Everybody needs some time to shine, time to be recognized, special, admired. It’s not selfish: it’s human.
Early one Saturday I saw in the local paper that a workshop for blues musicians was scheduled for that very morning. I showed the notice to my husband, who intends to be the world’s next great blues harmonica player. “I’d like to go, “he said, “but I promised I would paint your office.” I assured him that the office could wait and sent him off with my blessing.
He thought I was being selfless and wonderful, but I really wasn’t. You see, I’d had a lot of shine time that week—a couple of career successes, lunch out with five favorite friends, and a massage that had accounted for one, entire, luxurious hour. I was full. When you’re basking in the sun, it’s natural to want those you love to join you there. But if you’re not getting enough of your own shine time, it’s easy to be needy, whiny, and pitiful.
It can get worse than that: the shine-deficient tend to resent other people’s accomplishments and dampen their dreams. Sometimes, they sabotage the potential of even their own children because their need for personal recognition is so seldom met. Parents who want to keep their children from pursuing an art or a sport “because it’s not practical” are in this category. So are those who push their kids toward unrealistic academic or athletic achievements. They’re trying to get some shine secondhand.
For your own benefit as well as for the benefit of those around you, shining regularly is as crucial as bathing regularly. You can get the shine time that’s essential to creating a charmed life in myriad ways. Among them:
Indulge yourself often in what you do well. If you’re a good swimmer, swim. If you’re a good seamstress, sew.
Spend time with people who think you’re splendid – and who’ll tell you so.
Celebrate yourself. Mark the occasions of your life with friends and festivity. Never get too old to have birthday parties.
Train those close to you to appreciate shine time by giving them some. Keep track of their special days. Notice their accomplishments. Never leave an honest compliment unspoken.
Don’t downplay your successes, i.e., “It was just an automatic promotion. Anybody would have gotten it.”
When you’re in the limelight, invite others to share it. Think of those Academy Award recipients thanking all those people by name.
When the world isn’t noticing you, notice yourself. Buy yourself a present. Send yourself flowers. Take yourself to lunch someplace that uses cloth napkins.
Allow other people unimpeded shine time. We like to look at celebrities and make comments like “Nobody is worth that much money” and “Why doesn’t somebody teach that woman how to dress?” Just for practice, let it go. Let other people shine, even the radiant strangers on TV.
Welcome shine time as a cyclic occurrence. Nobody is in the spotlight nonstop. Accept that you will shine, step back, then shine again. The moon has phases from dark to full. So do we. We’re fully valuable throughout the cycle. At certain times, we just attract more attention.