Pop diva, Rhianna, gifted us the simple phrase, “Shine bright like a diamond.” that has resonated with so many. But why is this? What does it even mean?
Personally, I relate the song to an excruciatingly difficult time in my life. I had recently survived a hurtful divorce where I lost my entire sense of identity and didn’t know where to turn. I decided to return to my hometown in Canada, after many years abroad, and when I arrived I found that many people I thought I could rely upon were not, in fact, there for me.
The whole chapter was an alienating reintroduction to North American culture on top of a painful separation—one I had to face all by myself. It was terrible.
Even with the pain of this time, I was determined to get through my divorce and loneliness stronger than I had entered.
This is why the lyrics, “shine bright,” meant so much to me. I felt alone, unsupported, and lost, but on some level, I knew this year-long span could be seen like a caterpillar in a cocoon.
I sensed this growing butterfly within me—I knew I would emerge stronger and more beautiful if I could just push through this period of difficulty. Why? Because of the character and self-trust I had built through prior trials and tribulations.
Like a diamond, I was determined to shine again.
Life roughs us up. All of us. With no exceptions. No matter how we curate our Facebook pages or model our Instagram photos, no matter how successful we are at our jobs, in social situations, or at achieving physical beauty, we all struggle.
I didn’t want to just get by anymore, I wanted to sparkle. I knew to overcome this difficult chapter, there were people, places, and things I had to let go of in order to recover my sense of self and truly shine.
Here are the three main things I had to let go of in order to shine like the diamond I am:
Learning to say “no” is singlehandedly one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
What happens when we are invited to a dinner with people we don’t want to be around, but say “yes,” because we feel obligated? Most likely, we spend the night forcing fake conversation and exerting energy that would be better spent on something important to us.
Setting boundaries and saying, “no thank you,” to invitations we don’t want to cash in keeps our lives on track.
In the long run, certain people may stop inviting us places, but the positive side is being true to ourselves.
It’s exhausting running around and trying to please everyone. If we aren’t causing danger to anyone else, respecting our own needs, wishes, and priorities will set an important precedent—we matter and so does our time.
2. Giving to Takers
For a long time, there were people who had been in my life forever who thought they deserved my undivided attention. Most likely, we all know someone like this. We all have friends, co-workers, and even family members who just don’t know how to give back in a relationship.
Some of these people may expect that we listen endlessly and empathetically to all of their problems and life’s dramas, but when we need an ear to hear us, their eyes glaze over. When we turn the attention back on ourselves (as we should be able to do in a healthy relationship), suddenly, no one’s home.
Takers come in many forms: attention hogs, disingenuous attitudes, and the good old-fashioned, selfish types.
We have to pay attention to how we feel after being with these people. Perhaps we feel used and unheard—it’s important to validate these feelings and know that we deserve reciprocity.
3. Pretending I’m Alright
Guess what? Great people, ones who care about us, want to be there for us. Most of all, they want to know the real you. By the “real you,” I mean the side of you who may be hurting, feeling alone, or who may need help in some way.
Learning to be vulnerable and truthful with someone not only releases emotions that are meant to be shared but allows us to see another’s true colors. If someone is unable to support you in a loving way, perhaps they shouldn’t be so high on your speed-dial or priority list.
If a friend shows us they care enough to hear us out—if they show compassion—we not only learn that our needs matter, but that others are capable of being there for us no matter what.
Nothing has built up my sense of diamond-like resilience than having a tribe who has my back. Build your own “vibe tribe” and watch your sparkle shine like never before.
Author: Tess Bercan
Editor: Danielle Beutell