“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, 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 won’t 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’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson 

As women, we tend to be hyper attuned to the needs and wants of others. We also tend to place others’ needs and wants above our own. We are able to call out the light and brilliance in our families, friends, and communities. However, we rarely acknowledge our own light. In today’s world, slowing down long enough to sense what we need and desire for ourselves has become increasingly difficult. Over time this can lead to feeling unacknowledged or unappreciated by those around us.

What I have noticed again and again in myself, my friends, and my clients, is a discrepancy between the quality of care we give to others and the quality we allow ourselves to receive. Us women tend to hold the quality of care we give to others to a higher standard than the quality of care we feel comfortable receiving.

Think of a time when you received a genuine compliment. What was your response? Have you ever deflected a compliment? Or, think of a time when someone spoke to your heart in a sincere and loving manner. Did you feel uncomfortable, therefore shutting your heart off from receiving the love being offered?

I believe we as women feel uncomfortable receiving genuine acknowledgement and praise because we don’t spend enough time acknowledging and praising ourselves. No amount of external praise or appreciation can make up for the lack of praise and appreciation we give to ourselves.

So, if we desire to shift from deflecting to connecting, where can we start?

A good start may be to pause and acknowledge ourselves for all that we DO do and how amazing we already are; to appreciate everything we give and bring to the world, from birthing and raising children to the beautiful homes we create. Think about how amazing you are based on those two examples alone.

Have you ever paused, reflected inward, and genuinely said to yourself, “Wow, I really acknowledge you for carrying a developing infant in your womb for 9 months and all that you did to create space for this precious child to enter the world. I appreciate that you went through the birthing process to bring this wonderful being into the world and for making room in your heart to love so much.” Have you ever acknowledged yourself, to yourself, for how freaking amazing you are… just for raising your child(ren) alone?

I am curious how you might feel if you stopped and reflected something kind to yourself right now. (Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below).

I believe we as women will continue to hold ourselves back until we are able to own our voice, our God-given power, our beauty, our innate ability to create life all around us in infinite ways, and the many other extremely impressive traits we each possess. Only then will we be able to fully shine and receive the adoration we truly desire.

If we want more intimacy, more appreciation, and more joy in our lives, we must start by shining our true-selves, as Marianne points out above. And it’s nurtured through our witnessing of our innate awesomeness, appreciating all that we are and all that we bring to life. When we give this to ourselves, the world around us begins to reflect and give it back to us as well.

This remembering of who we truly are is the journey we are on, if we choose.  A journey toward the innate glory within each of us. If this is the journey you are on, or are ready to begin, I would love nothing more than to share a conversation with you.

Shine on my friends.

This article was written by Christy Christopher. Christy is an Executive Coach who works closely with Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. (coaching Dr. Mike and the team). We highly recommend giving her a call if you would like coaching around this or other issues.