A mental wellness guide on how to stop dimming your light in order to tap into your true gifts and life purpose.
Are you dimming your light to fit into other people’s boxes – fearing criticism for disrupting the status quo to reveal your authentic self, or for fear of being vulnerable, alone for a season of growth, and for taking full responsibility for sharing your joy and your brilliance?
Dimming your light means that you do not allow your true self to be seen and heard in order for you to be celebrated in a way that you truly deserve to be. Instead of allowing your positive vibes to shine and expand wherever you are planted, you hide your true light and essence of being in response to potential pain or threat. So instead of shining, you shrink.
Yes, shit may have consistently happened to you in the past and perhaps is happening to you right now, and life will probably throw some dirt on you in the future.
But right now you don’t have to give real estate to that crippling pain and threat every time it shows up disguised in different circumstances that are triggering past wounds or hidden fears.
You have the divine power inside you to claim your life back from the forces of darkness that are telling you to think small and to act small in order to fit in and to be accepted at surface level.
Believe me as a former people pleaser, I feel you at soul level. The need to be everything to everyone to the point of forgetting about your very own happiness, your dreams and goals, your knowledge and accomplishments for fear of intimidating family members, your significant other, the girlfriends or the boss is exhausting.
Patriarchal systems within which we operate as women have subconsciously trained us to somehow believe that the best way to have the life that we desire is by conforming to the status-quo. Yes, we must shine, yes, we must have dreams and ambitions but not in a way that seemingly outshines or threatens the gender, racial and class stereotypes the Establishment has defined for us. We must toe the line or else be labelled as troublemakers.
I must admit that I wholeheartedly agree with Ngerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie when she states in her We Should All Be Feminists essay that:
“…we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man.”
What if the reason why you do not seem to fit in is because you are destined to a higher calling, to forge a new path for yourself that will showcase your genius to the world on The Road Less Travelled, and it will inspire others to share their gifts with the world?
How do you therefore move away from the disempowering habit of dimming your light to start vibrating at a higher frequency that allows your talents, your joy and your creativity to shine through from a place of humility, hope and faith in your own abilities and in life?
Define a Clear Vision for your Life
To break the habit of dimming your light to accommodate others, spend time with yourself to discover who you truly are. Find out what your core strengths and weaknesses are, what brings you happiness, what excites you and lightens your spirit, and what triggers pain.
Discover the things you do easily with the least amount of effort which fulfil your soul. And use all your unearthed gifts to map out on paper and through a vision board the life that you want for yourself to the very best of your abilities. And pray daily about it.
The vision does not need to be perfect and you may not probably have a roadmap to birth that vision at the time you are defining it. However, getting clear about what you truly want and aspire to be in life will give you everyday a sense of purpose and a reason to wake up excited about your day.
Clarify your Spiritual Code of Conduct
Getting clear about your set of values and your belief system irrespective of your religious or non-religious affiliations will cement the core of your being, and it will help define the spiritual principles that will help govern your life on a daily basis through concrete actions.
Your values and belief system influence what you stand for in relation to race and gender relations, equal pay, same-sex marriage, friendships, family life, or professional integrity which transpire in the way you choose to show up in the world for yourself and others.
Are you dimming your light by staying silent or shying away when faced with a colleague or a friend who is experiencing bullying, sexim, or racism in the workplace for fear of losing your job, or do you find a way to show your support the best way you can to that person?
Be Committed to your Goals
There will be so many times that you will want to give up on yourself and on your goals and shrink back into darkness, particularly when faced with incredible life challenges.
However, the true mark of a champion who refuses to dim her light to birth her life dreams is the ability to remain committed to one’s life goals, particularly “when the going gets tough and the tough gets going” (Billy Ocean, 1985).
To paraphrase Trinidadian-British singer Billy Ocean, buy yourself a one-way ticket to your life destiny and repeat every day “I’m gonna put this dream in motion,I Never let nothing stand in my way(…) I’m gonna get myself ‘cross the river, that’s the price I’m willing to pay”.
Make some Time for Fun in your Life
When was the last time you treated yourself to a fabulous at-home spa session? Have you recently carved out some “me” time during the week to read those books you purchased months ago that are collecting dust on your bookshelves?
When was the last time you tried out a new hairstyle? Did you book that holiday or weekend getaway to Diana beach, or did you take yourself to that trendy restaurant you wanted to try out?
Have you set aside some time lately to just blast your favourite songs out and dance the day away with or without your loved ones, just for the sake of bringing joy into your spirit?
Have you spent some time celebrating your micro and macro wins in your personal or professional life with a little present you have saved up for?
One of the best ways to stop dimming your light is by deliberately creating a routine to celebrate yourself to build up happy memories on your own and with your loved ones that you will cherish over the years, particularly in difficult seasons.
The time has come for you to bloom wherever you are planted, whilst you are actively engaged in becoming the best version of yourself everyday.
Set Healthy Boundaries for Yourself
Remember that “no” is a complete sentence and it requires no further explanation. Get into the habit of practicing it to avoid overstretching yourself by biting more than what you can chew on limited resources. I was so guilty of doing that at personal and professional levels to the point that it led me to severe depression and a whole lot of immunity system disorders.
I have had to learn that it’s good to show up for others consistently. However, it is far more important for me to learn how to show up for myself first and to serve others from a full cup.
So, to avoid dimming your light and sucking the life out of your spirit, you will have to kindly and firmly define your boundaries, announce those boundaries, and reinforce those boundaries with kindness and assertiveness when they are being threatened or violated.
Practice Forgiveness on a Daily Basis
Letting go of past hurts definitely cleanses your body, your mind and your soul and frees up the space you need to love again, to be more present in the moment, to dream big again, and to happily pursue your life goals.
Release Toxic People from your Life
You cannot be happy and vibrate at a higher frequency when surrounded 24/7 365 days by toxic people who drain the positive energy out of you, leaving you empty. You will need to decipher when a relationship has served its purpose in your life and close the chapter from a place of love.
For some people, when toxic people are family members or longtime friends, putting some distance between you and them by carving out specific time to deal with them might be the best way forward. Dimming your light to fit into unhealthy friendship and family patterns is neither serving you nor the people you are trying to accommodate, because it creates no room for either party to grow.
By releasing toxic people from your life, you might be alone and feel lonely for a season, but ultimately you are creating space to heal and rediscover yourself, and to welcome healthier and happier relationships into your life in the right season.
So my lovelies, remember that dimming your light is neither serving you nor society at large. The world needs the whole of you with your brilliance, your gifts, your kindness, and your vulnerabilities to shine your light into someone’s darkness.
“Be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud (…) Be a blessing to somebody” (Dr Maya Angelou, 2018).