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Don’t ever let anyone Dim Your Glow

We all have it.
Some of us don’t think we do.
Some of us are afraid to let that glow out, afraid of how we will be perceived.


{Download 8×10 printable here, thanks to Lindsay for creating what was in my head}

What exactly is your glow, you ask?

I define it as being happy, different, letting your light shine, having a unique quality…enough that it affects others in a positive way.  It’s not always easy to share our own individual glow because we may be inhibited for some reason or another.

A few years ago when I was in my “headband” stage, a friend told me she wished she could wear cute headbands, but she didn’t think she could “get away” with it. She felt they looked dumb on her. I told her that if she wants to wear a headband, then she should wear a headband–who cares??

Is it that we think people will laugh to themselves at our boldness? Talk behind our backs at how silly we might look?  I’ll admit, I’ve thought it before:

Am I too old to wear a fancy headband?
Are my hot pink jeans too bright?
Do I show too many pictures of myself on my blog?
Is it silly that I do a WIWW post and share my fashion style?
Are my leopard print sunglasses too bold?
Who am I to take such risks?
I don’t want to stand out in the WRONG way.

But I like it, I am me, so I do it.

In a world where everyone wants to be like everyone else,
I teach my kids to find their own voice.To be different.Unique.
But different isn’t always accepted.

home decor

{printable available for download HERE, created by Kiki at my request}

I define glow like unto JOY in life. We share that joy in how we live. Glowing should be contagious.
Often, our insecurities inhibit our glow from shining.
We constrain ourselves…just because we worry too much about what other people may think.

Why can’t we see someone else’s glow and not feel bad about ourselves?
Why can’t we recognize our other talents and find ways to glow there?

I consider myself an extrovert. But there have been times in my life that
I’ve felt very insecure and unsure of myself.

Unsure of what exactly I have to offer others in conversation
in a room full of people.
Concerned why I’ve been treated with indifference
by others I’ve been nothing but kind to.

Most people look at their high school days and remember their awkward insecurities in finding themselves. Some were treated poorly, and just had to endure the cruelties. I was blessed in high school to have not experienced that. I had great friends, and to my knowledge didn’t experience meanness. Those experiences helped me feel secure in who I was.

My insecurities didn’t hit me until the year I got married.
Graduated college.
Moved across the country.
Had my first baby.

I felt the joy in my marriage and in motherhood,
it was figuring out how to be the new me
with my interaction with others that I struggled. I became more quiet.
Observed conversations.
Spoke only when I was spoken to.

Up until that point, I always had someone–a friend–to bounce ideas off of, hang out with, and just shoot the breeze. I only hoped to find a friend in my new area, someone who would take me under their wing . . . and tell me everything was going to be o.k. I didn’t realize how much I had relied on friends for my happiness.

That first Sunday, we went to church with so many friendly faces saying hello. But the recollection that is forever etched in my mind is the sweet girl that invited us over for dinner that very day. When we got to her home, she excused the mess because their kitchen was literally under construction. They had no counter tops, and she wasn’t even quite sure what she was going to feed us.

always be kinder than necesssary

{Pinned from Minted.}

She had a really good excuse not to have the new family over, but her glow will always shine with me.
She reached out to the new girl.
She knew that moving was hard.
She wanted to be that welcoming face.

In the two years that we lived there, I knew I could talk to her. She taught me how
to spray paint a chandelier.
She showed me it’s ok to let the toddlers watch cartoons for a bit
so I could get a break. She let me hang out on her couch while the kids played
because I couldn’t stand to be alone in my ghetto apartment anymore.

back in the day

{This is the only picture of have of my friend and I. I was too awkward to ask my friends to take pictures with me because I thought they’d think it was silly. I’m on the left in case you can’t tell. My oldest and her second are a week apart. I blurred the middle baby that isn’t ours}

I haven’t spoken to her in 10 years, but she will always be an angel in my life.
I think of her often.
I’ve tried to emulate her, by inviting over new families to dinner, to help them get acclimated to their new normal.
To be their own person. Bring out their own glow.

I teach my kids to reach out to others, to look for someone who might need a friend. I council the teenage girls at church to ignore the nay sayers at school and realize their Individual Worth. Life is hard, and sometimes all it takes is to know someone cares, to be that glow.

Though I don’t broadcast to anyone that I like to invite new families over, word has gotten out. I don’t regularly have my good friends over for dinner, but 1-2 times a month, we will have a new family or someone we don’t know well over. I can’t get to everyone new, and that’s something I feel bad about.

