My favourite part of the popular Marianne Williamson quote is this: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.“
The inspiration for this post wasn't just a quote, but seeing the message the quote shares happen on a daily basis of my life while living in South Africa. I touched upon 'being the light' in the post titled 'You Are Enough' but I want to give this message the attention it deserves.
What Holds us Back
A common cause of depression is the fact that we think we can't 'get out there' and make something of our lives. The feeling that we are just here to survive, live our scripted life and then die like millions before us. Even I, at times, have questioned the point in existence, and been so low that I've considered doing crazy things to myself because of lack of drive or belief that my goals are achievable.
Many of the things that hold us back or what I've suffered or experienced myself, that's mostly why I write about them. Some of the most recurring limitations include:
- Self-limiting beliefs (post)
- Caring what people think of us (post)
- Thinking we need more things to get somewhere (post)
- Feeling like we don't deserve success (post)
- Worrying about too many possible 'negative' scenarios (post)
The list is endless. The common factor in all of them is that we are doubting things before we've even tried them. We are letting the judgements of others combined with our own limiting beliefs decide the outcome for us, without even going for what we want in the first place. It makes no sense, yet many of us are held back by this.
Why? To be honest, I don't know. Our minds are powerful tools; many aspects of our mind that are there to help us survive can also manage to turn ourselves…against ourselves.
The only thing I've found so far that works successfully, for everybody (when practiced), is living in the moment. Think about it. Right now, what difference does it make what anyone thinks about you. Right now, your limiting beliefs should have no hold on you because you aren't basing things from past experiences nor future imaginations. Right now there are no negative scenarios to envisage and no reason to doubt anything.
Being the Light
There are two aspects to being the light that I want to cover. In basic terms they are this:
- 1) Taking action and being who you want to be
- 2) Giving others permission to do the same
They are both actually the same thing, but there are some points on each individually that I would like to address.
I used to be very shy, didn't go out that much and my only life goal was to be a computer programmer, although I hadn't programmed anything in my life. More recently, I've been going out 5 nights a week, have tons of friends and I'm focusing my efforts on PluginID (something I'm proud of).
Although blogging (it's actually my medium, not my message) may not seem like a challenging thing, there's a sense of weariness in having your full name online and writing very personally about your life; something I don't mind doing these days. On that note though, I'm far from perfect (if there is such a thing); I can write on topics like not caring what people think and while I don't to a large extent, there's still times when the judgements of others can bother me.
Being the light is simply going for exactly what you want, and not letting any of the above bullet points hold you back. If you want to do something, do it, even if others might laugh at you or think it is 'lame'. Have large goals and dreams if they involve your passions; even if people say it can't be done or you're wasting your time. This is being the light.
Do you know why? Because what you can visualise you can create. I'm sure Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Barack Obama, Richard Branson and others had people telling them they can't do things and even had their own limiting beliefs at times. In fact, from reading some of their biographies I know that this is the case. Did they let that stop them? No, they became the light that lets people like you and me see what is possible; for that I respect them more than I could ever put into words.
Nobody had ever ran quicker than a 4-minute mile until Roger Bannister came along, it had never ever been recorded in history. Yet, as soon as he did that, 37 people did the same thing in the following 12 months. And the year after that, over 300 people managed to achieve the feat. He was the light, he showed people what is possible and gave them belief to do the same.
Giving Other People Permission
As an act of its own, simply being the light in your own life will give people permission to see they can do that in theirs. During my time in South Africa I was surrounded by people my age that literally did not care what people thought of them, people who managed to get me to breakdance in the middle of busy shop stores just to see if I could stop caring (I did). Being surrounded by others who don't care helps you do the same, just as whatever you do will unconsciously have an effect on others.
Fact: just being the light is enough to think of your job well done. However, there are two more things I've learned on this path:
1) Don't discourage people. If someone comes to you with their crazy idea, don't shoot them down. Support them; be non-judging but very encouraging.
2) Some people don't want advice. Just because you are making a go of your life, that doesn't give you permission to impose your reality onto the lives of others. When people are ready to make a change, the lessons will unfold.
When are you going to shine?