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.
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