I’ve sadly realize that I also need to teach my children that some people are threatened by the glow.  It seem that those insecure with themselves, seek to bring others down with unkind words. Without going into too much detail about events that have unfolded to me in the past week, I’ve heard recently that I’ve been mocked by some for reaching out to new people, and that makes me sad. It’s made me really sad….lots of tears, sad.


{One of my very favorite quotes, now a printable for YOU!  Made per my request by Lindsay, available for download here. White background with just blue font here}

At first, hearing this made me look at how I do things and want to hide in a corner (and eat an entire batch of cookie dough). How can I keep reaching out when I know I’m being mocked for it?

Since mulling this over,
I’ve concluded that I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing.
Be me, and all that that entails.
I am happy with myself and how I live my life.
I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, but I work hard at having a pure heart.

Let’s all look inside ourselves, and find something we love to do and glow.
Don’t worry if someone else does something better than you,
we need to help each other out, learn from each other.
be positive.
be kind.

Don’t compare your weakness to someone else’s best.
And vice versa.

I have a good slew of wonderful, amazing, honest, and kind friends in my life. I am blessed with goodness all around me.
I can’t let this bring me down.

I’ll continue to work on my posture and pull
my shoulders back…hold my head up high
(but not too high, that’s snobby), and keep working on my GLOW
in hopes that my glow will rub off on others, and encourage them to glow, too.

As a photographer, I love how this quote is so fabulously related to life: Life is like a photograph, we develop from the negatives. I can learn something from this experience, and move forward stronger.

Life is like a photograph, we develop form the negatives

{Printable created per my request by the wonderful Lindsay. Available for download here.}

I write all of this for 3 reasons.

One, I think we can all try a little harder to be a little kinder. I’ve got room to grow myself.

Two, My life isn’t perfect. Just because I often share shiny happy things on my blog, doesn’t mean it’s always that way in my life. Just because people smile, doesn’t mean there isn’t something hiding behind the smile. Everyone has a story that will bring you to tears.

Three, We need to live our lives with joy and keep on glowing, no matter what others may think. No matter how intimidated you may be, Don’t you ever.ever. ever let anyone dim YOUR glow.


Linking up!

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

Thank you for stopping by my little spot on the web! If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to my future posts via RSS, Facebook, and if you are looking to improve your photography, see my beginner books HERE.
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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  1. What a lovely post. Keep shining!

  2. I love this. Thank you and very much needed!

  3. Keep glowing! Love you!

  4. I love your glow!
    I feel very much welcomed in your blog, I can’t even imagine how welcomed I would feel if invited to have dinner at your house!
    A glowing heart brings light to a dark room. Many try to live in the dark afraid of their imperfections, unable to see how perfect they were made. That is why we sometimes prefer to shut down other’s glow, because we are afraid of our own imperfections and their light fights our blindness. If exposed naked long enough in the light we are forced to see the beauty in ourselves as a survival mechanism and we do understand that other’s glow shines through our strengths. It takes time to be at peace with it…but glowing is always kind.
    I am a person that does not easily take criticism, I reach for perfection but I am frequently overcome by laziness…however I do believe there is glow in me and I hope it brings peace to others. I can not specify like you did which my glow is, but I am sure I can and do glow :)

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I love to hear from you, and it makes me happy to hear your thoughts—thank you for sharing with me and my readers!

  5. Awesome….your glow is what keeps me coming back here to read your fabulous blog :) Thanks for reminding me to continue being me……I am about to take a BIG step forward towards one of my dreams and I am the first to admit it is a little scary. Sometimes I forget what got me to this point in my life (my glow!) amidst the chaos but now that I sit back and think about it, I am going to be OK as long as I stay true to ME!! You rock!
    Kimberley recently posted..A Boy’s Bedroom Inspiration BoardMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Good for you for taking a step towards your dream—it it isn’t scary, it wouldn’t be as exciting!!

  6. Oh this was a lovely read!

    Just so you know:
    I don’t think you’re too old to wear a fancy headband. And I love seeing pictures of you wearing brightly colored jeans.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, Yolanda, I love the headband, but I’ve HEARD people say THEY feel too old to wear them!

  7. Love this post Kristen! Keep your glow radiant and keep doing what you do because we appreciate you!!!!

  8. I don’t often comment, but had to today! this was just what i needed to hear. thank you for glowing so bright!

  9. Amanda C. says:

    I’m SO sorry you had this experience. It’s a really good thing to post about though, because I’ve been in both situations (and I know most people have)…where I’ve had to apologize to someone for resenting them for being jealous of how “together they have it,” and realizing that it was my own insecurities and not their fault at all…and I’ve also had situations where jealousy has blinded the way someone has viewed me (and ultimately unfriended me) and that makes me so sad, because that person has these great talents that I wish I totally had!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you for sharing, Amanda, I do believe most people have experienced this in some way or another, and to talk about it really seems to help!

