Shadows are very interesting. Darkness created by light. Any object can cause a shadow, or silhouette. And when the sun starts to set, the shadows are at their largest. What I find most interesting about shadows is the many different ways you can view them. On one hand they can be viewed as shade, a cool spot to hide from the sun. on the other hand, they can also be viewed as something dark and even scary. But what’s even more interesting than the physical phenomenon of shadows, is the metaphorical one, where even in a room full of light, you might be feeling overshadowed.
Ever get the feeling that you are always being overshadowed? It could be by a friend, a sibling or even a parent, but you just can’t seem to shake off the feeling that they are simply better than you. Maybe they are smarter. Maybe they are more talented. Maybe they are more successful. Whatever the case, they always seem to be the center of attention. With them, you’re always the bridesmaid never the bride. You’re always Robin, while they are always Batman. Whether this is undeniable reality or it’s all just in your head, it’s a tough feeling to shake off.
So how do you deal with such a situation? How do you step out of the shadow and into the light?
First off, you must realize and always remember that spotlights, shadows and the feelings that YOU are feeling are personal and subjective. While you may feel one way and see the world from a certain perspective, others may not see or feel this way. So, while it is fine, even recommended, to share your feelings with whom you feel comfortable with, it is important to understand that this issue can’t be solved by others. Only you can change your reality, your perspective and the way you feel about yourself and others.
Learn to love yourself. No two people are the same. So while you may feel that you’re just not as good, you probably simply haven’t explored yourself enough to realize all your talents. And if this is the case, then you are being overshadowed by yourself much more than by others. Self-exploration is an important step towards self-appreciation. Get in touch with your inner-self and find what you love, usually that’s also what you are good at. Before you can expect others to appreciate, or even notice you, you first must gain self-confidence and believe in your worth.
The grass isn’t always greener. Another important concept that you must come to accept is that living in someone’s shadow doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. For there to even be a shadow to cover you, there must be spotlight on someone nearby. And while looking from the side this may cause envy, it’s not all fun and games under a constant spotlight. With the bright lights beaming down and everyone constantly expecting perfection, it can get very hot under the spotlight. Maybe you’re better off in the shadow. Maybe it’s cooler in the shadows. Even if you are completely fed up with living in the shadows, realizing that the spotlight may not actually be better will help lower its allure and the envy that you may be feeling.
And if after trying some soul-searching and finding appreciation for who you are and what you have to offer, you still are feeling this way, take a step back. No hard feelings, fights or arguments, just take a step to the side and find some “you time”. If you are unhappy with the situation that you are in, change your situation.
Most importantly, remember that you are always in your own spotlight. You are at center stage in your life. You are your most important critic. You decide whether you are under a shadow or exposed to the light.