The Doors that Keep Us Living Small

Tanya Prewitt-White
5 min readNov 9, 2021


I am walking alongside my relationship with saying “no”, setting boundaries and living in the life designed for me that is aligned with not only my lane but my purpose. I don’t always get it right. I misstep. The universe reveals the lesson and I try again.

Over the past two years I have declined invitations to more open doors and opportunities than I did in all my previous decades of existence. Saying “no” is also my responsibility in minimizing my harm I co-create with white cisheteropatriarchal supremacy culture; and I am growing to hold that saying “no” is only part of the narrative — there is much nuance to understand.

We grow our capacity to discern the doors that were designed for our journey in this earthly life with patience and grace. We learn which doors we appreciate and yet realize they aren’t our doors to traverse. We begin to recognize what we decline opens energy for what is ours; and this may be just as, if not more, important than our saying “no.” It is the ways we are filling our time, capacities and efforts into things that are not our destiny that keep us from our purpose. The doors of opportunity can be a distraction from our purpose and our means for living small — filling our precious energy and resources with things not meant for us.

In my own journey, I’m finding it takes trust and courage to decline opportunities, to say, “that’s not my space though thanks for thinking of me.” It is taking faith to believe abundance and fulfillment come from being aligned with my passion and purpose on this earth and yes, that every opportunity is not mine to have. Historically, I have found it challenging to say “no thanks” to doors I’m somewhat interested in walking through to see what’s on the other side. I often hear the advice, “your answer is a ‘no’ if it not a ‘hell yes’.” Few things are a ‘hell yes’ in a world that feeds us with the narrative that we need more experience, more opportunities, and we need to get our name out there (thank you, white cisheteropatriarchal culture — please note my sarcasm here).

But what if we don’t need more experience, more opportunities or need to get our name out there?

What if more opportunities are the gateway to doors keeping us small and over-extended in spaces that weren’t ours to begin with in this earthly life?

What if we simply need to align our purpose, our passion and what the world needs…and wait with trust?

(PERIOD, no comma).

What if it is that simple — everything aligns from there?

I don’t have this all figured out. Yet, I do know that when I graciously decline opened doors that don’t spark a fire inside me, I feel energy in my bones. I sit back and recognize I am telling the universe I am ready, when and if, my calling is presented today. It is an act of surrender in a world shouting to me, “hustle,” “grind,” and “prove.” Believe me — I’ve done that and all it did was get me overworked, overextended and finding fulfillment outside of my existence and accolades that mean little in the greater narrative of life.

It is an undoing to rest my inclination to walk through doors not destined for me. The ways I’ve been taught to achieve, to survive, to believe there’s not enough and to, dare I say, hoard. Some doors open and it would have been better for this world and me if I had not only recognized but also said, “that door is not for me, someone else has the key that fits.”

The doors we walk through are often our choosing, many of our daily realities are our making (not all realities as I honor societal injustices of supremacy culture). It is important we discern the doors we open and to journey through the doors that were designed for us. Walking through our doors of destiny doesn’t mean there won’t be struggle or opposition. Though, it does mean we will have an inner peace and calmness knowing we are living in our purpose and we are on course.

When we walk through the doors destined for us, we know and when we don’t those around us certainly do. To decipher the door designed for us we pause, listen, and observe the signs. Our presence penetrates the room, our spirits alter, vitality rushes through the fibers of our physical bodies and our purpose rises beyond any talent we do or do not possess. It is the calling of our lives not to live small and to walk through the doors destined for us to serve a greater purpose, fill a bigger need in our community or society.

Have you ever known you are in this body, your diverse experiences and identities, walking this earth in this moment of time for something greater or different than what you’re presently committing your time and energy to on a daily basis? You walked out of one space, found another door of opportunity, and then later found yourself simply muddling through yet another room not destined for you?

You are not alone.

So many doors and opportunities are not for us, and we walk through out of fear, pride, entitlement or worries of scarcity (to name a few). Our navigation of doors destined for another human keep us living small and maybe keep our neighbor waiting for us to walk back out of their door of destiny.

Will we have the courage and patience to discern the doors destined for only us? And will we have the steadfastness necessary to stay aligned with our purpose rather than seeking the comfort of yet another open door when we experience discomfort or struggle? Walking aligned with our life’s divine mission will be transformative, messy and at times, possibly, an unsettling of our previous selves and ways we used to move in the world.

I hope we collectively and individually choose doors that empower us to live big in our calling with a courage and resolve that is palpable. What is for us will always find its way to us. Our open door is waiting but first we make a conscious decision to break our patterns of walking through the doors of opportunity that keep us living small.



Tanya Prewitt-White

Consultant, Facilitator & Author committed to anti-oppression and an equitable existence for all