  10. Wonderfully written . You were a very lucky person to have had such a good experience as a teenager. My life has been the opposite… though I was always always involved in everything when I was younger, I am a much more outgoing person now., but I have a hard time reaching out to people, or taking hands when they are offered. Will definately work on that.

  11. I love this post Kristen. Makes me want to invite new families in our ward over more. ;) Love the printables too!! xoxo
    Mique recently posted..Easy Weeknight Dinner…Tater Tot CasseroleMy Profile

  12. Love this post, sweet friend.
    And I love your glow. :)
    kirstin @ kojo recently posted..blueberry rosemary sangria recipeMy Profile

  13. I love this post, Kristen! I think of you as such a sweet, fun, and kind person and now admire you even more. This is such a great reminder to be ourselves and not worry about what others may think (*ahem* especially for me with snap coming up). :)
    crystal recently posted..Daisy Flower Paper ClipsMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      woohoo, so excited about snap, and we will have fun! It can be daunting and stressful, don’t let anyone fool you otherwise!

  14. Well said, and very important to teach our kids. You are simply paying it forward by inviting new people over, just as someone had done for you – which has positively impacted your life forever. Do you ;)
    Mindy recently posted..Just Like Mommy – Mani Time!My Profile

  15. What a great reminder! Thanks for this post!
    McKenzie @ Girl Loves Glam recently posted..Pretty Spring Tulip and Moss WreathMy Profile

  16. I Love this post. I love your confidence and your ability to make people feel better about themselves without even knowing them. There are several blogs I’ve followed, besides close friends and family, that I’ve eventually stopped looking at because they made me feel inferior and incapable of becoming more. I could never be that cute, crafty perfect. Even though you share tons of awesome ideas, I honestly feel good when I come away from reading your blog. So keep writing!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      THank you so much Ashley, that truly means so much to me! It is SO hard to not get taken over by all the cuteness online and feel we don’t measure up…my house is TRASHED right now, I’m feeling it! Thank you for sharing your heart;)

  17. I big puffy heart love you!!! You are such a sweetheart and I love that I am getting to know you more!!!! I went through that same phase when I got married and we moved…I just recently in the past few years have been being more outgoing and doing things I didn’t do for years. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok to not be as good at things as others. Thank you so much for sharing what was on your heart!! I love your glow, and that you are going to keep being you when others make fun!!! You are a great inspiration to all of us!!
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Heath Latte MuffinsMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Jocelyn! I think we can all relate to rough patches, I want to now know what you do know that you didn’t do for years;)

  18. melissa says:

    I totally knew who you were talking about, although, there were a lot of exceptional women in that ward! One thing she taught me was to not sit around waiting for everything to be perfect before you do anything… And that it might take 5 coats of painto decide on the right color, and that I could do things without Dave’s help… Her influence has been the same token, many of those things I could say about you! I think you are incredible, I appreciate your vulnerabilities, and am so sorry you werehrt. Hooray for not letting it bring you down!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes, she had great home decor vision! That’s funny about the paint–so true! THanks, Melissa, I need to tell her I wrote this about her;)

  19. Beautiful!!! My husband is always trying to convince me of the same thing!!! Your friend sounds like a pretty amazing person. I think at says a lot about what a great person you are, too!! Thanks for such an uplifting message!!
    Shatzi @ Love and Laundry recently posted..What I’ve Learned from Blogging: Girl Loves GlamMy Profile

  20. So beautiful Kristen. I love the story of the sweet gal/friend of yours that had you over even through their chaos, she was that caring and kind. She proved there really are no excuses, I feel inspired having you shated that. This post was a great reminder and I feel a warm glow in my heart because of it. Love it all. xoxo jen

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Jennie, so happy to hear you’ve been inspired by what I shared. I’m sure not many people would do such a thing “under construction” but it meant SO much more to me because of it!

  21. Samantha says:

    Hi- I’m newer to your blog and found you through the talented Lindsay. What a great post. Your glow must be pretty remarkable to have it shine through a screen like it did for me in your post. Thank you for sharing. I will try to work on mine. Thank you again!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Hi Samantha! Thank you for commenting–new and all! I’m happy to hear that you felt the glow through the screen!

  22. Love you girl!! I’ve been thinking these same thoughts. You put to words beautifully what my mind has been wrapped around. Can’t wait to see you at SNAP!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Becky! I am so happy to hear my words resonated with you! Happy to hear you’ll be at SNAP!!

