Why Is It So Hard To Shine?

Hard to Shine

We creative hearts talk all the time about shining our light. It’s important to us that we be ourselves, that we express fully and freely who we are. We talk about it so frequently that it’s become a bit easy to say, as though shining is as simple as walking into a room and flicking on the light.

In some ways, it is that easy. The light is already there, in you, right now. Like Rudolph’s nose, it’s more work to hide it than to let it blaze – hard, enervating, soul-dampening work. So why do we hide it?

Why is it so hard to shine?

Before you read any further, take some time to answer those questions yourself. Grab your journal and explore:

  • When/where/why do I find it hard to shine?
  • When/where/why do I hide my light?

The most important answer is the one that’s yours so give yourself some time to discover it. (If you’d like to share what you discovered, you can leave a comment or email me. I’d love to hear what gets in the way of your shine.)

Past Messages about Shining

One thing that may have come up in your reflection, it certainly comes up for me and many of my clients, is the messages, both direct and indirect, you’ve received about shining. Maybe you’ve been told (and continue to be told) that you are too much, that when you shine you are selfish or demanding or proud or egotistical. This is not only hurtful but also confusing to your soul because really you’re just beaming out your joy, your heart, your love and your self and it feels wonderful until you get that kickback, when you get the message that you need to reign it in, reign it in now and hard.

Most often we respond by not only dialing our light way, way down but also by feeling ashamed or guilty for even thinking about shining! That’s when we lean into another bit of familiar advice:

Stop worrying about what other people think! (Oh, if only it were that easy)

But, once again, that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially for highly sensitive people. Life is a dance of individuality and intimacy and deep inside we have the belief that we can have only one and not the other.

We feel the call of our deepest heart, the way it asks us to rise up and unfurl into the wondrous being we were born to be. We feel it like trees feel the call of the sun and sky. It is undeniable. Our hearts beat with it. In our dreams, waking and sleeping, we find ourselves running with it. In our cubicles, our wrong relationships, our empty nests, we cry for it. We know, we know without a shadow of a doubt, we were meant to shine.

And at the same time we know that for all we will gain, there will be things that we lose.

Everything in our life that is comfortable but not-quite-right will chafe. Everything. As we wake up to ourselves and our light, things we’ve tolerated will no longer be acceptable to us and we will no doubt find ways that we are no longer acceptable to others. The family, friends, community that we are connected to will notice that something’s changed. They will start to see something we have known all along, that we don’t quite fit – and that is terrifying.

There may be haters.

There may be snide remarks, gossip and attitude.

There may be tears and hurt feelings, some yours, some belonging to others.

There will be discomfort.

There will be loss.

We want to belong.

We want to be a part of a community, a tribe, a family. It hurts to be judged, rejected, abandoned, isolated and alone. It hurts in a primal, visceral, “what if I’m tossed out into the cold to die” way.

After all that it may come as a surprise that I am sharing all this to encourage you.

I’m saying it because I want you to know that shining your light is a magnificent feat, that being yourself is heroic. It’s deep and meaningful and true. It’s brave and beautiful and it’s okay to be afraid.

Heroes are human.

A part of this journey is learning to take exquisite care of you, to build your strength, to grow your heart, to bolster your courage and yes, sometimes, to tend your wounds.

More and more as you shine and the ill-fitting familiar falls away, your true light will guide you to a new, shinier life. More and more things will get easier as you shine brighter, as you become the full expression of your beautiful creative soul. You’ll know your own heart and mind. Your energy will be freer. Your responses will be truer.  You’ll find yourself saying yes to the things that feel right for your heart, for your soul, for your shine – and no to everything else.

Years ago, I changed my entire life. I left a beautiful apartment and a long-term love with no money, no job and nowhere to go. I left for the freedom of my own spirit. I left to live my own life and dance in my own light. For an entire year I was a live wire, a vortex of wild enthusiasm and delight. All the energy that I had held back for so long, poured into the creating of my new life, the life that led me here, to this studio, to my beloved husband and to my creative life. It took everything I had and it gave me more than I imagined.

I know that it isn’t always so very easy to shine but I also know you can do it.

I know that the braver and brighter you shine, the more you will light up the world exactly as you are.


  1. Yvonne says:

    Beautiful post! I think my light is often hidden by self-doubts and being afraid of getting hurt. And maybe because of the darkness in me that I think I have to hide away. If you supress bad feelings, the good ones often get caged, too.

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