“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. 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.” - Marianne Williamson
This is a beautiful quote and one of my personal favourites, every time I hear it is has a profound effect on me.
Sounds counter intuitive but I believe it is very true, the more I live the more I see examples of it everywhere.
I am afraid to shine. I am afraid that I will outshine other people around me. For that I feel guilty and get all conflicted and inhibited.
Related to the above quote, I have a belief that this is societal conditioning.
I am not sure about women, but a lot of the men I have come across have this belief to some degree or another. It is something that is instilled in us young by being set apart when we do shine.
People generally like things to 'fit' and conform, things that do not tend to get more attention and not always in a good way.
This relates to the old saying about the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
I know myself I have several memories from early life where I did shine and was made to feel quite bad for it, which again is counter intuitive, it is not you but the other people. You shining triggers their insecurities and their way to deal with that is to encourage you to not shine, rather than dealing with their insecurities. If you are still young and impressionable and listen to them rather than watching their actions it can have quite an effect and leave a lasting impression.
It is only in recent years that I have been able to put certain parts of this aside, even though I always believed it was wrong. I have always thought it was good to encourage others to achieve their potential, found it hard to cultivate that in myself - I did push myself but rarely showed others in an overt way what I was capable of. Age is teaching me that that is short changing myself and I am not responsible for their insecurities or issues.
This relates to what Gina said in this very touching passage:
Now what bothered me was the assumption, and it triggered old stuff about my outer beauty and getting way too much attention for it since I was a child, which is why I began to try to hide it and avoid it. I wanted always to be seen for what was INSIDE me first, for the outer not to matter. I paid attention to how charged I got at the woman's assumption, and a part of me felt, for a moment, apologetic, and like maybe I should have used different pics. Then I stopped myself. That's how I look. I did my ordinary daily makeup and my hair as per usual myself, and I have nothing to apologize for. But I have to say, it really activated me for a moment.
Thank you for writing that Gina, it is exactly what I was describing above.
When this happens to me, I endeavor to be fully present with the emotions and feelings going on within me, to let them surface and fully explore them. Only then will I make a decision, most of the time they pass and I feel more free afterwards (when you realised you had nothing to apologise for). I find this a very cleansing process.
One more thing, Sir Michael, that I wanted to share with you. When I relax and ACCEPT my beauty and stop feeling self conscious or apologetic about it, an amazing thing happens. I KNOW that when someone looks at me or connects with me, whether it is a man or a woman, that my beauty become a roadway to love for them, that through it, they FEEL something that feels like love, and it's because it's a portal, the way a door is an external portal INTO a room. I am learning that when I stand in and embrace my beauty, not from ego, but from acceptance, then I can serve people and embody love even more profoundly. Embracing it and accepting it is the key. and it's so profound to me that at 48, my beauty in the eyes of others has grown, not diminished, as society would have women believe. And I KNOW it's because of the strength of my inner beauty. But the outer is an important doorway.
Beautiful bit of text Gina, with many gems within.
Acceptance and being present. I find if you cannot accept yourself in a situation it is difficult to be truly present, if you do accept yourself then it becomes a lot easier.
Acceptance also has a different feel to it than ego. Someone who accepts their beauty rather than thinking they are beautiful from an egoic point of view has such a different feel to them - to me.
The outer is the facade people are initially greeted with, if they are put off by that they rarely see the inner. If they are not then it gives them a chance to see what lies beneath the surface. Sadly people tend to judge by outer far too much, rather than seeking to expose the gems which lie within.