m sensitized to that little girl and reminded of the perfection of all children. I want her to feel completely accepted and appreciated just as she is.

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder to love and cherish the child that still dwells within and the woman she’s become.


  5. Wow, Bethany, your email came at just the right time. Of course. The post was incredible, as usual, but your accompanying email on finding the Divine Child Within struck such a chord with me and the way I’d been parenting my own daughter this very morning. So much so I wrote a blog all about it below. Thank you for the incredible insight as always:



  6. I am ~again, AMAZED and in total awe of how your posts are directly intertwined with my own inspirations fueled inside of me, through my own connection to Love. Being brave enough to embody your Greatness which is looked upon as betrayal, and your smallness is celebrated, is something I am writing about myself this very moment. I love the synchronicity between your work and the path I am on, showing me I am actually on the right path 😊 and the universal nature of the path we are all on as humanity as one whole. This is really BIG, actually much bigger than “just healing the mother wound”, it is about the awakening of humanity as one total, the awakening that is taking place on a massive scale , and now~ having remembered the Truth of who we are, be courageous enough to actually LIVE it! WE ARE BORN TO SHINE! …and now giving ourselves permission to actually do so… 💖 Thank you Bethany, for shining bright and give the Gift you are born to give…. Your Happiness…. 💗


  7. Pingback: Mesaj important pentru toate Femeile | Femeia Trezită

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