Brilliance…we all have it, and it deserves to be shared as it does nothing just caged up inside of us.

I didn’t always believe that. Back in the day, even reading Marianne Williamson’s famous quote over and over didn’t help me think I had something worth offering. Pair that with being an ambivert, and I spent a lot of time with my mouth absolutely closed. Sharing wasn’t on the table unless I knew myself to be super safe and comfortable with someone.  But in the journey of discovering my own truth, I ran headlong into an experience that changed my mind about that.

I was at a somewhat woo-woo women’s conference where there were learning sessions about all sorts of cool topics and a big ballroom full of exhibitors. It was there that I decided to have my aura photographed.

The photographer took my picture, looked at it, and asked me to come back in a few minutes to have it taken again. I didn’t know why, but walked around for a bit and went back. He took my picture again, looked at it, and asked me to do it one more time. After a third round, he passed my pictures to one of his partners who sat me down to explain what the photos showed. As it turned out there were three white globes over my head and one more at my throat. And they showed up in slightly different locations in all the pictures; the retaking of the pictures, as it turned out, was to see whether the globes stayed or disappeared.

The woman pointed them out to me, and went on to tell me what all of this meant. I won’t bore you with all of it, but what’s germane to the story is that when talking about the globe of white at my throat, she said,

You are here to communicate. When you think something, you must share it, without censoring yourself, whether it makes specific sense to you in the moment or not. And you need to do that because there will be someone listening who needs to hear what you share. Not sharing deprives that person of a gift—which might be a gift of clarity, or a gift of hope, or a gift of love, or a gift of many other types. The point is, share everything you have.

Her telling me that (sharing her brilliance!) that was the turning point in how I saw myself in the world, as well as the day that I began realizing that we are all brilliant.

Share what you have. Don't censor it, ever.

Today, I believe that every one of us has brilliance to share. Further, I believe that no person’s brilliance is duplicated by anyone else on the planet—not even by a twin. And that’s because brilliance is made up of a wonderfully mysterious mixture of all sorts of things, including abilities, level of skill within different abilities, life experiences, number of years around the sun,  how much we’ve traveled, how much we’ve experienced things that aren’t “native” to where we live, foods we’ve tried, our emotions and how they color our experiences, and so very much more. In fact, every single thing about you that makes you different from me, also makes your brilliance different from mine.

And all brilliance is inherently groovy, whether from a five year old girl, or an elderly man. Regardless of age, we all have brilliance to share. What throws us off course is believing that only certain people have brilliance worth paying attention to. But any teacher knows how much students teach each other and them. Any mother knows that same thing to be true of her kids, too. We who love animals know that even they–while not human–have brilliance to share and for us to learn from. As do plants, and so on.

But the paradox about brilliance in humans, specifically, is that we spend so much time in focused learning that we can grow arrogant and think that people who haven’t achieved the same “level” as we in life, whether in income, title, degree, or many other factors we’ve pulled together in our own heads, have little to nothing valuable to share.  And some of us who then stand toe-to-toe with them and buy into that arrogance, feel like we actually don’t have anything valuable to share.

That’s where, in my view, our own brilliance starts to dull–whether we dim it for others, or dim our own in the light of others. I think we would all be served by both a greater willingness to share our brilliance with others, as well as being willing to listen and consider the brilliance of others. We have nothing to gain by being silent about what makes us, inherently, us.