In one of the earlier Girls on the Run lessons, we teach girls that they are like stars in the sky. Each one may look the same but, in actuality, each star is unlike the others around it. We tell them to focus on one star and make it theirs. Then, we tell them to visualize that star shining bright inside them. We guide them to associate that beautiful, bright and powerful light with their own uniqueness. We discuss with the girls that no one can take away their brightness or the individual things they bring to the world when they activate their Star Power.
The girls learn that with this star comes power. They also learn how to access their Star Power when they feel gloomy, like their star is being covered by a cloud.
We feel like this as adults, too, right? I know, for myself, the winter months can be hard. Cold, dark days certainly do not help my star to shine bright especially when circumstances, or even people, are already dimming my light.
It can also be hard to activate your power when you feel completely powerless; like that cloud will never go away. Yet, we teach the girls that there are actionable things they can do to reactivate their power and help their star to shine again.
Here are three effective ways we can help our brightness break through the dark during trying times:
1. Spend time with those who believe in and encourage you.
Sure, we can do many things for ourselves but think about a time when someone stood by you and encouraged you. Maybe you didn’t even realize you needed their support, but you realized their care for you helped you to believe in your own power and potential. I’ve found that positive human connection is a powerful antidote for so many of life’s ups and downs. Find your people and invest in spending time with them.
If you feel like you don’t have someone like that, I encourage you to be brave and join a social activity where you can find supportive people! Maybe you can find a local book club, social sports league or, if you’re a GOTR coach, ask one of your fellow coaches to grab coffee. You can check out the community boards at local stores to find faith communities, and events you can be a part of! This will open up opportunities for you to form meaningful connection with others!
2. Use positive self-talk!
One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling down is to write affirmations on my full-length mirror with a dry-erase marker. If I’m not feeling strong, I simply write the word, “STRONG” on my mirror over the reflection of my face. Then, when I look at myself in the mirror each day, that word reminds me of my strength even if it’s not my current frame of mind.
Feelings are fleeting and ever-changing. If we always trust how we feel, we’ll never be sure of who we are. When I shared this tip with my GOTR girls, some of them started doing it too. They wrote things like, “BEAUTIFUL”, “SMART”, “STRONG”, “A GOOD FRIEND” and “RESPONSIBLE.” I loved that they were fighting back against the negative voices in their head with positive affirmations.
Another way to combat negative self-talk is through journaling. Try writing down truths on the left side of the page and expressions of gratitude on the right. I list affirmations to remember what is true about myself and then I list what I am grateful for that day. Doing this can inspire a refreshed, empowered sense of self.
In this world of “I’ll never have enough,” practicing gratitude can turn that dangerous thinking around and shows us we can be fulfilled with what we already have. It reminds us that we don’t need excess to feel valuable or important.
3. Do the things that always remind you that you’re uniquely talented.
I once read empowerment defined as, “stepping into your brilliance and purpose.”
So, what can you do to remind yourself to step into your unique brilliance and purpose? Will you take a dance class? Draw or paint? Go for a run? Sing? Write? Try that workout class you’ve been curious about? Own your talents!
Think about the things that make you feel like your true self and makes you overflow with joy. What makes you feel like you’re making a positive contribution to the world? What is the one thing you can do that makes you come alive? Go do that thing.
When we feel empowered in one area of life, we can use that feeling to cultivate empowerment in other areas. Go ahead, get out there and shine your brightest. You were made for it!