5 Reasons we hide our Light

and why you should quit doing that - It’s perfectly normal to want to hide your light, especially if you were shamed for shining; but it’s time to quit doing that, and shine.

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Spirituality and religion and Poems like Marianne Williamson’s “Our deepest fear,” inspire us to shine our light and reach for higher levels of spiritual fulfilment, self-confidence and peace.

Countless movies and novels (including mine) urge us to find and express the magic inside us.
Yet, more often than not, shining your light has seen you smacked down or shamed. Here’s what shining your light means, 5 reasons why we don’t do it; and what you can do about it.

What does shining your light really mean?

I think it means helping others by exercising your unique talents and being your authentic, vulnerable self. It means putting yourself out there as a leader. It means not settling for second best. It means pushing yourself to excel, to evolve and transform on all levels of your life; it means embracing your magic, however painful and it means celebrating your wins and triumphs as an acknowledgement of your potential to do even better.

So why don’t we do it? Why don’t we push ourselves to evolve and transform? Why is it easier just to hide your light? 

Here’s 5 reasons why.

What does shining your light really mean?

How many times were you shamed for standing up or standing out?

Reason 1: You’ve been smacked down or shamed for sharing your triumphs, your light, your magic.

At school, I really enjoyed playing chess. I would play against my father almost every night so that when chess club came around on Friday, I would be better than I was last week. I won almost every game. Then some players started complaining. I was too good. They could never win. Some of them quit the club.

And I felt bad. I mean, we don’t want to make others feel bad, do we?

A friend of mine told me a story of how, besides work and everything else she had on her plate she managed to complete all the exams of her second year at University in one semester. She was exhausted but proud of this achievement. She shared her triumph with her housemates but they merely told her “that’s nice, but you really should be more humble because we are struggling.”

I thought I was playing chess and honing my skills. She thought she was sharing her triumph and inspiration. We were both smacked down for sharing our light.

How many times were you shamed for standing up or standing out?

Why did it happen? I suppose there are many reasons but I believe one of them is because when you shine your light brightly it shines into the dark and forgotten places that others would rather keep hidden. I believe that others would rather see you dim than explore their own darkness; or their own potential.

What can you do about it?

Recognise that you have taken responsibility for your growth and evolution. Acknowledge that you have chosen to focus on what you want (http://mdtransformations.co.za/Blog-Focus-on-What-You-Want.html) And accept that this may leave some people behind. You’re not being cruel. You’re focused on what you want. 

Reason 2: Shining your light makes you stand out.

Your brain is designed to keep you alive, which means anything that might compromise your safety quickly receives a hard “No” from the brain, so we stay with the tribe, dim our light, so we don’t stand out and get eaten by predators.

To our ancient brains, there was safety in the tribe and if we did not fit in we were ostracized and that meant we were cast out, making us vulnerable to predators.

When you stand out, you make yourself a target. If you’re just one of a crowd, there’s strength in numbers, but standing out singles you out.

Shining your light requires courage. There’s risk involved. If you shine your light and chase your dreams and make a lot more money than your friends or family you risk losing them because they may become jealous of your success. Sometimes its easier just to stay put.

Sometimes it’s a confidence issue. Many people who chase their dreams feel like imposters when they first set out.

What can you do about it?

Develop an attitude of daring. Dare to shine. Let the whole world see.

I’ve often made the analogy that daring anew is much like stepping out barefoot into unfamiliar territory (http://mdtransformations.co.za/blog-We-are-all-bare-foot-souls.html).

There’s a vulnerability to showing the world who you are, isn’t there? It’s takes daring to be your authentic self and put yourself out there. It takes dedication, commitment and, most importantly perhaps, perseverance.

But once you’ve become the butterfly you can no longer go back into the chrysalis. The only way is to dare and persevere. 

Develop an attitude of daring. Dare to shine. Let the whole world see.

Humility is not about a sense of unworthiness that leaves you feeling depleted.

Its about finding a well-spring of joy within you.

Reason 3: You’ve been taught a false sense of humility.

You’ve been taught to “know your place,” to “put others first,” and that you are unworthy. You learned, somewhere, that it is bad to have needs or maybe that your needs were just not as important as others’.

That’s simply not true.

In my previous blog on humility (http://mdtransformations.co.za/Blog-Humility-You-are-doing-it-wrong.html) I explored how humility is actually about understanding and accepting your place in the Universe.

More importantly, humility is not about a sense of unworthiness that leaves you feeling depleted. Its about finding a well-spring of joy within you; and from the overflow of that well-spring, you give to others.

What can you do about it?

Find that well-spring. Journal, meditate, do yoga, go hiking, get your bare feet onto the earth.  

Reason 4: Shining your light requires you to change.

Yes, it requires you to change. Really, really change. Actually, it requires of you to transform. Sometimes that’s in small ways; like setting an earlier time to wake-up; or it can be really tough, like accepting that you just don’t have that much in common with certain people anymore.

You can’t stay the same and hope to shine. You have to face the fact that you will leave the familiar, and others, behind. You have to face the fact that in so doing your social circle will change. Your oldest, dearest friend may write you off because you’re so “high and mighty.

I had a lucrative corporate career for 22 years. I gave it up to follow my dreams. There’s not one day that goes by where I don’t question my decision. There’s not a day goes by when I don’t feel shit scared.

What can you do about it?

Be very clear on your “Why?”; your reason to change. If you’re like me you’ve come to a point where what you’re doing leaves you unfulfilled; where there simply must be more to life than “this.” We weren’t born to simply pay bills and die. You’ve asked a thousand times, “Where’s my rainbow?” and you’re tired of playing second fiddle.

But chasing rainbows means there has to be a storm first. And you need to know that; really, really know that; and be prepared to endure it, before you can make that change.

And if others then try to drag you down; when others tell you your new choice is a nice “hobby,” remember this quote by Ziad K. Abdelnour: “Remember… whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.”

And also: “Quit hiding your magic. The world is ready for you.
” ― Danielle Doby 

But chasing rainbows means there has to be a storm first.

And you need to know that; really, really know that; and be prepared to endure it, before you can make that change.

You need to accept that you’re going to lose some people to your success; and that’s okay. 

Reason 5: You’re scared of what others may think.

If you’re from a small, depressed community and then you go out and chase your dreams and the result is regular holidays to exotic destinations and a Ferrari or two, you can almost rest assured that that small community is not going think of you in the same way as they did when you lived among them.

Some of them will be proud of you, as many movies would have us believe, but most of them won’t. They’re going to want a piece of you; and if it’s a bloody piece, then that’s just better on the braai, isn’t it?

What can you do about it?

People will think what people will think. You have no control over that. You need to accept that you’re going to lose some people to your success; and that’s okay. Just don’t hurt them.
And it’s easier to miss them in a Ferrari. 

In her poem, Marianne Williamson says:

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.


I think its your duty to let your unique light shine. I think we owe it to the world, or to be cast into a dry well of unfulfilled dreams. Everybody is trying to please everybody else so… nobody is pleased. If you’re constantly having to explain your life, you’re losing time to actually live it.

It’s time to take up the first fiddle. It’s time to put fresh oil in your lamp and let it blaze like a lighthouse.

And if you’re ready to do that, reach out. I can help. 

"There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you."

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