I’m commonly known for being positive and having a bright outlook on life. If you ask someone who knows me fairly well, they would tell you that ninety percent of the time I have a smile on my face, or I’m cracking a joke and loving life.
But for a long time, I lost that perspective.
When I was fourteen, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. At the end of my eighth grade year, and for the better half of two long years, I was just a hollow version of myself. It has been my biggest struggle to overcome and a battle I am constantly fighting. Before I knew it, my sunshine was stolen from me, and oh man, did I have to fight to get it back.
Through this journey, however, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: in order to bring sunshine to other people, you have to make sure you’re taking care of your own glow.
It’s easy to put so much energy into others but forget to nurture your own radiance. This balance of giving and receiving is oftentimes tricky to navigate, and the boundaries can become blurred. To maintain your sunshine, realizing warning signs of when your light is starting to dim is crucial. For me, I can tell when I need to recharge when I’m feeling constantly drained, easily aggravated, wanting an excessive amount of alone time, and losing interest in certain hobbies.
Even though covered in cheesiness, the sayings “not all days can be without storms” or “even the sun goes down to rest” are so relevant. Wanting to bring sunshine into every space you go into is backed with good intentions—but it is not achievable 100% of the time.
We have to take care of ourselves first—that way the sunshine we’re bringing into a room is bright and pure.
Good self care leads to overflowing sunshine—and that’s what you need to light up a room. Besides my outstanding personality and my beautiful looks, lighting up a room isn’t as scary as it seems. These are some things to keep in mind so you can be the best version of yourself when you’re with other people:
1. Remind yourself you are marvelous and deserve to be with the people around you. Confidence is tricky, especially if we are in a place where we feel lesser than. But that’s the thing . . . We are just as good. Just because someone is particularly skilled or has something that you don’t, it does not devalue your own worth. Nowadays, we aren’t taught to lift others up because we’re too consumed with our own self-doubt and insecurities. It’s easier to be harsh on yourself and belittle your worth than it is to embrace your talents and take pride in them. Be confident in yourself and your abilities, because others are as lucky to interact with you as you are with them.
2. Be the one to make bold moves.
The reality is everyone is scared to take the first step in almost any situation, so be the one to do it. When you’re the one breaking the ice or having that different attitude, people will notice and be drawn to you. Start with little things in your life to test it out and you’ll see you’re actually a really cool person. Ask your server how they are actually doing. Ask that person that is sitting by themselves. Ask that question that you know you want to but are holding back! These bold moves will fill your sunshine, making it brighter and stronger each time you enter a room.
3. Be genuine and attentive with conversations and your relationships. Do you know what makes someone different? Authenticity. Nodding your head and saying ‘yeah’ does not mean you’re actually paying attention to someone. People want to be heard—they want to be listened to with intention and purpose. So many things that are ingrained in our minds through life are overflowing with truth. One of those being: you will only get out what you put in—whether that’s in relationships, work, conversations, or dreams. Your effort and deep passion for anything will be met if you give it your everything. So why not be genuine and attentive with all the things you pursue in life and all the rooms you walk into.
4. Finally, lead and leave with love. The world is often dark. The odds are against us as humans, pitting us against one another to fight it out to see who’s on top. Well frankly, I don’t want to fall into the traps that society has planted for us. If I offend someone, I want to learn how I can be better and apologize vulnerably. When someone hurts me, I want to ask what’s going on in their lives and how I can pray for them instead of becoming defensive. When a person is asking for help, I want to be there for them and be reliable. Lead each encounter with intentional love in your heart and leave each encounter with a little more love.
Let’s take care of ourselves. And then let’s value others and take steps in life with a little more empathy. Imagine the sunshine we could display to those around us. We’ll bring sunshine into every room we enter because we are the light—we just have to realize it!
What’s one bold move you can make this week?
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