I was walking down my road in Southern Ontario, Canada, surrounded by trees splashed in all kinds of green, listening to music that lit me up, when I felt inspired to tilt my head back and take in the warm sun fully on my face. I was blissing out. Just as I was being in that moment a car drove by to the right of me. In my peripheral vision I could see the grey car with about 3 people driving in it.

I immediately retracted into an acceptable societal position. I wiped the smile off my face and scrunched my body down from the expansive posture I was enjoying just a millisecond earlier.

Shocked by my reaction, I pondered about this on the rest of my walk.

Wow! I just felt like I was caught doing something naughty!

I was happy.

I was confident for no reason, because I was feeling fueled by nature.

I was open and receptive.

I was smiling from within.

And then, oh no, God forbid, people saw me like that? No no no. Unacceptable.

A flood of thoughts came in like a fibre optic high-speed internet download.

“You look like a crazy fool.”

“You look stupid.”

“Don’t get too high, you’ll be taken down a peg.”

“Don’t be too happy, that makes you vulnerable to criticism.”

“What will they think if I’m smiling for no reason?”

Blend. Blend. Blend.

Shrink. Hide.

Blend contort.

Be grey.

Just then and there I realized we are a culture that suffers from SHINE SHAME.

What is Shine Shame?

I am making this term up right now, but it’s a thing.

You know when something amazing happens; you make a huge sale, you achieve a big goal, you sign up for something daring that you are jazzed about, you fall in love, you lost 15lbs, you wrote a book proposal, you won an academy award or a championship, you finally did that crow yoga pose for more than a minute, you are happy and you are proud of yourself.

How many of you out there do not know who to talk to when you have a SHINE share?

Most people have lots of friends, but not necessarily people they can truly share their depths and heights with. They have to shrink in order to share.

Brene Brown has amazingly brought attention to the most debilitating of human emotions: Shame. Shame is the deep belief we are not enough, we are flawed. Because we thrive from connection, shame is like an emotional cancer. The cure is vulnerability.

Shine Shame, is when you shrink your accomplishments, talents, beauty, energy, skills, or happiness in order to avoid the pain of not being received by another person.

The cure is sharing who you are no matter what and letting life re-arrange to match your new set point.

The judgments, criticisms, and perfectionism all stem from one thing: fear of what people will think.

That fear is all gunk from the collective consciousness⏤the big thought field we all pull information from that is not always our own thoughts, but rather the repeated beliefs of society.

Nobody wants to be average, mediocre, blend in, and ‘meh’ grey. Yet, we watch celebrities and the TV to feel some safe proximity to the light we are not living ourselves.

We hide our light and have shine shame because we are afraid we won’t be liked if we are raising above the crowd.

But, will we like ourselves?

Raising our light, being seen, claiming more for ourselves and expressing our highest potential IS our nature. Roses bloom, trees reach for the sky, mountains stand majestically-unapologetically, waves are moody and can crash or just lick the shore, all of Nature expresses herself full-on.

So, why are we shying away from our magnificent potential?

Measly fear?

I am personally more afraid of dying with my potential unrealized. So, next time I’m blissing out for no reason, getting a windfall of money, or winning an award I will make sure to look people right in the eye, not look down, and own my light.

Who’s with me?!

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