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Tuesday / June 25

Be a Lamp, Not a Mirror: Five Ways to Keep Your Light Shining

Negative talk and news seems to be everywhere we turn. It’s so easy to just agree with the people around us who are complaining. After all, there is a lot of suffering going on in our world. I notice that when I piggyback on another person’s complaint it doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact it depletes my energy and I actually feel worse. Many years ago when I was frustrated by negative conversations and complaints at my school, a friend shared this phrase, Be a lamp, not a mirror. She explained, when we mirror back complaints and negative talk we just make our suffering worse. When we come from a place of light we are able to shift our energy and lighten the energy of those around us.
 
Here are five easy ways to shift your energy and keep your light shining.
 
  1. LISTEN to your inner voice. What do you need right now that could make you feel a bit better? A piece of chocolate? A nap? A walk? Some music? We actually do know what we need at any moment; we just don’t take the time to stop, ask, and listen to what we are saying. Take a two minute pause to ask, “What could I do for myself right now that would shift my mood?” Then do it.
  2. MOVE your body. It’s that simple. Put your hands up over your head and stretch. Stand up. Go outside. Do whatever it takes to acknowledge that you do have a body and it needs a break. What feels good to your body? Do that.
  3. SHARE a story. Teachers have so many stories to share. Think of a time when you learned something that changed the way you taught. Maybe your story relates to a challenge you faced, or is an experience that made you laugh. Who would benefit from hearing your story and listening to your wisdom? Share your story.
  4. ASK for help. Sometimes we just need to ask for guidance to get us through a project, a lesson, or the day. Find a mentor or teacher in your school who can support you. Experienced teachers often feel uncomfortable asking because we feel like we should already know the answers. Be brave. Speak up. Reach out.
  5. GIVE a compliment. Look around you and see who needs some light. What are they doing well? How can your positive message to another person transform that person’s day? Be sincere and specific. Then give yourself a compliment too. What would you like to be acknowledged for today? What are you doing well? Pat yourself on the back.

When we intentionally choose light we not only feel better, the people around us feel better too.

Written by

Carol Pelletier Radford EdD is the founder of Mentoring in Action Mentoring in Action, author of two Corwin books that help teachers keep their light shining; Teaching With Light: Ten Lessons for Finding Wisdom, Balance, and Inspiration and When I Started Teaching I Wish I Had Known…Weekly Wisdom For Beginning Teachers. Listen to Corwin’s Teacher to Teacher podcast to be inspired by more teacher wisdom.

Teacher to Teacher with Carol Pelletier Radford

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