Do you remember the spiritual song, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… Let it shine; let it shine; let it shine!”
It may seem okay and even normal to shine if it’s a little light, but, what if it’s a BIG light? That is my meditating question for today, “to shine or not to shine?” Most people see me as high energy; for some, my energy is inspiring; for others, it is exhausting. I am aware of this high energy, extreme thirst for knowledge, and pure desire to share what I learn when I feel it is helpful and appreciated. I’m also aware that I am not always valued by others, because of these gifts of high energy, certitude, gift of gab, and enthusiasm. And, for a time, I began to see my gifts as a block instead of a blessing. Fortunately or unfortunately, we all have an innate biological need to belong, “to fit in.” However, if the person fitting in isn’t the real me, then am I truly accepted?
Answer from the Mouths of Babes
My oldest son used the analogy of headlights: “Some people may just be blinded by the intensity of high beams to the point where they cannot see.” In that context, it’s just courtesy to turn the high beams off. To others, it might be just the amount of light that they need to see in the darkness and so they are appreciative. After a little discussion, he also acknowledged from my response that I had a point, when I talked about choosing a tribe that had higher beams than mine. In that environment I get to grow and don’t have to worry about constantly monitoring the switch!
I was discussing this same question with my youngest daughter, about turning down my light, and she said, “Mom, isn’t that the opposite of what you told me to do when you shared the Marianne Williamson quote with me years ago?” Marianne Williamson wrote:
“We were all meant to shine” and “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
From the mouths of babes, I got my answer. I am choosing to shine. Dimming my light doesn’t help others adjust to the light, it just makes me comfortable in less light. It’s kind of like Plato’s parable of the caves. There is a lot of darkness out here and a need for a lot of bright light. We need to choose the space where we can shine and are encouraged to shine. I understand that my “playing small does not serve the world” (Williamson, . I am choosing to find my tribe, to be around those who value my God-given talents, and encourage me to grow and shine.
Sadly, around some people, I feel that I am only truly accepted when I dim my light, when I shine less, or when I ride the breaks of life. A few people in jest have actually told me that my energy drains them. So, I have consciously, over the years, spoken less, tried to be less excited, but have felt drained by the experience. But, to be fair, far many more have told me that I inspire them, so that is why I am meditating on this topic today. I want and need to be around people who appreciate me for being me, to do otherwise takes too much energy, which I don’t have.
One thing however remains a truth: “Let’s all help each other shine more brightly and be conscious to not put out anyone else’s light.”