  23. Wow. I am so glad I saw this post today! It is so beautifully written and I find you to be quite inspirational! Jesus gives you your glow and you should never let anyone take it away. Keep using your gifts for His glory! You rock :)

  24. Great post w/ great printables. TY for sharing!
    Coley recently posted..We’re Still Here!My Profile

  25. Thanks for sharing. Very beautifully written.

  26. This might be my favorite blog post written…ever! I love it for many reasons, one being that we move a lot, we have young kids and my husband works long hours. When people include us in the beginning, they are truly angels and have a special spot in my heart. I wish more people were like you. xo
    Jen recently posted..Ultimate Blog Party 2013My Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m so glad you loved this post, Jen! You know probably best how hard it is to move…I’ve only done it a few times in my adult life!

  27. Great post.
    Thanks (once again) for your guts in sharing/writing about things like this!

  28. This was such a beautiful post. Thank you for your words!

  29. :) that made me smile. thank you, kristen! get your glow on!

  30. I love your glow, even though I only see it from my side of the computer screen! You are one of those people that I think *man, if we lived closer to each other I think we could be really good friends”. Keep on shining! And reminding me that it’s ok to shine too! :D
    Barb recently posted..WIP WednesdayMy Profile

  31. These are AMAZING, Kris!! Wow!! Pinning and will be sharing via FB. Love you, friend. Great reminders!
    Lolly Jane recently posted..Dinosaur jar lids for kids storageMy Profile

  32. Awesome post, my friend. Your glow totally comes through on your blog, I love it.
    Mariel @ Or so she says… recently posted..Plant Therapy Essential Oils & Giveaway! (she: Rebecca)My Profile

  33. I agree, it is your glow that keeps me reading your blog. Have a great weekend!

  34. Kristen, I loved all the thoughts you expressed here. SO glad we got to meet in person, but I’m sorry it was so quick with so many interruptions. And while I do wish I’d gotten up early to attend the exercise class with you, that extra sleep was heaven!

    Thanks for the copies of your books. I love all the information you’ve put together so simply and beautifully. And guess what! I’m actually taking my “big” camera places and getting some great shots of my family. Thank you!!!


  35. Well said! I, too, had a rough few YEARS after my marriage trying to figure out who I was, how to act, how to make new friends again, etc. It seems like the transition to marriage life was a little harder for me than I thought, and motherhood as well. :) I loved all your uplifting words. Thanks for the reminder to be kinder, be yourself, and let your glow shine. I hope to print off some of these printables soon to remind me! :) Very cute!
    Michelle recently posted..Prepping for General Conference {LDS Family Traditions}My Profile

  36. This made me cry. A good cry. It reminded me of a time when (I don’t know that it was our first Sunday at church, but we were new) we were invited over to play games with a couple in our new ward. They reached out to us and made us feel welcome. After reading this post, it really makes me want to show the glow that I have and not keep it where people can’t see it. Thank you so much for this post! There are so many parts of what you said that apply to me, and I appreciate it! :) PS I can’t wait to meet you at SNAP!
    Amy @ The Happy Scraps recently posted..DIY Missionary Tag GiftMy Profile

  37. What a beautiful post. I saw and felt your glow the first time I met you. Thanks for the wonderful reminders to be ourselves and don’t let anyone dim our glow. I can’t wait to see you again sweet friend!
    Leanne recently posted..Pantry OrganizationMy Profile

  38. Thank you, for keeping it real. I follow many blogs and I think sometimes dang am I the only one who doesn’t have a perfect life. I wear my heart on my sleeve and wish I didn’t b/c It gets crushed alot.. If every one thought more like you the world would be alot better..

  39. Thanks for this post, Kristen!
    Miss Charming recently posted..Project Failure (Yes, Mistakes Were Made.)My Profile

  40. Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s such a great post, and so many of us needed to hear it!

  41. Sarah C. says:

    Thank you! I just re-did my office and these will finish it off perfectly!

  42. Love these. Thanks for sharing.

  43. Love your sentiments and printable s.
    di @ musings recently posted..Spring Fresh WreathMy Profile

  44. Love all of these! I would love to have you come and share! Come join the link party @ Share it With Us Saturdays on Great Tastes Tuesdays! The party starts Friday @ 8:30 p.m. Mountain time and runs all weekend. Don’t miss out! I would love to have you!

  45. I love this. Beautiful. We have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this and any other posts with everyone. It runs from Tuesday night through midnight Sunday. Here is the link to the party.
    We hope to see you there.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
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  46. These are so pretty! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Wonders. Hope you’re enjoying your week so far.
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  47. You’ve been Featured!! Stop by and pick up a featured button :). xoxo~ Ruthie
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  1. [...] felt so much love and support from my GLOW post last week, thank you!! I also had many people who commented/emailed saying they were going to [...]

  2. […] It reminded me of a post I shared nearly a year ago. […]