How to Be the Light You Need in the World
2021 Summer to Shine Series, Part 4
Of all of Zyia’s Pillars, Light is the hardest one to define. But it’s simple if you think about it as whatever makes you “light up.” What experiences fill you with purpose, optimism, happiness, hope, or confidence?
If several things immediately came to mind—great! If not, challenge yourself to spend this month trying some of the suggestions on this list. Some we devised to increase Light, and other challenges help you protect your Light.
Increase Your Light
Learn Something New
What is something you’ve always wanted to learn but never got around to it? This month, decide to learn it. Whether you take a class, check out library books, or watch tutorial videos on YouTube, commit to learning one new thing.
Don’t worry about becoming a master. Instead, focus on enjoying the process of learning.
Set New Goals
One of our favorite ways to set goals is with vision boards. A vision board can be as simple or as creative as you want. It can be physical or digital, and it can be for short or long-term goals.
Create a digital vision board and use it as the wallpaper on your computer. Hang a physical vision board on your bedroom wall. Choose images that capture the essence of what you want to achieve, then keep the finished board in a highly visible place. The more you look at it, the more likely you will be to accomplish your goals. Then, as you accomplish them, your vision board will be a reminder that you achieved what you set out to do!
Celebrate Your Progress
It’s easy to be so focused on the end result that we don’t take the time to recognize how far we’ve come. Celebration is especially important for goals that are long or difficult. Instead of focusing on how far you have to go, try focusing on how far you’ve come and celebrate each win with small rewards.
Spend the morning hiking a new trail. Take a weekend camping trip to a state or national park. Plan a road trip and take the scenic route. Take your partner to that restaurant you’ve driven past a hundred times. Whether you take a trip to an exotic location or discover new parts of your hometown, refresh your spirit by changing the scenery.
Take a moment to create something this month. Bake cookies from scratch. Write a poem. Make a photo collage of your last vacation. Whatever you choose, let the creative juices flow! Give the finished product as a gift or keep and enjoy double the reward.
Protect Your Light
The way we talk to ourselves affects the way we engage with the world around us. Too often, we speak to ourselves in ways we would never talk to another person. This month, pretend you’re talking to someone you love when you’re talking to yourself. Be kind, understanding, and supportive. Then see how it influences your mood and the ways in which you interact with others.
- Compliment yourself. We’re more likely to criticize ourselves than acknowledge the positive, so make an effort to find reasons to give yourself compliments.
- Allow yourself room to make mistakes. We all screw up, but we tend to judge ourselves more harshly than we do others. Correct your error, but forgive yourself.
- Show yourself grace. Being angry with yourself won’t undo whatever you’re angry about, and it won’t fix the situation. Acknowledge the emotions, then let them go.
Set Clear Boundaries
Boundaries are difficult to establish but incredibly powerful for guarding your energy. Some boundary examples are:
- I won’t be checking emails while I’m on vacation. It’s my time away from work.
- My home isn’t up to hosting, but I can recommend a lovely hotel nearby.
- Your project sounds interesting, but my schedule books up a month in advance.
- I’m happy to volunteer, but I’m only available on Tuesday mornings.
- This isn’t a good time for me to visit. Let’s arrange another time that suits us both.
You know where your boundaries need to be stronger. Set a clear boundary around a trouble spot this month and observe how it impacts your ability to reach your goals, recharge, and enjoy a lighter life.
Just Say No
If you struggle to say the word no, you’re probably overextended, drained, and stressed. Don’t let your light be on the end of a fuse. Say yes to the commitments that move your goals forward or align with your purpose. But say no to the rest.
It will feel awkward at first, but it gets easier with practice. And remember, “No” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to follow it with an apology or an explanation.
Living a life full of Light is a balancing act that we’ll never perfect. We need to expose ourselves to experiences, people, and ideas that fill us with Light, but we also need to protect our time, energy, and focus fiercely.
But as with many of life’s most critical challenges, it’s the constant effort that counts.
Read More in Our Summer to Shine Series: