I remember years ago, volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, a talk with my supervisor ended with her advising me to not to let my light shine so bright.
Her comment immediately put me on guard but I wasn’t sure what she meant until I thought about it later. She was telling me to hold back; to be more reserved; to not allow my ready smile, my friendly demeanor, and my open heart to eclipse someone else’s personality.
I was worried at first; almost believing that I’d done something wrong since her comments came on the heels of her introducing me – in her presence – to her husband, whose ready smile and enthusiastic greeting I returned when I shook his outstretched hand. I questioned my personality in that moment. Should I not have smiled? Should I not have shaken his hand? Perhaps mumbling a greeting with my eyes downcast would not have elicited that response from her. But would I have been true to my own personality?
And when I reached that answer, I stopped being worried because I realized I had not done anything wrong. I was questioning my natural personality just because of her insecurities, thinking that I had to change me because it would make her feel better.
It’s a theme that I’ve experienced more than once over the years, a tactic of someone who hasn’t found their own light to try and get someone else not to outshine them. What that person doesn’t realize is that they’re wasting their energy. We’re all born with a light inside of us; a light ready to shine, to illuminate our path, to be a beacon for all to see. It is not meant for that light to shine only at certain times, or for that light to dim in order to protect someone else’s insecurity.
Everyone is responsible for their own light. Instead of wasting energy trying to dim someone else’s light, turn that energy inward. And for those whose light shines brightly, keep it shining to encourage those who may need it.