A guest post by Gail Brenner of A Flourishing Life.
“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”
What is the inner light? We know it when we see it in others – a genuine sense of happiness and joy, enthusiasm that emanates, confidence in one’s unique expression. We feel drawn to people who naturally glow because they reflect the potential for our own inner light to shine.
And we all have that inner light. Within each of us is the capacity to be fully alive, to be infinitely creative, to radiate openness, availability, and love, to look forward with great interest to whatever the next moment brings. We can know ourselves as this light, but sometimes we get in our own way.
We unknowingly enact strategies and defenses that leave us hanging back in the shadows rather than allowing our gifts to shine. We lose our way and forget who we are.
Is it time to come out of hiding? Are you ripe for liberating your luminous, true, unobstructed self?
We dim our lights by taking on identities that mask our full potential. See if any of these sound familiar, and experiment with letting them be. Stop diminishing yourself. Pretend you are who you really are, and watch the masks fall away.
Some of us betray ourselves by the need to seek approval from others. We don’t feel worthy of love on our own merits, so we morph ourselves – our precious lives – to conform to others’ expectations instead. We find ourselves in jobs and relationships that are a clear mismatch out of our need to be accepted. We abandon our happiness to keep the peace.
Do you want your light to shine? Stand in your own truth. Fess up to what you want, and risk the disapproval of those around you. Keep it simple, and stay close to what fires you up. You may not please everyone, but you can’t imagine how the possibilities for your life will open up once you decide to align yourself with the truth.
If we blame others for our problems, we are denying ourselves the clarity and groundedness that are rightfully ours. While we are stuck in a grudge or waiting for others to change, we passively let the moments of our lives tick away. “Poor me” just doesn’t cut it if we want to shine.
Instead of torturing yourself with endless stories of what should or shouldn’t have happened, use your most precious resource, your attention, to explore those places inside yourself that you have been avoiding. Be supremely kind as you open to painful feelings. Make the decision to take responsibility for your well being. Do this work no matter what it takes, and you will be surprised at how much positive energy is revealed as the mask of victimhood falls away.
Maybe you have convinced yourself that you are not good enough. Whatever form self-judgment takes, it keeps us boxed in and limited. Every time our inner light tries to glow, our minds react like a sledgehammer, with harsh thoughts that inhibit us from moving forward. How can we possibly express ourselves fully when we are shot down every step of the way by our own minds?
The inner critic is a jumble of thoughts that are propelled by fear. Learn to identify the fear, then look beneath it to discover your natural resilience, every time. Find the courage to let your whole self shine.
Some of us live in a state of lack. We think we need what we don’t have – a relationship, a quality, a life circumstance – and we spend our time looking outward for fulfillment. This is an “if only” life, and it ignores the treasures that are already here.
Take an honest look at this very moment. If you stop buying into stories that run in your mind, is there anything missing? The universe is so abundant, giving us exactly what we need. When we realize the peace that comes from wanting what we are given, we surrender our ideas of lack, making space for our natural selves to shine.
When we recognize how we hold ourselves back, we have stepped onto the path that takes us back to ourselves. No matter how you feel in this moment, your inner light is shining. Pull away the veils, and let your whole self light up the world.
What holds you back? What has happened in your life when you let your light shine? I’d love to hear…
Gail Brenner is a psychologist with special expertise in untangling self-defeating habits and guiding people to live conscious lives of intelligence, fulfillment, and joy. She delights in offering inspiring articles and guided audio meditations at her blog, A Flourishing Life.