5 Ways to Shine Brighter Than the Sun
Shine Your Light
We all know people who are like dark rain clouds.
Their emotional shadow covers a 10-foot area around them, and when you are near, you can’t help feeling sucked in by the gloom.
Or they are energy vampires, draining your life force with only a few words or actions until you feel like an empty shell.
Some places can have the same effect, dampening your spirit, making you want to retreat or hide, or filling you with such inertia that you feel choiceless.
But the key word here is “choice” and you can choose to rise above these situations, drop the subtle victim mentality, and live in the full radiance that dwells inside you.
As Marianne Williamson so elegantly put it:
“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, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
Making the courageous choice to let our light shine is not easy.
People will wonder what’s “wrong” with us, what drug we’ve been taking.
But we’re actually allowing the best of our dreams to become reality, just by making a few shifts in perception and practicing some ways to let out our inner glow.
Imagine you are an old tin lantern with little hinged doors, and each tiny portal you open spreads that much more light into the world.
Here are some ways to open the shutters.
Look to Your Own Happiness
This isn’t as selfish as it sounds.
First and foremost, you need to want to be happy and willing to work toward that.
Unhappy people rarely radiate, so choose right now to accept your right to be happy.
If you’re the giver-type, ask yourself if that really makes you happy, or if you’re doing it for cultural, religious, or family reasons.
Givers often feel they have to sacrifice their own happiness for others.
What better gift to give someone than your joy?
However, if attending to others’ needs is a less-than-fun obligation, respect that this is part of your life, and look to other areas for your own happiness.
Spend a day at the beach, or in an armchair with a book.
Cook something you’ve always wanted to try.
Rent a comedy and make a big bowl of popcorn- just for you!
Take care of your own need for happiness so that you can better help others.
If you’re not a natural giver-type, see if sharing yourself with others increases your internal sunshine.
Smile at someone.
Pay the toll for the car behind you.
Drop off pet food for an animal shelter.
When you’re feeling blah, try to do the opposite of your habitual tendency.
As long as you’re not harming anyone, including yourself, you might be surprised what you find.
In essence, experiment to discover what increases your personal generator.
If you want to burn bright, invest in your own happiness.
Don’t Take Things Personally
Nothing anyone does has anything to do with you.
It has everything to do with them and how they perceive the world.
Someone yells at you: maybe you did something wrong, maybe not.
But he is handling the situation by yelling instead of calmly and rationally discussing it.
Another person cuts in front of you at the register, not because you look like a sucker, but because she is harried, distracted, or feels self-important.
It’s a difficult lesson and one that takes practice.
Don Miguel Luiz addresses this in the most clear and precise manner in his book, The 4 Agreements.
Learning to shrug off the actions of others, to let slights and annoyances slide, can keep your own internal storm clouds at bay.
Anger is contagious, but so is joy.
Again it’s a choice.
Recognize that the opposite of this is also true: everything you think, say, and do, reflects how you perceive the world.
So choose to perceive it with an open mind and heart, and let your words and actions express your light inside.
Whether you decide to do a formal meditation practice, sit in nature, or journal, spending time with yourself in a conscious way allows you to harness your inner essence and energy.
The key is “conscious”; trying to multi-task by doing chores or checking Facebook on your phone doesn’t create the needed space for restoration and contemplation.
This is the inner journey, the one in which you meet yourself, figure out who you are, and ask the deep questions.
In Western culture, we are expected to know our purpose, what we want and need, and the solutions to our roadblocks, all while being distracted from ever having time to ourselves.
Yet meditation is one of the best ways to cultivate a less reactive and more confident life.
It’s no coincidence that enlightened beings glow from the inside out!
Make a little time, even five minutes a day, to sit without distraction and see what happens.
And if you’re inspired further, find a group or even a good book to help your practice develop; the benefits are exponential.
Lose Your Self-Consciousness
Healthy self-confidence is a huge part of shining brightly.
This doesn’t mean you need to be Mr. Charisma or Ms. Life-of-the-Party.
Confidence can radiate from even introverted people if they believe in themselves.
Part of developing a positive self image is reducing the judgmental self-conscious mind.
This mind, which is not your true essence but an internal court of law, goes out and looks at you from the “outside” and judges you.
Guilty of looking fat. Guilty of being silly. Guilty of having human needs.
Like a hall of mirrors, it goes out and reflects back myriad times, increasing the sense that everyone is looking at and judging you.
But mostly, it’s just you.
Obviously we do need to work within certain social norms in order to prevent doing harm.
But who cares if you sing at the top of your lungs in the car? Who cares if you like red socks or that beat-up hat?
Even learning to laugh at your own embarrassment is one step closer to self-empowerment.
The previous three techniques of looking to your own happiness, not taking things personally, and meditating are the base for reducing self-consciousness, particularly the latter which helps shut down all those mirrors and provides the ground for accepting your right to be you.
Be a Kid Again
When was the last time you ran for fun, not for exercise or to catch a bus, but just because the energy and joy burst out of you?
When was the last time you bought a balloon for yourself, played on a swing, blew bubbles, dressed in a costume?
Our self-consciousness keeps us from doing things because we feel others will look on us as immature.
But the irony is that when we see other adults doing these things, our reaction is usually envy at their joie de vivre.
Movies understand this very well; when a couple is falling in love, they play on the beach, or go to an amusement park, or get caught in a rainstorm while having a picnic.
The radiance you feel in love brings out the kid in you. And being a kid again can help brighten your mood and make you feel in love with the world.
Also take time to celebrate even the smallest things, for yourself and the people in your life.
Buy yourself that yellow balloon when you lose 5 pounds; give your BFF a cupcake when her editorial gets published; go for a special walk on your dog’s birthday.
Or get a National Day app and find ways to incorporate it: National Beans Day, anyone?
Children celebrate getting a gold star, and it can be as simple as that.
Think like a kid!
This Little Light of Mine
Opening the lantern shutters and letting your light shine is something that can be practiced and increased.
But we all have dark times and no one is expected to be shining all the time.
So its important to remember that no matter how grey or stormy, the sun is always behind the clouds.
Your light is always there too.
And like a candle whose flame can be passed, our joy and radiance can spread to others.
Marianne Williamson’s quote above finishes this way:
“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.”
Have the courage to live from your glowing heart and make your joy contagious.
Give yourself permission to shine brighter than the sun!
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