I’m gonna be a little bit emotionally honest tonight.
One of the main reasons I posted my reading challenge list last night is ‘cos I was still too embarrassed to share my word for 2021.
[Quick catch-up for anyone who needs it: I’ve chosen focus words for a few years now, which is something a number of folks in the self-development world do. And, as I mentioned in the run-up to New Year’s Eve, my word organically came to me somewhere early-to-mid-December.]
Now, that unbidden emergence is the way all my successful word-of-the-year experiments happened,* so odds are that unbidden word is the right choice for me in 2021. And I have enough trust in my intuition that I haven’t been actively seeking a different option. But, alas, I also have enough self-judgement that I’ve not been willing to share this word with anyone.
And what is this super-embarrassing term that has me in such a tizzy?
(Kinda silly, right?)
So why is it that I’ve got myself so tightly wrapped around the axle here? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot the last couple of days, and here’s what I’ve come up with.
I worry that me voicing the desire to shine more in my life carries an implicit slap in the face to all the members of my blood and heart’s family who already show me so much appreciation.
I worry that it makes me look needy and selfish, that I’m addicted to applause and external validation.
I worry that it’s such a petty and shallow desire—there are still BIG important things going on the world, what with COVID and the Presidential transition and all, and here I am wanting more glory and publicity? How fucked up is that?!?
So that’s a nice little mini-tour of the kinds of self-judgements I can lay on myself.
And I’m not going to lie and pretend that I don’t like it when I receive appreciation or external validation. Cos I’m human, and I do like being appreciated or applauded.
But as I was articulating these different fears and self-criticisms over today, I also became more and more aware that why the word “shine” matters to me right now isn’t about recognition or external validation. It’s about that (admittedly hackneyed) phrase about not hiding your light under a bushel and instead being unabashedly, visibly, authentically myself.
To, as I quoted in this post title:
Shine on you crazy diamondPink Floyd
Because even though I stifle myself and judge myself so much less than I used to, I still am a jumble of self-criticism and self-censorship way more than I’d like to be.**
So by committing to the word “shine” for 2021, I’m encouraging myself to let all that shit go. Or, at least, to let as much of it go as I can, and then let go more later, again and again and again.
In actuality, shining this year asks me to unattach myself from the desire and need for external recognition or validation.***
To shine anyway. To be myself anyway. To be authentic anyway.
* I’ve written about my one “failed” year—2018—where the word-choosing was labored and inauthentic and the whole focus word thing went nowhere. (And, no, Virginia, I still can’t remember what that 2018 word was supposed to have been.)
** See, for example, how many knots I tied myself into about the word “shine.”
*** As much as I can. #StillOnlyHuman