“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~Marianne Williamson
We’ve all met that person at a party or a business function who seems to “light up a room.” People are drawn to them like moths to a flame.
Maybe it’s the way she carries herself, or the easy way he laughs, or her eyes that seem totally focused and engaged in the moment. I’ve always noticed that they have sort of a “knowing” smile—a secret that maybe, just maybe, they might tell you.
I have always wanted to know that secret.
A confession: Up until a couple of years ago, I was a total happiness-faker. Yep. Even had myself fooled there for a while.
It took a couple jobs lost, one relationship ended, and a few life crises thrown in for good measure before I woke up one morning and realized that I no longer saw “me” staring back. It was that moment of clarity where I finally saw things exactly as they were—and knew that they had to change.
I was never more afraid in my entire life. But then again, the best things that happen to us in life are usually the most terrifying, no?
As I’ve evolved in this journey, I’ve slowly inched closer towards the radiant person I want to be. For me, that means finding simplicity and a sense of flow in all aspects of my life—which has been surprisingly more difficult than I ever thought it would be.
Simplifying our lives can be hard because it forces us to own our values and shape our lives around them. To take responsibility for our lives and cut away what we’ve outgrown. To do something, anything, every day to move us one step closer.
Most of the time, this process requires us to step outside of the norm—perhaps our “normal” persona; our “normal” relationship habits; our “normal” place in society. It’s challenging, uncomfortable (albeit extremely rewarding) work.
Navigating the process can be even harder. How can we know what’s right when we’re stepping away from what we’ve always been told is just that?
There are six actions I actively take in my life that have made all the difference. Each time I practice, I feel my inner glow burning just the tiniest bit brighter.
1. Discover your gifts.
I’m not talking Photoshop skills or anything you learned in college. I’m talking real gifts. What makes you a treasure? What do you do that lights you up inside? Not sure? Ask your closest friends. Their insight could be illuminating.
2. Inject happiness.
The biggest problem with happiness is that we often think we don’t deserve it. When we believe we don’t deserve it, we fail to see the great opportunities that are right in front of us. Sunsets. Playing tag with your kids. An ice cream cone shared with your significant other. Relaxing with a good book. You get the idea.
Need some real life inspiration? Look no further than children…and dogs. There’s no better example of pure happiness.
3. Do it your way.
You don’t need anyone’s approval but your own. There’s no one formula that will tell you how to manage your time, run a successful business, lose weight, quit your day job, etc.
While it’s helpful to use great resources and admire those who’ve done what you want to do, your path is yours to walk. Comparing yourself to other people is a waste of energy—energy that you could be spending on step #1 or #2.
4. See failure as an opportunity.
We all choose how to face adversity and challenges in life. We can either fold under the pressure or look for learning experiences. I choose the latter.
5. Step away from what doesn’t fit anymore.
Your new-found glow may too much for some people, or not enough. You may find that certain habits no longer align with your awakened lifestyle. Make changes. You’re worth it.
6. Allow yourself to be driven by something bigger than yourself.
This can be anything from your personal “higher power” or simply gut-level intuition. Perhaps it’s a core value that shapes your actions, both professionally and personally. Dig deeper and look beyond the surface. Surrender—sometimes that’s the wisest action to take.
Once I started implementing these concepts, I started seeing subtle changes in my life and in myself. I stood up a little straighter, and felt more and more comfortable in my own skin. I stopped wasting time on things that didn’t serve me. I relaxed in situations that would’ve previously made me critical and judging.
The biggest changes happened with the people in my life. My relationships became more nurturing and fulfilling. I stopped trying to prove myself to everyone. My business evolved in a major way—once I started allowing myself to just “be me,” I started attracting clients who wanted the same level of authenticity in their evolution as creative entrepreneurs.
I realized that you really do need to love yourself first. Your radiance is directly proportionate to your level of self-love and self-expression.
So have you figured out the secret to lighting up a room? The secret is being ourselves.
Photo by CarbonNYC