Sometimes I’m afraid I’ve spent so much of my life hiding my light that I have become too comfortable with the darkness. I think, for some of you, this statement might be a bit of a shock. I work hard to make sure that I project a positive image, and by nature I am an optimist. I also have built a business on motivating others. So why would I ever say that I am comfortable with the darkness?
The truth is in the words “I work hard”. Some days the minutia in my mind becomes overwhelming. Gray, leafless days that stretch on and on tend to numb my spirit. Crawling under the covers or into a hole sound awfully appealing. But I have been given the gift of being reminded by those around me that I have a choice as to which thought pattern I wish to follow for any particular moment. Some days I want to choose the “easier” path of non-caring or frustration and I allow myself to start wallowing in the depths of self pity. And then someone, or something, comes along to shine a light on me and illuminate the reality of the situation.
Take yesterday, for instance. I had had “one of those days.” Trying to get a car registered, I left early and then got lost in a not-too-savory area looking for the DMV. Once I finally got there, the line to get IN the door was down the block. Great way to start the day. I decided to give up, try later and just go to work early or at least on time for once, only to find myself behind every school bus and construction vehicle on the road in New Jersey. Frustration was now piling on top of frustration. Later, I decided to try another location of the DMV again, thinking that MUST be better, and yet I found the same scenario and ended up standing in line for 2 hours. I couldn’t even come home to blog about it because my website had been down for a week, leaving me “speechless”. Finally I decided to vent on Facebook, hoping to get a little sympathy from my friends. Instead, I got a note from someone in the South who had been hit by the horrific, disabling storms. Talk about snapping me back into perspective!
The other side of this attitude coin has to do with allowing myself to be “big”. I know that as a child it was very important to me to fit in. In order to do that, I needed to “tone it down”, making my personality/talents/opinions more mainstream and less open to criticism. Years of this conditioning created a neural pathway which became the “go to” response when faced with any opportunity to shine. Learning to accept myself, embrace my gifts, and allow them to shine was work for me. It can still be.
Marianne Williamson (or Nelson Mandella – I never know EXACTLY who said) said it best, in a quote that resonates to my core:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
For today, I choose to shine. May your path be equally as bright.
Janet Neal’s musings of a woman/mother/professional/entrepreneur/coach/trainer/writer who believes that a balanced person is a productive and content person – and her attempts at living that dream! can be found on her blog A Balanced Perspective.