Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.
Let Your Light Shine
Falling From Light
After working on yourself for a while, you feel pretty great. Lighter inside and out, people even comment on how great you look and how different you seem. You feel better than you have in years.
One day, walking into a restaurant, the grocery store or through a park, you see your nemesis. You freeze and your mouth goes dry. Your heart drops into your belly and your pulse quickens.
You know, that one person who always brings you down. That one friend from the past who always reminds you of your mistakes, or that relative who points out your flaws. This person knows exactly which buttons to push to shove you out of enlightenment and back to the depths of your shame, fear, anger and insecurity. How do they do that and what can you do to keep shining your light in a dim world?
Or, you're vibing high, eating well, drinking lots of water, moving your body and connecting to source. One day you decide you can visit the local bar, or you decide to eat a piece of cake, or you stop exercising and go back to drinking. Whatever your decision is, it brings you down. You feel tired, achy and mad at yourself for losing your spiritual path. Not only does your body feel lousy, but your mind feels foggy and disconnected. You're mad at yourself and disappointed that you couldn't stay in a better feeling place. You wonder if you'll ever get back on track or if it's even worth it.
Yes, it is worth it to feel better. It is always worth making a better choice in the moment. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to choose what's best for ourselves. Sometimes we forget and fall back into those old patterns that bring us back to where we were. It's okay to fall apart. Getting off track is not the end of the world. Instead, view it as an opportunity to remember how you don't want to feel. You can always return to the next better feeling place. And you can sit in your own misery as long as you want. When you're ready, get up and begin again. The spiritual path continually moves us forward as we are ready.
Whether it's a person, a place, a circumstance or even a choice you've made that causes you to feel like you've lost your shine, you're okay. Read on to learn how to get back to the light after dimming your glow.
Remember Your Humanity
Everything Always Changes
As you walk your path of spirituality or self-improvement, you might find yourself growing complacent. The morning routine in place helps you focus when you wake up, with your walk, and your juice and your early meditation. You even remember gratitude. You start off with your head high, your step light and spirits soaring. Life is great and you are blessed. You start to feel smug. Maybe a little superior to all those lazy do-nothings who sleep late, eat poorly and aren't as grateful as you are.
Stop right there. Everything always changes. While creating a daily habit of certain activities helps you stay on your chosen path, it's important to remain open to change. Before you grow comfortable and complacent in your spiritual evolution, remember where you came from. Just as you are up right now, you might also find yourself down. Be open to the idea that something might come up to knock you off your path. Don't climb too high onto that spiritual high-horse lest changing tides flatten you out.
Personally, I've had to grow accustomed to change. It always shows up when I'm comfortable and least expecting it. I had a great daily routine, and then I got a puppy. Everything changed. I enjoyed my new routine, and then my husband lost his job. Everything changed. I fit myself into a new space of healing and growth, and then my children all moved out and got their own lives. Everything changed. I was doing great with my yoga practice and running and weight loss until I hurt my knee. Then everything changed again.
Remember that everything always changes. The way to keep your light shining incorporates change and flexibility. While it's nice to have a routine, being adaptable helps you glow when other lights might dim.
Keeping yourself healthy and growing includes opening yourself to the unexpected. It's not bad to do your workout differently, or to eat something you hadn't planned, or to go out with people who are unfamiliar. In fact, these challenges create more pathways in the brain, to help you become resilient. When things go as planned, then you don't grow. You might become complacent, stagnant or even self-righteous.
It's easy to be spiritual or healthy or enlightened when you live alone, on a mountain top. It is when you come down from the mountain and have to deal with real people and real situations that you grow. Your spiritual path is challenged by change and the unexpected.
Rather than allowing unexpected or unplanned people or events to throw you off your spiritual path, remind yourself that they are a gift from the universe to challenge you. Growth comes when you respond to the unexpected slowly and mindfully, rather than lashing out or withdrawing. Slow down, feel, respond. Respond mindfully rather than reacting mindlessly.
