Why don't you dim your light a bit so that others' can shine more brightly? This is a refrain I've heard for years and after my friend posted something similar on Facebook (she's a dynamic individual who never allows other people's bs to cripple her own self image or dim her light and I think that's freaking amazing!!), I knew I had to write a bit about this very topic.
It makes me so sad to see people who are threatened by those who sit in their own power, know themselves and express themselves confidently without doing anything to undercut or down put other people. I've dealt with haters all my life and though I may not know who you are or know you personally, I can say without a doubt that I know that you have too. I've been told that I'm too smart, too pretty, too talented, stuck up, that I should let other people's light be seen by dimming my own. I've been told that I should down play my education, down play my confidence, down play my talents, not emphasize my looks by wearing what I like to wear and doing my makeup how I like. I've been told that I should keep my head down and not make waves. You know what I say to that? Bullshit! I don't focus on competing with anyone else (though goddess only knows how many times its been brought to my attention that someone else is engaged in a one sided competition with me). I fully expect that others will find a way to shine their light brightly without asking me to dim mine or concerning themselves with how brightly my light shines. Some of the things I've heard over the years are as follows: You're too stuck up (I've only ever heard this from people who have taken zero hours minutes and seconds to get to know me--often times I hear it online from random bullies and/or trolls or from people on the street--namely, women with husbands or boyfriends in tow or men who are insulted that I didn't immediately start fawning all over them the moment I walked into whatever establishment I may have been in at any given time), someone like you would never pay attention to someone like me (really? You've got me pegged after two seconds of looking at me and you assume that I in turn know your exact motivations and that your character should've been obvious to me from the outset?), you must just think you're perfect (well yes, thank you very much, I do--I'm a perfect version of ME!) and much much more.
It's sad that rather than getting to know me, these types simply leap to snap judgments based on their own prejudice and lack of self esteem. If they would've taken the time to get to know me, they might've found out that I've driven strangers on the street to their houses when they were hurt or lost, that I've driven for hours in order to take a sick friend to the hospital, that I've literally invited homeless people in off the street, let them clean up, given them food and made sure they got to where they needed to go safely. They might've come to find out that I work with animal shelters or that I've recently driven cross country at my own expense to adopt a kitten who was going to be euthanized for having a cough or that my job is literally helping people to achieve their goals and listening to them when they need to bend my ear, but they didn't take the time to find any of that out because they were too busy worrying about how I made-or worse yet, how I might potentially make THEM look/feel in comparison.
I submit and strongly feel that anyone who sits around feeling threatened by me and worrying that me sitting in my own power and owning the qualities that make me me-good, bad and ugly will somehow directly affect them is the true definition of self-obsession and jealousy, and hey, isn't that what Narcissism really is? Being judgmental of the way someone looks or the person they're dating or their friends or their car or house or lifestyle or just their confidence is a waste of time and energy and it says so much more about the perpetrator of such jealousy than it does about the envied person. Even still, I say live and let live. I've gained and lost and gained once more friends and acquaintances all because I speak my mind and sit in my own power. I don't make it a habit to speak to or about people in disparaging ways. What I say about someone, I've likely said to them. I make it a habit to worry about myself--to concern myself with myself and to try to make the world around me a bit brighter for having me in it. I've found that it's a really freeing feeling to be an empathetic person who doesn't let the hang ups, low self esteem or mental issues of other people play into or affect their own confidence. I highly recommend it. I realize that it's hard to have any level of control over someone like me who literally DGAF about what other people's biases are or what their opinions are on my level of confidence, but that's not my problem and truly, it shouldn't be anyone else's, because it's not--a problem that is. Haters and those who want to take us down a peg have absolutely no effect on me, nor should they upon you, except to prove that I'm someone who they see as powerful, influential or even (*sigh*) threatening in some way (this one's an old classic for me). I'm deeply thankful for what I've learned through experiences with such individuals. As a direct result, I've become incredibly good at discerning real people from fake people and people who deserve my time and energy from people who don't. I've become adept at identifying pathologically sick people and disordered individuals like sociopaths (thankfully I don't know too many), narcissists and other generally hateful people. I've become good at identifying people's motivations, underlying thoughts, feelings and intentions. The experiences I've had have pushed me toward my education in psychology and have spurred me on to run a successful business. What I'm trying to say here is that people like that have done nothing but help me along my path, cutting themselves down in so many ways and eliminating any potential I have to be a positive influence in their lives in addition to eliminating any potential they may or may not have had not to be a god awful douchebag and likely even losing me as a good friend (for those who I've considered friends to some extent before I identified them as the aforementioned type of person, which thankfully, there haven't been many of...) or losing the potential for that relationship in the future in the process and I am glad to be able to avoid potential misguided relationships with any such people. I am thankful to those people who have shown me their asses before I got in any deeper with them than I already was, just as I'm thankful for those who have shown me their asses right out of the gate. To this day, I regret the end of only one relationship I've ever had. Being that I'm a kind, caring and empathetic person (and not just in my own words--many people have said just that to me and I'm thankful that I have those people in my life and to be the type of person who feels comfortable owning that), I think this fact is truly astounding. It speaks to the great luck I've had with friends and loved ones, who for the most part I keep in my life forever once we connect. I'm lucky to only regret the loss of one friendship in this lifetime. I am also extraordinarily lucky to be able to see people for who and what they truly are. What makes me sad is that there are people out there living their lives as haters-that there are people out there worrying more about others than they do about themselves--some of them with malicious intent. People who have a chip on their shoulder or who blame those whose lights shine brightly and who sit in their own power for their own inability to do just that are extremely sad. The American Psychological Association has recently come to associate the experience of marginalized people and/or groups with the ability to build a more lasting sense of self esteem (http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayRecord&uid=1990-04498-001#).
Now, I'm not a "love and light," platitude uttering type of person, so I'll just say that I wish this weren't so. I don't send them my prayers or love and healing energy or whatever other generic well wishes some might think to utter. I simply wish it weren't so and don't feel right focusing my energy upon them any more than that. Whatever the issue may be, whatever the cause of such self-pitying, victim archetype behavior, it remains their problem and not mine. I hope that after reading this, or even after simply having your own experiences in these matters, that some of you will pledge to yourselves, if you haven't already, that you'll allow your own light to shine brightly regardless of what others do or don't think of it. I hope you'll be authentic to yourselves and be accountable only to yourselves. I hope you'll live in your own power as authentic human beings who know themselves completely and I hope that you'll take the lessons that the haters in your lives have brought to you. I hope that you'll sit in your own power and let your light shine just as brightly as can be, because there is only one "you" in this world. Nobody has a monopoly on personality, confidence, quirkiness, beauty or coolness. You own all of those things. You are all of those things. Be them. Embody them. Live them. And most importantly, always be yourself.