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  • Dora Nudelman

Dimming Your Light

From childhood, all we want to do is to fit in with our peers. And as children, we are not usually mature enough to stand our ground when we are, in fact, somewhat different. So what do we end up doing? We dim our light, we hide our uniqueness, and we pretend to be what others want us to be and like what others want us to like. As we grow up, however, hopefully we develop enough confidence to finally realize that our differences do not make us inadequate or wrong but, rather, expressive of our soul.

Unfortunately, this lesson does not always follow us into adulthood and, as a result, we continue to try to fit in so that we are not judged as different from the group, or rejected because we do not follow the same rules or subscribe to the same beliefs. Consequently, we dim our own light in order to make others feel more comfortable. Yet, who does this truly benefit?

If you dim your light to appease other people, the truth is, you are not really doing them any favors; you are simply enabling their judgments and supporting their limited ways of thinking. But, when you allow your true self to shine, that is when you become a beacon of inspiration rather than a catalyst for mediocrity. In reality, other people's failures or lack of results are not your fault. But when you act as though your talents and success will somehow stifle the success of those around you, you make it your fault, even if it is not truly your responsibility.

Consequently, we cannot fear other people's dislike and dim our own light because of that. And we cannot fear other people's envy either. Jealousy is simply a belief in lack and, whether we are the focus of that jealousy or not, the jealousy in others will remain until they themselves work it out. And so, making ourselves small so that others won't envy us or dislike us only adds to the problem. We are not responsible for others' life's circumstances. We are only responsible for our own choices. And if others don't like that or get it, then we need to let that be okay. And if we are not accepted because of it, we need to let that be okay too.

Look, I am not suggesting that we drop all of the people from our lives who do not support our way of thinking, because sometimes there are those in our lives with whom we must deal, like it or not. But, we can find the happy medium between shining our light and knowing when to keep certain things to ourselves. For instance, even though I am always myself, I still like to gauge how open others will be to what I have to share. That does not mean that I am seeking approval from anyone or that I am denying who I am. Rather, I have simply learned over the years that sometimes people are not ready or willing to hear what I have to say. And so I choose how I am going to proceed based on how I feel others will receive the information. As a result, I no longer waste my breath on arguments or trying to convince others to see things my way. I also no longer justify myself or my actions for the sake of gaining others' approval or affections.

The truth is, we can actually shine our light without having to always announce it. When we shine, it is about our energy shining, and energy can be felt even if we say nothing at all. You see, confidence can be felt just by how a person carries themselves. So shining our light need not be so literal in terms of our words or our actions. It can simply be a matter of just being who we are, and then being confident in that as we walk on our personal path.

With that said, however, there is a difference between being true to yourself and being flashy on purpose. Meaning, if you are flaunting your greatness for the sake of your ego, to feel superior, or to appease your own insecurities, then you are instigating whatever reactions you are receiving from others,. But if you simply want to shine your gifts on the world and live your dreams as you wish, how others react to that need not be your concern.

Keeping others complacent by dumbing yourself down will only leave all of you miserable. Dimming your light will not result in another's success. But when you allow your light to shine, you inspire others to do the same, to think bigger, to expand their comfort zone, and to realize their own brilliance. If you try to fit in you will ultimately be living a lie. But if you stand out in the way you were meant to, others will not only respect you, they will also follow your lead. And if they choose to take another path, that is their decision and it need not have any bearing on you. Therefore, do what you love and be yourself and you will attract the right people who will like you for who you actually are rather than who you think you need to be.

Maybe you think that you need to fit in in order to get ahead in your work or attract certain clients or a specific audience. Or perhaps you need to make nice with the PTA or your neighbors. Further still, maybe you think that you need to be a certain way in order to attract a certain mate. But compromising yourself to do these things will only make you feel depleted in the long run. Everyone wants to feel free to be themselves, but too many people are afraid of the perceived consequences of doing that. Yet, if you truly believe in who you are, none of that really matters. Being yourself is not a disadvantage. On the contrary, you will find even more opportunities to shine once you accept yourself and give yourself permission to do so. Know that it is not a luxury to be yourself; it is actually a necessity for a happy life.

Perhaps you are afraid of losing friends or other relationships. But pretending can only take you so far because your soul needs to express itself. You might think that others need you to be a certain way in order for them to like you but, in truth, why would you want to be around anyone who doesn't accept you for who you really are? People often play a role to get people to like them but eventually the truth will come out (because it is far too stressful to maintain that type of facade for too long). So stop pretending and stop trying to please so much because you are more than good enough as you already are right now.

You came here to be you, and for that specific reason. If you were meant to be someone else you would have been that person. It is no coincidence why you are how you are, why you like what you like, and why you want what you want. Too many people want to conform to the status quo. They look at examples on TV, social media, in the movies, and in their social circles and decide that they want to be just like everybody else. But wouldn't that be a boring world in which to live? Why would we all want to be exactly the same?

Moreover, sometimes we are so afraid of not succeeding that we take on another persona, thinking that being different from who we are will make us more desirable. That way if we do fail, we have an excuse and it doesn't become so personal. Because being our true selves and putting all of our cards on the table leaves us feeling way more vulnerable. Yet, succeeding (or excusing our failures) by being someone we're not will not ultimately make us happy. Only when we are authentic, that is when will we truly thrive. Now, it may not always seem easy, but it is well worth the effort.

I used to think that having what I wanted meant I would be depriving others of what they wanted. I used to dim my light as a result in order to "give away" opportunities to other people, thinking that maybe they needed or deserved it more than I did (without actual reason). I used to give up what I wanted in order to try to "make" other people happy. And I thought I needed to be overly compromising in order to be liked or to be considered a "good" person. But I confused being a good person with being enabling. As such, all I was doing was enabling others' entitlement and depleting myself of valuable energy. Give an inch, take a mile would describe what I got in return quite accurately. What I later realized was that I would not be depriving others by putting my own hat in the ring. Everyone, including myself, has the right to play the game and that doesn't make us "bad" for it. And so since I learned this lesson, I have stopped playing it small or pretending like I don't care or that what I want doesn't matter. Instead, I have started to participate and have chosen to inspire others to do the same.

Playing it small, dimming your light, dumbing yourself down, or pretending to be someone different in order to appease others, "fit in," or garner affection will not ultimately bring you the fulfillment you seek, it will not foster real relationships, and it will not help others become more self-empowered. All it will do is make you feel depleted, resentful, and small, and it will enable others to take advantage of you too. It is not selfish of you to act on opportunities. It is not mean of you to win or thrive. Each of us deserves a chance but, equally, each of us is responsible for our own results. So stop playing it small and stop dimming your light because the world needs your uniqueness, and that is why you are ultimately here in the first place.


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