Have you ever stopped to consider how easy it would be to drive through a city with all the lights and streetlamps and other car headlights and not even notice that your own headlights weren’t on? Your surroundings provided such a well-lit setting that it didn’t even faze you that you had them off. Perhaps you have even done this but unaware of it. You let the other sources of light be your guide and protection. You let them lead you. You let them keep you safe. You gave them the job to cancel out the darkness so that you could see. You didn’t realize until you were out of the city that you had your headlights off. Returning to the darkness on your own made you see that. Perhaps it wasn’t even until you were put in a dangerous situation that you noticed. Or maybe, you did realize while still in the city but thought it would be pointless to turn them on. Nobody would notice yours off with all the other lights around. Yours would not make a difference. Yours would serve no purpose amongst the other many sources of light. It was easier to keep relying on the other lights. It felt safer to put the responsibility on the lamps and headlights and lights to cast out the darkness than have to take it on yourself. There is a comfort in letting others be the guide and you following.
I bring this up because this concept is applicable to us as humans. It is common to find yourself in a situation where you became aware that your “lights” were not on. We surround ourselves with people and places that shine brightly. We stick to the well-lit streets because that is where we are comfortable and where it is safe. We can see what is coming and what surrounds us. Danger stays away from the dark where it can be spotted. Like the moth to a lamp, we find ourselves flying straight to the light of others, letting their brightness guide us. No one even notices that you don’t have your own light switched on because there are so many others shining. And we may like it that way, going unnoticed and letting others be the center of attention. We are afraid to stand out. We are afraid to be responsible for bringing the light and helping others. We are fearful of being leaders, being the one others look to for guidance and hope. We keep our light off surrounded by people who shine so bright because what difference would ours even make? How could we compare to their powerful glow? Ours may look so meek, so dim amongst everyone else. The lights cannot be compared if one isn’t even on and can go unseen.
What’s scary about this kind of living is that eventually there will be situations, events, decisions that we face alone. You may face the greatest darkness you could not have even imagined existing. I did with the depression, anorexia, OCD, and anxiety. I turned down the wrong street and found myself in a dark alley, absent of light, clueless as to how to get out, blind to what danger may be lurking around me, unprepared to handle what might show up unexpectedly. I was overcome with fear, anxiety, paranoia, hopelessness, and confusion. Going through this made me realize the importance of my personal light. I had to go through my own darkness to recognize my need to turn on the light within me. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power and important of our light.
I used to be very shy. I felt the need to hold myself back because of self-limiting beliefs, caring what people thought of me, thinking I needed to do more or be more or have more to get anywhere or be someone, feeling like I did not deserve success, feeling unworthy to be seen or like I have done enough to be looked to for guidance, and worrying about all the many things that could go wrong by putting myself out there. As a result, I kept my light off. I wanted to hide, never be seen. I was content living off of the light of others. But then something came into my life that gave me a reason to be a light; the anorexia and my recovery from it. It gave me a purpose to shine. I felt like it was now my duty to turn my light on or my struggle would be in vain and many others would have to endure the pain I had to. This was my way of helping others, of eliminating the darkness, of bringing hope in a situation of intense turmoil and struggle. It would be a harm to the world to keep my light off any longer.
Being the light is simply going for exactly what you want, and not letting anything hold you back. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to be something be it. If you want to conquer something, fight it. If you have a dream, go after it. I'm sure Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and other world changers had people telling them they can't do things and even had their own limiting beliefs at times. Did they let that stop them? No, they became the light that lets people like you and me see what is possible. They instilled belief in others to do the same and go out and make a difference, stand up for their beliefs, turn their dreams into a reality, make the seemingly impossible possible. On a similar note, do you know how many people told me I could never recovery? How many people tried to instill doubt in me over my ability to be free of the anorexia? By me refusing to let those words resonate in me and committing to recovery, I am being a light. I am a light through my writing and documenting my journey, the trials and the triumphs, through my actions, through my words. I am a light by what I overcome. I am a light by refusing to give up and letting others witness my determination and perseverance. I am a light by casting out fears and anxiety and negativity so the faith and peace and positivity can exist. Others can see that it is possible and hopefully, make the decision to pursue health and freedom as well.
The beauty of it all is that as we work to create a light for others, we naturally light our own way. Simply being the light in your own life will give people permission to see they can do that in theirs. Think about it. All those other lights turned on in the city were creating a light for your car but at the same time, lighting up the city for them too. There is no way another car could have their headlights on and not have that be their own guide. They were not only helping you with your lights off but serving themselves as well. It is like this with people. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Each one of us was gifted with our own light. Your light is not meant to be shut off at any point or hidden. It has been designed to shine. We were given the light for the dark places. Our light can save lives, if only our very own. Along those dark streets, your lights makes all the difference. Your light is a lifeline. It shows that there is a route to escape from a life of confusion, panic, darkness, danger, and to cast out all fears. Our light is showing others and ourselves a different way, reminding them and us that we are not lost. There is always a way out. There is always hope. It may not feel like it at times for the dark is inevitable in life. We cannot fight it, but we can choose to shine to cast it out. When darkness comes, we have the choice to curl up in fear or turn on the light. You are blessed to have a light within you to turn on every single time the darkness comes.
And I tell you, do not worry if you are currently enduring the darkest moment of your life because just like any light, the darker it gets, the brighter you will shine. So, you radiant light, are you ready to shine now?