Have you ever thought how fragmented we are most of the time? Bits of our attention are given or called here and there, certain of our skills and talents required but seldom more than that. If I am asked to hang a picture, for example, it has no relevance that I can bake a fabulous chocolate cake or speak decent French, and (unless they have an urgent desire for cake with a little je ne sais quoi while I hang the frame) the person who asks me will have no interest in those talents at that moment in time.

How seldom is it that we are asked to give ourselves whole to any task or area of our lives? Even rarer, perhaps, are the occasions when we choose to do so, simply because we can, plunging head first into the moment at hand as if it is all there is in the whole of eternity?

I wonder if anyone is ever really known, except in a fragmentary way, through the facet of the self in action in a particular arena or relationship? Even our nearest and dearest have things they do not share with us, facets of themselves we may never see… and that is as it should be… we too have faces we may not show or share with everyone.

Even we seldom consciously know and accept our entire selves. We readily admit our flaws to ourselves, once we have become aware of them. Yet, while we may admit, nay boast, even, of the glories of our respective chocolate gateaux, few of us will admit to those personality traits which are seen as ‘good’.

We may admit to the socially acceptable ones… the type we put on job application forms… flexible, adaptable, good with people… but the really good ones, we seldom admit to seeing in ourselves. Possibly in part because those who voice that recognition of their own better qualities rarely seem to actually have them. ‘I see myself as compassionate/empathetic/generous’ … the vast majority of the time, these things are said by those who aren’t and we have all known those who voice them and yet wouldn’t know true humility or compassion if it hit them in the face with the proverbial wet fish.

But voicing it is different from feeling it. To speak of compassion and to feel it working through the layers of your being, reaching out, that is a different thing. Compassion is not pity… pity looks with a sad smile from on high… compassion reaches out in empathy from the level ground of a shared humanity.

Perhaps we need to take that scintilla of time to simply recognise the good within us as we feel it, in exactly the same way as we recognise the darker facets of ourselves in action… the ones that make us cringe and squirm occasionally. We all have those. Because unless we are prepared to admit who we are to ourselves… the good equally with the less good, accepting our wholeness in all its balanced beauty, how can anyone else ever see that in us too?

Don’t we all wish to be loved and accepted for who we are in our entirety? Yet we hide the good, even from ourselves, behind a socially acceptable modesty while brandishing our flaws and frailties as if they alone define who we are. They do not. We define who we are. As much by how we choose to see ourselves as by anything else. If we see ourselves whole, perhaps others may too. They cannot until we do, as we project outward only a fragment of who we are. The saying ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ comes to mind. Maybe if we love our whole selves we can love others wholly too.

We are told that the very physical fabric of everything we know, including our own bodies, is made of the matter from which the stars were formed. Our physical forms exist because somewhere, aeons ago, a star died. If that is so, why should we not simply shine?

26 thoughts on “Shine…

  1. When I was working, I had to do that every time I applied for a job and I hated it. I’m NOT a people person. I like some people. I don’t like “everyone.” I believe in deadlines, I expect people to work hard when there’s work that needs doing and relax when there isn’t. It’s probably why I was never a boss. I scared my potential workers by telling them I expected work to be done on time. Apparently, that was not friendly enough. Not PEOPLE friendly.

    One of the really GREAT things about getting old is you don’t have to do that anymore. You get to FINALLY be you. Just you. You don’t have a resume, you don’t have to be someone you aren’t. You don’t have to fake it. You don’t have to learn a whole new system every time the planet revolved twice around the sun.

    You have NO idea how glad I am to not have to do that anymore! SOOOO glad.

    Why can’t we shine? I will answer that.

    Because we have to earn a living and they don’t want people who shine. They want people who fit in. If you shine, you don’t get the job. It’s as simple as that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always disliked the whole resume thing. But I have been a boss… required both hard work and fun from those nominally under me… but recognised that without that ‘under’ business, I wouldn’t even have a job, so always made sure I could understand their job. Including deliering and installing portaloos… so, from the bottom up, so to speak. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Most of the places I worked for didn’t seem to much care about the quality of the work or the ability of the workers. I never tried to “boss” anyone but other writers — I didn’t think I was suitable for anything else. So I understood and I also understood that the “workers” were intentionally intended to work overtime they didn’t need so that everyone could justify their OWN jobs. There’s no shining in that, not even a bit of glitter. I was very good at what I did … but big corporate entities weren’t my kind of place. Sometimes, small companies were and there, I did get to shine. Sadly, most places were just places to work. Maybe the guys in the boardroom got to shine, but the rest of us just plodded along. Surviving.


        1. I was lucky that the places that put me in that kind of position were firms where I could build and work with a team that pulled together and looked out for each other. It makes a huge difference and you can encourage each member of the team to shine in their own way.


                  1. I’m not surprised. You don’t strike me as particularly corporate. Big companies don’t like people who have opinions and believe there’s a right way to do the work — as well as a wrong way. They want people who will just do as they are told, regardless of any other implications.


  2. Most of us have been indoctrinated as children, that to ‘shine’ is not desirable, almost akin to bragging . I have been keeping my light under a barrel for so long, anything else feels uncomfortable. Apart from that, I am enjoying new freedom in my old age and it feels wonderful!


    1. I know what you mean, Jaye… it doesn’t sit well after what we are taught in childhood, but there is a big difference between bragging and accepting that we are who we are, including our talents and gifts as well as our flaws and grey areas 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely post, Sue. John O’Donohue writes about the hidden world inside each of us and how no one can truly know the whole of us. He suggests that the longing to be known is at the core of human love. I think we come closest to being known when we fully acknowledge and accept our human selves, including all the beauty (and mess) that entails. Shine on, indeed.


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