Why Shine Theory is Actually an Inside Job
Connecting with other women can bring joy and passion to our lives. There is nothing more powerful than happy, confident and successful goddesses who all love and support one another. Connecting with another woman can really set your soul on fire. It makes you feel empowered, energized even. When I see another woman shining bright, I not only want to find out how I can help turn up her shine, but I’m immediately inspired to stoke my own fire. I wanna see her glow like the northern lights and I wanna glow just as bright. It wasn’t always like that. I’ve spent plenty of time being intimidated by and jealous of other women. I’ve burned up with jealousy, in fact. So much so that I had nothing but negative assumptions to make about these women, complete strangers and friends alike. I didn’t like them. I didn’t trust them. I was convinced they were doing something shady in order to get to where they were. I was convinced they were compromising themselves in some way and I, the golden girl of unmatched moral standing was better than every single last one of them.
The truth was, I didn’t hold myself in very high regard. I had low self-esteem, no sense of self-worth and absolutely no trust in my ability to do something great. I didn’t know how to set boundaries and I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted. I lived in constant fear of everyone and everything. That fear showed up as anger towards anyone I saw as better than me; which was everyone, especially women. I saw myself as less than and could not drum up a self positive thought to save my life. Ladies, tell me, when you can’t root for your damn self, how in the hell are you gonna root for someone else? Especially another beautiful, smart and successful woman? Notice I said, “another beautiful, smart and successful woman”. Because you are just that; beautiful, smart, successful. Just because another female is smart, pretty, accomplished and funny does not mean you are not all those things too.
I love the concept of Shine Theory. It’s an ideal relationship for women across the world. It promotes solidarity and encouragement. Yes, please let’s lift one another up instead of tearing one another down. Yes, let’s band together and take over the world. Yes, when we see other women who have what we want, let’s befriend them, learn from them, be happy for them. It’s what we should aspire to on a daily basis. But unless you gain security in yourself, this practice is going to slip through your fingers time and again. You see, it’s one thing to say you root for all women. It's quite another thing to get into a healthy mental and emotional state where you can actually do so and mean it.
Beautiful, Successful & Intimidating Competition
Successful women can be intimidating, to men and women alike. They have the reputation of being bitchy, hard asses, uncompromising, competitive and untrustworthy - if you buy into what society would have you believe about them. Of course, there are women out there who are all of those things. Some may argue they’ve had to be. I would argue there’s actually very little difference between the way some women present themselves and the way some men present themselves. The reality is that men are not held to the same “be soft and accommodating” standards women are.
When it comes to competing with other women, the competition and comparisons are so much more direct. We’ve long been conditioned to believe there is only so much room for strong and powerful women at the table. We’ve been taught that we must act fact and be as ruthless as necessary in order to secure our seat. These are the rules society has given us and we’ve complied without question. Women are starting to wake up, myself included. We are starting to see that not only is there room for all of us right now, but there always has been. We are starting to see that it’s not the table that needs to be updated, but the minds of the people currently huddled around that table.
Changing the Story
Judgments of others is typically a direct indication of how we actually feel about ourselves. It brings to mind that old saying “be careful pointing fingers because there’s always three pointing right back at you.” When I judge others, it usually means I feel that I am lacking in some area or I recognize something in them that I too possess but do not like about myself. We have to change this story. By not digging deeper into what these thoughts and feelings mean for us, it will be almost impossible to embody shine theory.
What would happen if we figured out how to stop judging ourselves and others? If we got into a room and got honest with one another about what it really means to love and empower ourselves? What if we could, instead of being our own harshest critic, we figured out how to be our own biggest ally? We live in a society that constantly pits women against one another. And we go along with it. We willingly accepting this as part of life. We build entire brands around it. By accepting this as status quo, we are doing ourselves and women around the globe a disservice.
Who We Might Be Leaving Behind
Are you secure enough in yourself to not feel threatened by another woman’s success? If you are, that’s amazing and I hope you’re giving away some of that energy to as many women as you can. What a great opportunity to share with another woman what worked for you and just how you got to such a secure place. For those of us who’ve gained that mental and emotional security, what can we do to lift up not only the women in front of us, but the women to either side and behind us as well? It can be hard to celebrate another woman’s success, especially when it seems like when they win, you lose. It can drum up a lot of questions like “why not me?” or “what does she have that I don’t have?”. You instantly tell yourself you’ve done something wrong or aren’t as good as she is. You instantly start making comparisons.
More Alike Than Different
We women may be living different lives, but our stories are more similar than we are sometimes willing to see. Our songs may be different, but the cadence is always the same. When another woman opens her mouth and our story comes spilling out, it rocks us to our core. For some of us, this is the very first time we’ve felt visible. Women from all walks of life experience fear, disappointment, joy and happiness. None of us are so unique that there is not a single woman on this planet who cannot relate to our story on a soul deep level. If we have not, it is because we have not shared ourselves enough and with the right people. To believe otherwise is to isolate ourselves from the very thing we need most, each other.
I am a firm believer in looking for similarities. What this way of thinking gives us is willingness to connect with those with whom you may not have otherwise. It gives us an opportunity to grow, learn, teach and be taught. If we are not willing to see similarities, we are stuck in a frame of mind sometimes referred to as terminal uniqueness. This is isolation at its best. It’s why vulnerability, honesty and openness are so powerful.
Society and economics play a huge role in how women see one another. Dips in the job market, tinder/bumble, who wore it best, all of these things seem to put us at odds. They all encourage side by side comparisons and if we’re not careful, we are looking down our noses at one another before we know it. This makes it that much more important to seek out similarities. It magnifies the importance of seeking to remember that we are all human, worthy of a place in the world.
Light Up Your Spirit
Shine theory is a concept that begins with compassion. Compassion towards self is the first step in the process. There must also be acceptance of self and willingness to explore the how and why of those barriers that keep us from connecting with one another. Every woman must come to her own understanding of self-worth. She must ask herself how she can accept herself as she is, love herself as she is, give herself compassion, forgiveness and empowerment. It all starts with us. We have to work from the inside out. In order to lift up others, we must build the strength necessary to carry them when they need it. But we must learn to carry ourselves first.
I’m not suggesting you do this one your own. I’m not suggesting you need to be a supremely confident woman before you start shining on other women. There are many ways to shine on another woman. I like to call those micro bursts which we will talk about in an upcoming workshop so stay tuned in to my website or Facebook page for announcements. You can also follow me on IG to for up to date news.
Every woman needs a strong tribe. A band of women who stand in front of, behind and to either side of her cheering her on and keeping her grounded when needed. Seek out women who have what you want so that you may learn from them. Women need one another. We need them from all walks of life, all social, economic and religious backgrounds. If there’s any advice I could give to anyone asking it would be this: remain teachable and curious about yourself and the world around you. Explore integrity. Stay honest, dig deep and be brave. Do the work. Be relentless about your personal growth and don’t apologize for taking up space in the world. Stick close to those who make you feel that spark deep in your belly. Do everything you can to turn that flicker into a flame. And when you’re feeling strong enough, pass it on.