I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my life dimming down my light so that other people could feel brighter. Though I don’t think there was conscious intent behind this, it was often men that I was shrinking for.
There wasn’t a direct demand for me to dull my sparkle. It was a reoccurring message built into social programming.
For example, I can remember being a young girl in English class raising my hand with another answer or comment. This resulted in me being called names by my male classmates such as “suck up” “teacher’s pet” “know-it-all” and the like.
As I went through the grades the comments shifted but the message stayed the same. If I felt good about myself one day, I would be called out for being “cocky”. Should I do well at something, I’d be laughed out.
As an adult I was commonly the only woman on my team due to having had a career in a male-dominated industry. Now my opinions were seen as pushy, my passion was aggressive and my confidence was intimidating.
The last time I applied for a job I got all the way through the interviews until the last round. When I asked for feedback, the recruiter actually told me that I was fit for the job, but the boss was concerned that my confidence would come across as “forceful” to the team. I literally was not given a job because I had confidence in myself. If this isn’t a message to dim down, I don’t know what is!
In personal relationships I was often told things like “you’re too intense” “too loud” “too opinionated” “too independent” (this one did have some legitimacy to it, I will admit) “too much”.
I was always too something.
It’s easy to tell someone “Just be yourself”, but what if “yourself” get’s reprimanded? This is especially impactful during those early years when acceptance by peers feels like life or death – which biologically makes sense considering back in the day if you weren’t accepted by the tribe, you’d be dead by nightfall.
Sure, the clear solution is for everybody to accept one another AS IS starting from Day 1, but what can you do if you’re already in adulthood holding belief that it’s not okay to be who you are?
#1 Stop repeating this story to yourself!
You are the author of your own life. It is your privilege and responsibility to edit, write or rewrite your life story. Observe the stories that go through your mind so you can consciously decide what gets published. If you need help being an observer in your own life, check out this post.
#2 Surround yourself with shiny people!
Humans are social creatures. Whether we dig it or not, we adapt to our environment and take on the characteristics of those in our tribe. It’s so important not to leave your tribe up to chance.
Be super selective when choosing the people you let into your inner circle. If someone needs you to be dimmer so they can feel brighter, consider flipping the switch on this relationship. Put yourself in spaces that honor your unique light and fuel your inner fire. That’s what Aphrodite’s Well is all about.
As the saying goes “You can’t be it if you can’t see it!” Make sure you’re surrounded by light.
#3 Connect with content that inspires you!
I LOVE to read! You’ve gotta twist my arm to sit down and listen to a 60 minute podcast, but put a 600 page book in my hand, and we’re in business.
A really fun way to add light into your life is through content created by other bright minds. You may not be able to surround yourself with them physically, but you can include them in your day through their content.
Choose a few people who inspire you, the content delivery style you vibe with and make a point to invite them into your life daily.