Too often, we believe that something we do must be grandiose and magnificent in order for it to have meaning or to be remembered. Not so. In fact, it is the smallest of moments that truly capture our hearts, only to leave a mark on our memories forever. At times, we may not even realize the ways we shine unless someone points them out to us.
Sitting with some friends a few years ago at a bar, I had a conversation with my friend’s daughter, who was working there. In a matter of 15 minutes, this young lady had completely changed her attitude towards something she was trying to understand. I merely pointed out another way to look at it. Without pretense or planning, I just shared a few ideas. That’s all it took.
Something little, like a few words shared, can change anything.
Our gifts and talents are our own and have been granted to us for a reason. Hiding them is a disservice.
How many times have you made excuses or assigned the responsibility to someone else, claiming to be too busy or too tired? How many times have we believed that we were incapable of making a difference in someone else’s life?
We shine when we let the world see us for our true selves and hold nothing back, when we abandon our fears and allow our hearts to be free. But how do we really shine in a world that seems to be full of darkness, negativity, and hate?
1. We smile
I know it sounds too corny and easy to be true, but it is impossible to ignore. When we smile — even at complete strangers — we feel happy and share that with others. Why do you think we love the “welcome home” reunions and surprises so much on YouTube? Every single one has a smile in it and we connect with the emotion captured in each video. Long after the moment has passed and we have gone about our days, we can’t help but find ourselves thinking back at that moment, and what do we do? We smile.
2. We serve others
Giving our time and talent to others gives people permission to do the same. Why do you think we all get this “warm fuzzy” feeling when we “ring the bell” or serve dinner during the holiday season? It makes us feel good. It shows others that people really do care and want to do not just what society tells us to, but what we know is right. Our souls need to be replenished just as much as every stomach, and when we put other’s needs ahead of our own — without expectation — we inadvertently “pay it forward” and “pass the torch” to another to do the same.
3. We hold someone’s hand
In that single touch, we say “I’m here,” “I care,” and “I am here for you,” without saying a word. When we are afraid, lonely, or lost and there is nothing else, we grab hold and don’t let go. We commit to someone for this moment, even if that moment doesn’t last much longer than a minute or two. Days from now, it will be something we cherish. Because in that simple act of human touch, someone connected with us and made us feel important, special, and loved.
4. We chase our dreams
Whether we want to believe it or not, people are always watching what we are doing and saying. Our acts of courage and adventure, even defying the status quo can incite an internal riot within ourselves that only can be described as “permission” to someone who is wanting to take that leap, too. Dreamers give us hope and naturally shine without really even trying. Although our dreams may be different, the feeling we get from chasing them is always the same.
5. We live authentically
The old phrase “You get what you see” actually holds some truth, instead of simply being a quick way to deflect and keep people out. We do what we said we would do, we keep promises, we actually “walk the talk” and encourage others to take down walls and be a little vulnerable. Letting people see our hearts now and again allows us moments to shine and leaves a little bit of you with others. We still need to create some mystery about who we are and every one of us becomes captivated by the magic of someone listening to their heart and their willingness to share it with others.
6. We believe in others
There are no words to describe the imprint some people leave on our lives. Without even noticing or wanting much fanfare, they have permanently marked our souls like we never could have imagined. We see goodness and potential in someone who has yet to see their own gifts and talents, let alone share them with the world. We show them how to “live inspired” and encourage them to find the true meaning of their purpose, all while being who they really are. Giving people permission to “shine” makes the world brighter and it allows the rest of us to see through everything ugly in our world.
This world is what we make it. Hands down, we can take the easy road and let the sludge and and muck bury us. We know it can and it will. Some will find not be able to get out of the grime unless someone helps them. There is still greatness to be shared and we know it matters. It will change the world and it will inspire future generations to shine brighter than they even imagined. In order for anything extraordinary to happen, we must remember it. The moments found in the glitter that sparkles left long after you are gone will no doubt leave an impression that will not wain — you have changed the world.