I am short, 5.1½” or so these days. I often felt I was the ‘runt of the family’ growing up with my taller and more attractive siblings. A middle child, I often took the brunt of my father’s quick temper, though mixed with his occasional respect and care. I grew up, altogether, as a rather introverted, self-conscious individual, harboring self-doubt even while I came to excel at most of what I set my heart to study or to accomplish.
In grad school, my PhD advisor, Betsy, once told me, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel.” She was referring to my writing style at the time: overly complicated and self-occluding. I saw in graduate school how female scholars and academics are too often undervalued or treated dismissively, especially by male academic journal editors, some administrators, and (only some) students. Male grad students were more encouraged to publish, women to teach.
I have been fortunate that, despite such systemic—and generally unconscious—discrimination, I have been successful in most of my endeavors, and I have gradually learned that it is okay to be me; that I can make a contribution even if I still feel somewhat shy about stepping up.
So, let your Light shine! No one else, ever, will have your particular outlook, your bright ideas, your spirit and character. Throw off that bushel, get rid of it! Be YOU, and step up to the joy and responsibility of making YOUR mark in the world.
Better Endings Story Seed:
Let Your Light Shine!
Have you sometimes felt like you had to hide your light under a bushel? Write in your Better Endings Journal (or any loose-leaf notebook) about your experiences when you felt muted versus when you have been allowed to shine. How can you step up in your life today to share your viewpoint and make your unique contribution to others?