This past week I was very lucky to have a few days alone. I used that time to get a few things done around the house, interview (yay!), catch up on sleep and reconnect with a few friends. I happen to have worked with all four of these amazing people in the past, but they aren’t just work friends, they are truly invaluable connections. Those people who within a few minutes of meeting them, you get them. You get their personality. And they get you. You don’t have to over-explain or apologize. You don’t have to sensor yourself or tailor your language. There is no judgement. There are no superficial conversations. There is an actual connection. Having these people in your life is crucial. And this is why…
Each person you meet sheds light (please excuse this cliché, it is necessary, you will see) on something new. Everyone brings a new perspective and new life experience. No two people have the same story. So when someone says something that makes that lightbulb (pun intended) go off in your head and you think: “Huh, I have never thought of it like it”, they are figuratively shedding light on a new topic. This made me start to think about why this is so important. And then a visual came to mind. Bear with me, this works in mind, I’m hoping it will make sense to you as well.
Picture your brain, as a giant old, dark, empty mansion. You are alone. And you just have one little light. That is all that you get. You can travel throughout the mansion, but you can only shed light on so many things in the giant mansion on your own with your one little light. So you start inviting people in. And each person brings their own light. Some are giant lamps. Some are Christmas lights. Night lights. Chandeliers. Flashlights. Spotlights. Floodlights. Each has their own personality and their own brightness. Each lights up a room/corner/closet in the house and creates a slightly different reflection. Some come once and burn hard and bright but then go out and never replace that lightbulb, but then a new person places their light in that room instead and that room looks completely different. Some let the bulb go out, but then eventually come back and replace it and you’re reminded of something that you had forgotten about in a dark corner. Some might cast a creepy shadow or project a distorted image and you can ask them to leave. Like now. Get them out. But eventually, you find the right mix of lights to brighten your entire house. It is never too full or too bright. There is always room for one more.
Sometimes when things are really dark for a long time, our eyes adjust to the light. We get the urge to stay and hide in that darkness because it is comforting. And because we don’t want to know what it is hiding in the darkness. But the truth is that even though the darkness is scary and unknown and unpredictable, as humans, we need that light. So open up…and let them in.