Let Your Light Shine: How We Dim Our Brilliance + How To Stop
“Nothing’s really wrong, but I just don’t feel right,” Lisa told me. My client was having a hard time getting excited about anything, and felt guilty for not feeling grateful for all that she had. She was in the top 1% of salespeople in her company, owned a beautiful home, loved her husband, and had two boys who adore her.
Yet her energy was low, she was uncomfortable in her body, she couldn’t focus, and her moods swung from irritated to checked-out.
She wouldn’t stop the “wine and over-work” cycle that she had discovered, through our work, was keeping her stuck.
“Lisa, you’re dimming your own light,” I finally said.
“I kinda get that, Alex. But what does that really mean? And how do I stop?” she asked.
What is your light? It’s a combination of all that you are, were, and endeavor to be. It’s your personal strengths, natural gifts, and even your physical vitality and health that combine into a kind of energy, a light, that shines out to the world.
It’s who you are, at your core. It’s the fullest expression of who you are, your personal vibration, beliefs, hopes, and more. It’s that part of you where you honor your “goodness” and “darkness,” and accept your true thoughts, experiences, and desires.
When you are in touch with your light, shine it up, let it out, and share it, it is seen and felt by the people who know you, and even people who just experience you in daily life. And it feels good to you because you’re honoring who you are, in total.
But too often we dim our light, and it leads to us feeling depressed, repressed, and like we are living a half life.
You can think of dimming your light as shrinking to fit into someone else’s expectations of you, cramming your energetic self into a box, or twisting your personality into a pretzel so as to be more palatable to the world.
But it’s a half-truth. You’re still you, but you’re not the full expression of you. A half-you.
And it stops you from feeling like yourself. It’s a half-true, inauthentic existence which doesn’t light up ourselves, or anyone else.
Here are three ways we dim our light:
- Hiding our views, opinions, desires, and boundaries from others in an effort to be liked and feel safe. We minimize our true feelings because people tell us what we feel isn’t real, or we try to ignore our truth because it’s not convenient for others.
- Mistaking our light for our accomplishments, bank account, or external validation of our worth.
- Over exerting ourselves, doing too much for everyone else, and blowing a fuse because we run out of steam from overwork and stress.
Do any of those sound like you? All three?
Ready to turn your light up, and feel in control of the dimmer switch?
We dim our light energetically so as not to shine too bright.
We worry that if we let out who we really are, shine our fullest expression, that we’ll be made fun of, ignored,or made wrong for “thinking we are all that.” We fear being kicked out of our tribe of friends or family.
Lisa worked with a bunch of men and women who were gossipy and negative, and she often went along with the conversations, even though it made her feel gross afterwards:
“I really don’t enjoy gossip, especially with the snarky way it happens in my department. But I’m honestly worried that if I don’t participate I’ll turn into the subject of gossip instead of a participant – and that’s much scarier.”
And this fear is real: either because you were told as a kid that you were “too much,” or experienced being “mean girled” or “shunned” out of a group when you were growing up, you hide our truth, strengths, and light because it’s better to be safely accepted as part of the group than left out in the cold, alone.
(But you feel inside that you’re not being authentic, and it eats away at you.)
Second, we mistake our light with accomplishment, financial success, and other external validation. We ignore the basic truth that we are and have a natural light, are inherently loved and are worthy of love by the Universe, and continue to chase something outside of us.
We want to be told we are acceptable, rather than feeling into our innate acceptance of ourselves.
The truth that’s easy to believe logically, yet hard to embody, is that we are all worthy beings. You are worthy and valuable simply because you exist.
This is a truth that great spiritual teachers have been reminding us of since humans could doubt themselves. It’s the truth that we know about our children, yet don’t extend to ourselves.
So even though you may not totally feel it yet, try my belief on for size, as if I were lending you a cozy sweatshirt: YOU, my dear, are worthy and lovable. Just as you are.
Finally, there are the ways that we overextend ourselves, giving away all of our energy, all of our light, so that our fuse begins to buckle under the pressure, and we blow out.
This is a result of having too few boundaries, not being able to say ‘NO’ to requests, perfectionism, and workaholism. Because, in #2 above, you are racing to accumulate outside validation to be lovable and worthy, which in truth will never be enough, because you aren’t being your true self. [a pile of wrong will never equal a tablespoon of right]
8 warning signs your inner light is about to blow a fuse:
- Don’t have as much energy as you used to
- Can’t focus for as long as you used to
- Emotional eating is out of control to deal with the stress of inauthentic feelings
- Feel grouchy and snap at people easily
- Not reaching your goals, failing to follow through to the end
- Repeating mistakes over and over
- Feeling overwhelmed
- More emotional or experiencing big swings in your moods
- Not sleeping well, or not feeling refreshed after a full night’s sleep
And it has a real-life cost: you burn out and end up relying on sugar and caffeine more and more, to keep the fires burning. You overwork, people-please, and don’t do what your body-soul is really asking for.
But the fire burns out, because your dear body is holding on to unexpressed anger and sadness about not being listened to, and your soul is crying out for full expression and acceptance.
And there is one, huge, unacknowledged factor that may be at play here:
Maybe you’re intentionally overeating or eating foods you KNOW drain your energy so that you have a really good reason to take yourself out of the game.
There is a part of you that’s scared to be seen, stand out, and make an impact. Dimming your own light with excess weight, hormonal and digestive issues, or other health problems is a secret strategy, hidden at the back of your mind, to stay safely unseen.
How does that land for you?
Does that feel true, even a little bit?
Maybe that idea makes you mad.
Maybe you’re seeing it for what it is, and are ready to stop.
If so, you’re not alone.
We do get angry with ourselves, like we’re locked in a war between our light-craving self, and our frightened light-dimming self.
Part of you is mad that you are doing yourself harm. Part of you is angry that you’re self-sabotaging. And another part of you is angry at the unjust culture we live in that forces you to squash your light. In my next blog, I’ll share more about the beautiful possibilities hidden within your anger.
For now, trust me when I write to you: your light is a reflection of nature, the divine, universal energy that keeps the stars burning and the planets moving.
Your light is worthy, beautiful, and I see it shining brightly within you, even now.
Nothing you can do will ever dim that light completely. You can never hide it from those of us who wish to see it, and honor your true strengths and greatness.
From my light to yours,
Ready to jam on this and bring you light back to the world? Let’s talk: