I haven’t posted an entry since…June, of last year. It is not that I haven’t had a multitude of thoughts, I just have not made the time to write them here. I had to write this, because I know someone needs to hear it, I needed to hear it.

“Everything has a purpose, clocks tell you the time, trains take you to places. I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine… I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.” —Hugo Cabret

Do not, ever, diminish who you are in order to allow someone else to be comfortable. Anyone. Not your friends, family, co-workers, spouses, acquaintances, no one. Life is short. We only get one shot at this, and the time we have is precious, far too precious to spend even one moment hiding who it is that we were created to be. More important than that: someone needs you to be exactly who you are in order to fulfill who it is that they are meant to be. We are all here for a reason.

If we spend our lives and energy worrying about what will cause someone else discomfort, what they will think of us, we do ourselves and the world a great disservice. Each time we hide, we retreat further into ourselves until eventually, we just…disappear.

“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, and 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 will not 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 is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, Ch. 7, Section 3 (1992)

We must be careful who we allow to speak into our lives, who we allow to impact our spirits, because the people we surround ourselves with can be our greatest detractors or our biggest supporters. Everyone needs encouragement in order to grow. Anyone who constantly feels the need to remind you of how normal, average, and insignificant you are, is someone who does not yet love themselves enough to be loving toward anyone else…even if they want to be. The world is full of people who have been rejected and made to feel inadequate. If they have not healed, those around them become collateral damage. It is our job to love them, but not at the expense of shrinking from who we know in our hearts we are called to become.

There is far too much darkness in the world to extinguish, or even diminish the light we carry. We have to shine. We were born to shine. We were made to shine.

What I am going to say next, makes me want to cry: all of the love you have to give, will never be enough love to make someone love themselves. Let me repeat that. ALL of the love you have to give will NEVER be enough love to MAKE someone love themselves. We are not meant to fill that void, if we try, we will soon find that we are drained. Loving a person is not easy, but healthy love is reciprocal and, though hard-fought, has the effect of making you shine brighter.

I want you to do something. I want you to take a pen and paper, and write down every person that you love. Are you their biggest cheerleader? You should be able to cheer on, from your heart, everyone who you love. If you cannot do that, you are not loving them. You should ask yourself, why? If your actions cause friction, tension, silence, separation, you are diminishing the people who you say you love.

I want you to take the challenge to give the people you love license to shine. You may not yet know how to do this, but it is simple: look into their eyes, observe their body language, you will see that they are shining, it will exude from every pore. Lift them up, speak kind words, give of yourself when there is nothing that you expect in return, look for ways to lighten their burdens, hug them, personify love.

I want you to give yourself license to shine. Pursue your passions. Your dreams are not silly, stupid, crazy, or unreachable, they exist in your heart because you have the unique life experience to steward them, to shepherd them, and to carry them to completion. If you are reading this, even if I do not know you, I want to tell you that I love you.

Do not be afraid to be who you were created to be, you need to be that to fulfill your purpose, and the world needs us each to shine brightly in order to illuminate the darkness.