It’s time to talk about one of those things that would seem to be self-evident, but isn’t.
We all want to live an amazing life. An incredible life. A BRILLIANT life.
But what does that brilliant life even look like?
The goal of Your Brilliance is to help women live their most brilliant life. That’s what I’m here to help you do.
But none of those things are easy.
And they can get even harder to achieve as you grow older.
When you’re in your twenties, a brilliant life seems completely within your grasp. You have so many ideas. So many ambitions. So many plans!
Then life hits.
You split from the man you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with. You take a professional risk that doesn’t work out. Health issues crop up. Your parents get older and need more help.
You’re left with this chaotic life that doesn’t look anything like you thought it would.
It’s not shiny. It’s not perfect. It’s kind of a mess.
And it can make you feel a bit ashamed. Like you’ve let yourself down.
You’re not like those other women with their shiny, beautiful lives.
You had hopes and dreams, too, but they got broken along the way. Some got smashed to smithereens.
Maybe if someone gave you a time traveling device, you could go back and do everything over again and make better choices…
But then who would you be?
You wouldn’t be the woman you are now. You wouldn’t have the compassion. Or the empathy. Or the understanding of life’s darker side.
When I look back on my life and look at the crossroads where I chose one thing over another, I feel like slapping myself on the forehead. How could I have done that??
I made what I thought was the best decision at the time, but it turned out SO wrong.
If only I could go back and choose the OTHER thing… Then life would be easy. Then life would have turned out the way it was supposed to.
But this idea that there’s another life out there, one you should have lived, is dangerous.
It makes your life feel like a series of wrong choices.
It makes you feel as if you’ve failed somehow. You didn’t predict the future, and now you’re paying for it.
That’s why I don’t talk about living your best life.
I talk about living your most BRILLIANT life.
And brilliance is a different thing entirely.
You know the story about diamonds, right?
How they’re formed from carbon deep in the earth’s mantle. How it takes temperatures over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and intense pressure of 725,000 pounds per square inch to pummel those molecules into the most brilliant and strongest gemstone of all.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross knows something about brilliance and strength. She says:
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
I love that:
“Beautiful people do not just happen.”
No. They don’t just happen.
They’re formed from intense pressure and unbearable heat.
We all begin with the same building blocks of life, the carbon base. But some of us get utterly crushed. Life slams us to the ground. The worst possible thing happens.
We are destroyed.
And in that destruction, we’re transformed.
Our molecular structure is rearranged.
We’re no longer who we were. We’re someone different. Someone we don’t even recognize.
Everything nonessential has dropped away. All the excess has been carved off.
All that’s left is a brilliant, beautiful, exceedingly tough soul that shines from within.
Life made us into a diamond.
It made us by destroying us.
I don’t think we always know we’re diamonds.
We look at the flash of rhinestones on teenagers and twenty-somethings and assume that’s what it means to sparkle.
But rhinestones are soft. Glitter falls off. It’s cheap and easy to shine, but that isn’t the same as being brilliant.
Your brilliance is that core deep inside you that doesn’t need light reflected from admiring eyes.
Your brilliance is the result of going through everything you’ve been through. It came at great cost. Most people wouldn’t pay the price.
Your brilliance is a part of you that not everyone can see. Unless you’re an expert, fake stones look a lot like the real thing. But your people can see you. They see the way you shine. They recognize you.
WE recognize you.
This weekend I was talking with another mom about running on the beach.
We both like to run on the beach, but it’s tough during high tide, because the only part of the beach that’s dry are the rocks.
Those rocks are black and sharp. They look like huge black teeth.
We were talking about how easily our children run over the rocks, like little mountain goats. They don’t slip. They don’t sprain ankles. They charge ahead, and they make it.
But as forty-something women, we’re terrified of slipping and falling. We could really hurt ourselves!
It’s a metaphor for life, I thought.
We want stable ground beneath our feet. We want to know where each foot is going to go. We want to be able to trust the path.
But there are rocks in the way.
And you’ve got to make your way over those rocks. Your destination is on the other side. You’ve slipped and fallen in the past. Are you brave enough? Are you strong enough? Is it worth it?
Of course it is.
Of course you’re brave.
Of course you’re strong.
Sometimes you may forget it.
That’s when you need someone to remember it for you.
Here at Your Brilliance, we see your brilliance.
We will remember it for you when you can’t see it.
We will help you find your way.
We will find people who know how to make it easier.
And we will keep believing, day after day, in you.