You probably don’t talk up your own awesomeness on a regular basis—if ever. Most of us, especially women, have been taught to see anything more than “quiet” confidence as boasting. In many cases the brighter we shine, the more negative reactions we receive: maybe your big promotion made you the target of office gossip, or you became a Pilates rock star and were met with more backhanded compliments than congratulations. These kinds of experiences lead us to lose sight of our talents and inner spark, which in turn deprives the world of our greatness.
But when you play down your greatness out of fear that other people will be turned off by it, you forget how bright you can shine. Turn your inner spark into a blazing fire of greatness with these four tips. Weave them into your day—each one takes very little time, but the results will be immense.
Tip 1: Look inward.
Our culture prizes external markers of success: the impressive job title, the decadently expensive wedding, the designer wardrobe (in the “right” size). But focusing on what’s outside yourself totally blocks your inner light and can lead straight to low self-esteem. Remind yourself that what’s beautiful about you has nothing to do with anything external to you. When you feel yourself getting caught up in “outside” stuff, simply meditate. Sit in stillness for one-to-three minutes and focus on your breath. You’ll feel more grounded, more connected to yourself, and ready to shine.
Tip 2: Get real.
Owning your quirks—like the fact that you can recite every episode of Friends or have an offbeat sense of humor—can be hard at first. Let’s face it: not conforming takes guts, even once we’re many years out of school. But there is nothing cooler or greater than your authentic truth, from the serious to the silly. The next time you have an opportunity to say what’s on your mind, show your vulnerable side, or even ask for what you want. The more you embrace your real personality, the easier it will become. And letting your truth shine will let you feel more connected to others—they’ll drop the pretenses and get real, too.
Tip 3: Actually make time for what you love.
One brilliantly simple way to access your inner spark is to focus on what inspires you. Maybe you love to take photographs, but your camera’s been gathering dust for months. Maybe you adore cooking, but have been so wrapped up in other stuff lately that your recycling bin has been filled with takeout containers. Commit to setting aside time every week (or even every day) to do what you love.
If you’re not sure what inspires you, just pay attention to the things you do effortlessly, just because you love them. It could be as simple as writing in your journal or trying out a new hairstyle on a friend who’s happy to let you experiment. You’re good at so many things—you just have to learn how to see them.
Tip 4: Shine like you mean it!
Share your talents and favorite finds with others. Knit a scarf for your favorite neighbor. Post your expertly crafted playlist to Facebook. Email friends that short story you wrote. These small actions aren’t arrogant, nor are they intrusive. You’re just sharing what makes you happy—and, in turn, inviting others to do the same. When your relatives, friends, or coworkers praise you, accept it with a simple, heartfelt “thank you.” And don’t be afraid to dish out compliments sincerely and liberally, too.
Excerpted from Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose by Gabrielle Bernstein. Copyright © 2014 by Hay House.