“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.”
– Edith Wharton
Each of us possesses the ability to bring light into the world, and in doing so, we have the option to either be the source of that light or the medium through which it shines.
To be the candle is to embody the light. To radiate positivity, warmth, and hope to all those around us. Being the candle means being a source of inspiration. Throughout my life, I have encountered individuals who exemplify this. They possess an inner light that seems to brighten every room they enter. Their genuine smiles, encouraging words, and selfless actions have the power to uplift even the heaviest of hearts. Being the candle requires an inner strength – a flame of goodness that burns relentlessly… especially in the darkness.
As a child, I was often drawn to the idea of being a candle, emitting my own light and making my mark on the world. The desire to stand out and be noticed was strong, fueled by societal notions of success and individuality. I believed that being the candle was the key to making a difference, and my pursuits were centered around seeking recognition and validation.
I know I have been the candle at times in my life. I yearn to continue to be the candle only more often. Emanating a spirit of generosity and compassion that can ignite a spark of change in the world. Whether it’s offering a listening ear to a friend or supporting a stranger through a small act of kindness, I want to actively spread light wherever I go.
Yet, there are moments when that may not be enough or is just not possible. It is then I think of a candle beside a mirror… simply reflecting the light emanating. Being a mirror is crucial too. By reflecting the light of others, we create a collaborative dance of brilliance. It involves recognizing the brilliance in those around me and becoming a conduit for their positive energy to reach even further. It means acknowledging and celebrating the achievements, talents, and virtues of others which for some may be a challenge.
In can also call to mind those who were candles during the darkness in my life, guiding me through turbulent times, and inspiring me to become a better version of myself. I embrace the idea of being a mirror of light in my interactions with friends, family, and even strangers.
Embracing the two paths of spreading light, I realize that these are not mutually exclusive. By being a candle, I gather inner strength and wisdom, so I better reflect the light of others. Likewise, by reflecting the light of others, I am inspired to shine even brighter myself.
In a world that can often feel overwhelmed by darkness, I believe we are called to be both candles and mirrors. The choice to spread light is a choice to make a positive impact, to create ripples of good. It is an invitation to be part of something greater than us – a global network of light-bearers and light-reflectors working harmoniously to bring hope, love, and joy to all.
As I journey through life, I hold on to Edith Wharton’s words. I am committed to being a candle, radiating love and compassion, and a mirror reflecting the brilliance of others.
May we all keep shining bright in this world. Edge out the darkness; share your brilliance.