Sometimes the best thing you can do when confronted with an unhealthy situation is to remove yourself. It is not weak or cowardly to get out of an unhealthy situation. It is smart and the best thing you can do for yourself.
Don't worry about what other people might think or say. The truth is, people care about themselves. They rarely pay attention to what other's are doing. If anyone notices you leave, they can talk to you about it privately. If you're in a group of people, excuse yourself and get out the door.
If you are unable to leave a gathering, you can turn your back to the toxicity. Literally turn your back. If you can't see the person or the situation or the event, then it is far less likely to have a negative impact on your energy. The most important thing you can do is protect yourself.
It is far easier to protect your own emotional and physical energy than to enter into an argument that you will never win. If you argue with an idiot, a bystander can't tell the difference. If you walk away, then you won't get drawn in. There is no need to protect your dignity or show people how quick you are on your feet. You'll send a stronger and more important message when you walk away from negativity.
What if you're at home, bored and watching junk television, surfing the net or even reading a book? The chips and cookies start to call your name. At first, it's a whisper, then the wine bottle lets out a deafening roar and you feel unable to ignore the siren song. You find yourself at the bottom of a bag of chips, an empty wine bottle at your feet.
Before you get too deeply entrenched in that which you don't really want, take a break. Get up, move around, change the scenery. Grab a glass of water and go for a walk. Call a friend or one of your kids. Before you fall into the trap of salt, sugar and alcohol, take a moment. It's not easy. The call is loud and the pull is strong. The best thing you can do is get outside. Walk around the block. Still want those snacks? Go around again. Move your body, rewire your brain and challenge yourself to try something new.
Getting away from uncomfortable or unhealthy situations and people offers you an opportunity to come back to mindfulness. It's hard to resist the urge to argue or indulge in a moment. If you take a breath, walk away and clear your head, then you allow yourself the opportunity to make a better choice for your own well being.
Make a Different Choice
Besides being adaptable to change and walking away from unhealthy situations, a third option for shining your light when the world seems against you is to simply choose again. That's right. Make another choice. Change your mind. Decide to see things differently. Think a new thought. It's the easiest and also the hardest option.
In any given moment, you possess the power to change your own mind. No one else can do it for you, although many may try. When you change your mind, the entire world of new possibility opens before you.
Before anything changes in your physical reality, you must first decide to see the world differently. You choose to be the creator of your experience rather than the victim of circumstances. Once you've decided to choose again, then you free yourself to respond in the most healthy way for you in the moment.
If you find yourself confronted by your evil nemesis, you could decide, in the moment of awareness, to choose a different response. Take a deep breath. Hold your chin up and square your shoulders. Relax your jaw. You might even surround yourself with protective white light, if you like. Now, remember that whatever comes out of their mouth is not so much about you, but about them. They are speaking from a place of hurt, fear, anger or jealousy. Whatever it is, it's not about you.
And how you choose to respond is all about staying in a positive, high vibration space of healing and alignment. It's not at all about them. It's about choosing the words or actions that keep you aligned with your truth.
Same thing goes for sitting at home, trolling the internet or scrolling through every channel and streaming service. Stop. Stand up. Take a deep breath. Lift your chin. Now, from this space of grounded awareness, make a choice. Do you want to continue numbing your brain, or maybe do you feel like something else? A walk, a hot bath, meditation, these are all things that can help you feel healthy, alive and connected.
Changing your mind, choosing a different path and deciding to see things a new way not only enhances and lifts your mood, but it can help improve your overall outlook on your life. You are the creator and author of your own unique, beautiful story. You are only the victim when you choose to be.
© 2021 Deborah Reno
I'd love to hear how you handle toxic situations:
Deborah Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on August 12, 2021:
Pamela, thank you for your kind comments, and for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 29, 2021:
This article has a lot of very good suggestions for those tough times, Deborah. Life is full of changes and some of them don't feel very good, but we have to make choices. Keeping a positive outlook makes a huge difference. Thanks for such a good article.