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When You Shine, I Shine – Let Go of Your Ego (It’s Not Serving Anyone)

The world is full of competition – it drives our consumerism and feeds our ambitions. We might find ourselves competing aggressively with those around us – for jobs, for schools, for money, for attention. We compete for “success” (whatever we deem that to be), as if it is something that has finite resources; as if it will run out if someone else gets there first.
Even though we reasonably know that the concept of success is not a dwindling resource but in fact an endless, infinite commodity to be shared and celebrated, it can still be hard to not feel jealous, resentful, or even inferior when we see someone else excelling at the same thing we’re striving towards.
In yoga, we are advised by our teachers to let go of competitiveness, to love ourselves, accept our limits, and let go of our ego.
But some days, it can be harder to focus. Maybe you find yourself enviously watching the person on the mat next to you as they glide effortlessly between poses, a serene expression on their face: an image of grace and power that you feel you can only aspire to. And although you know that you should try and let go of your competitiveness, a little teeny tiny part of you still says, “Damn… I wish I could be a little more like them.”
Sound familiar? Here’s a better, more empowered alternative. Apply a little Shine Theory to your situation and channel those thoughts into some positive, uplifting energy.
Shine Theory is all about embracing and befriending those who you look up to, surrounding yourself with people you admire, and celebrating their successes, rather than resenting that it isn’t you in their place.

“I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” -Aminatou Sow

I first heard about ‘Shine Theory’ from Ann Freidman, New York Magazine writer, and one of the three fabulous ladies who are behind the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. “I don’t shine if you don’t shine,” says Ann’s best friend and podcast partner, Aminatou Sow. Freidman talks about Shine Theory from a purely feminist stance, encouraging women to support each other. What an amazing idea! So why not extend the Shine Theory to embrace all beings in exactly the same way?

“Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her.” -Lao Tzu

It can take real courage to approach someone you have been admiring from a distance and compliment them. But when you give out love and light, the universe sends love and light right back at you. Your comment could be the beginning of a great friendship or mentorship, or it may just make their day. All you need to know is that you have put yourself out there, non-competitively. The universe rewards such actions.

Your challenge, should you (and your ego) choose to accept it, is this: give that compliment, send that person love instead of envy, and feel more strongly rooted in precisely where you are in this moment. Notice how these positive thoughts and actions make you feel. Do you feel more empowered and free? Are you experiencing a greater sense of peace, contentment, and abundance?
It’s time for you to not just leave your ego at the door, but step away from it for good. Next time you’re gazing longingly at the person succeeding in what you seek to succeed in, go spread some positive vibes, and let them know. Because it’s only when you truly shine, that I shine too.

Image credit: Tumblr

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Roo Frith

For Roo, yoga is her white dog - the only thing that will keep her depression at bay. Through her practice she has found courage, peace, and an energy that she thought at one point she would never feel again. Now, as her strength returns, Roo is determined to be reunited with her love of life, silliness, adventure, and creativity once more. Read more about her journey with mental illness, as well as following her travels, on her personal blog Hot Tea & Toast.

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