It is more than a teensy bit distressing to me that several of the most genuine, thought-provoking, downright incredible people I am lucky to know are of the opinion that they, personally, are "stupid."
Knowing the plentitude of brilliance and wisdom these fine humans contribute to our world, I ask myself where the stupidity belief comes from. Do they think this because of comments from teachers or classmates when they were young? Did their low grades in school make them think that they are unintelligent? Is it because they didn't go to college?
OR do they (or did they once) actually recognize the brilliance that I see in them? And are they afraid that if they OWN that brilliance, people will point fingers at their bad grades and informal educations, thereby exposing them to the world as frauds?
IS IT SCARIER FOR PEOPLE TO OWN THEIR BRILLIANCE THAN IT IS FOR THEM TO LABEL THEMSELVES AS STUPID (OR [INSERT OTHER NEGATIVE LABEL HERE])?
[Sad sigh.] Ahhhhh, friends. I think these divine folks of whom I speak are subconsciously afraid to shine.
[I am no stranger to the fear of shining. In fact, for a long time, I hesitated to launch this very website because I believed I did not deserve to model the "Let It Shine" mantra. (More on that subject in my next post.)]
Want to know the worst part about the being afraid to shine?
Our eyes adjust to darkness.
After enough repetitions of telling ourselves that we are stupid (or undeserving or cowardly or ugly or whatever), we actually BELIEVE we ARE those things.
The more we smother out light, the more our pupils dilate. We adjust to the environment of the dark cave that we built to "protect" us.
Before long, we get so lost in that dark place of misplaced brilliance that we forget what it was like to be bright. We even IDENTIFY with the darkness. This negative trait? It's just who we are, we poor things.
Suddenly, this scary cave that we do know feels safer and more comfortable than the oppressively bright, now unfamiliar light outside.
So when someone notices our brilliance or our beauty or our courage, thereby shining a ray of light on our dilated pupils, we clamp our eyes shut in horror and throw our palms at them in protest. [The audacity of those light-shiners!]
I mean, SURE, it would be NICE if the light-shiners were RIGHT about us, but can't they see? We are cave dwellers. Cave dwellers do not shine, silly light-shiners. We hide.
By this point, we have forgotten that we once perceived this place of negative self-talk as being dark.
We have forgotten that we were never meant to be cave dwellers in the first place.
What I am trying to say is that hiding our strengths from others is DANGEROUS grounds. When we modestly or fearfully hide our brilliance from others, we not only encourage them to do the same, but WE ALSO HIDE OUR BRILLIANCE FROM OURSELVES.
Here's the kicker. Most of us build our lives around a fear of shining without ever even knowing it.
We swipe the rug directly out from under our own feet and WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. We lay there in our cave corners, confused and depressed from a lack of Vitamin D, deliriously BELIEVING that we are actually stupid or weak or whatever.
I sad-sigh again because I know that some cave dwellers are SO deep in the cave (been there!) that they will read this post and think it does not apply to them. (Don't let this be you, Sweet Reader! I repeat: Do NOT let this be you!!)
It took me a good 17 years of therapy and radical self-analysis to realize that I was afraid to let it shine. Now I see it all around me.
SO, my Brilliant, Gorgeous, Deserving of Goodness Reader: what positive qualities are YOU not owning? Perhaps you are willing to proclaim your intelligence, but do you discredit your COURAGE? Do you downplay your WISDOM? Do you trivialize your INNER BEAUTY?
I do not ask you to demolish your Caves of Self-Sabotage right this minute. I don't even ask you to know how.
All I ask is that you recognize that these negative things you think of yourself? Maybe--just maybe--they are not true.
Maybe--just maybe--you made them up.
Maybe--just maybe--you did so because at one point in your life, you were afraid to shine.
Your willingness to take one brave baby step today by recognizing that?
That willingness shows that you are nothing short of brilliant.
Want to worry less about what people think of you? Tune in for my next post, and I'll hand you a key to unhinging that mind-trap.
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As always, I very much appreciate your comments and your willingness to share this! (I want my posts to help as many people as possible...and I need your help to make that happen!) :)