I was raised to not shine too brightly. It was a combination of not wanting to call attention to myself and afraid of appearing superior.
I was taught to be humble. I learned it was the meek who inherited the earth. And for women, being meek and humble seemed to be the only way of life.
Many of us don’t have a very healthy understanding of being humble. I thought I was being humble, but I later realized I really was holding myself back.
The definition of humble is: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance; of low social, administrative, or political rank.
Society frequently says being humble is an admirable trait. With that definition, why would I want to be humble?
The message for us to be humble is just one of the many mixed messages we get as we grow up. Especially women.
The mixed messages continue as we go through school and into the workplace.
* Be pretty, but don’t attract unwanted attention.
* Be smart, but don’t show anyone up.
* Be bold, but fit in.
* And the list goes on…
You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground, only multi-dimensional edges that must be avoided or you risk some kind of injury. It is a constant balancing act that seems to change day-by-day, person-by-person, and situation-by-situation.
We all just want to fit in. Or do we?
Often we hold on to someone else’s idea of what’s proper and correct. Early in life as we’re finding our way, it may be helpful, but over time those conventions get in the way. We end up not shining our own light.
This past weekend, Peter and I went to the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival. There were so many people not being humble at all. They were reveling in their differences and proud to show them off. It was so energizing to be in a group having so much fun.
It was refreshing to watch people embracing their uniqueness and being as pretty, and smart, and as bold as they wanted to be. There were so many different people celebrating in their own way. Some were flamboyant; Some more subdued; Some dancing with abandon; Others walking quietly and sharing in the common vibe.
It reminded me that I too can shine as brightly as I choose. Nothing is holding me back, except maybe myself.
One thing that’s helped me get rid of my hesitation to shine brightly is to embrace the creative expression of others. I’ve always been comfortable with others doing their own thing, but now I really enjoy watching people shine in their own way. It reinforces, my freedom to shine. Sometimes in ways I might not have before.
What about you? Do you choose to shine as brightly as you want to? Can you share in the joy of others shining brightly?
Accepting yourself and others is really the same thing.
Give yourself permission to shine as you would like to shine. You can start small, then explore other things that give you joy.
Every opportunity to shine in ways that give you joy magnifies your uniqueness!