24 January 2008
Happiness Connects with Self-Contentment
New York Times Bestselling author, Marianne Williamson, says in her book, Return to Love, “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 so brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God: Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is 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.”
This sentiment highlights the way that I feel toward society. I sometimes lack confidence and I often think that I am not adequate enough to do this or that. But, what I fear most is that my peers and the people around me will not like me for the person that I am. My light could shine brightly and I am capable of so much, but I think that I dim my light for those around me. I am afraid to let my light shine, or let everyone see all the potential that I hold inside. I think that nobody wants to spend time around someone who outshines them. People make me feel that I am an overshiner. In today’s society, we are taught to go with the flow and be just like everybody else. But let’s face it, I’m not like everybody else. I am not a conformer. I am me. Or as I used to say when I’d answer the phone, “It’s me, Emily!”
There’s this rule that I learned about at a leadership camp this summer. It’s called the 10-80-10 rule. Basically, the principle is that 10% of people are going to hate me no matter what I do, even if they don’t know me. the other 10% are going to love me, no matter what I do. And the last 80% have no idea whether they like me or not. That’s up to me to help them decide which 10% to join. This was an important principle for me to learn. Often, we are judged based on what others think of us. I made a decision that there are just some people I shouldn’t waste my time on trying to convince them to like me. And it’s good to know that when times are rough, some will stick by and still love me. I think that it keeps me optimistic to know that 80% of people are still undecided on me, and I can try to persuade them.
However, I don’t think that I should base my happiness entirely upon what others think of me. I believe that my happiness and satisfaction in life is directly related to being content with myself first. I think that Marianne Williamson has it right when she talks about letting our light shine and unconsciously allowing others to do the same. How can I expect to draw others in when I’m not content with myself? So, I am going to let my light shine. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll attract some of that 80%. But if not, that’ll be okay because I will be content with myself. And that alone will make me happy. This I believe.
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