To Shine Is Better Than To Reflect

Michelle Sandlin (Age 3)

My mother sent me a text message the other day.  It read:  “Fortune cookie sez…To shine is better than to reflect.  You can use that one on your blog.”  Thanks Mom, I think I will.  How could I not?

To shine is better than to reflect.  What does that mean exactly?  It obviously has a few meanings, and can mean different things to different people.  Here is what it means to me.  It means that it’s better to to have my own image than to try and emulate the image of someone else.  This plays nicely into the theme that I have always marched to the beat of my own drummer (literally and figuratively).  I am not very good at being told what to do; I am better at creating my own way of doing everything.  And chances are, I probably won’t try to do it your way, no matter how many times you ask me!

Check out the photo at the top of this post.  It was taken when I was 3-years-old.  I think it speaks volumes about me and the fact that I wasn’t going to be told what to do then anymore than I am going to be told what to do now.  It also says that I love wearing hats, which is still true!  This also happens to be one of my mom’s favorite photos, so I thought it was apropos for this blog post.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time trying to be like other people.  I think we all did.  It was such a struggle to figure out who I was and what I believed in and what I really wanted out of life.  I am not saying that I know the answers to all of those things now, but I have at least discovered that I don’t want to be like everyone else, OR anyone else for that matter.  I have grown very comfortable and confident in who I am.  It is that confidence that helps drive most of the decisions in my life.

Many people mistake having a high degree of self confidence for being arrogant.  OK, I admit that sometimes I may come across as a bit arrogant, but in reality, I am just someone who is really strong in their convictions.  That’s all.

My world is black and white, so I often have trouble seeing grey.  This is not always a good thing, but it is nonetheless the way I am.  If you want to show me something that is grey, you better really believe in it and be really convincing if you want me to believe in it too.  I like absolutes.  I NEED absolutes.

For me the trifecta is commitment, trust and reliability.  The people in my life know that I am committed to them, that they can trust me 100 percent of the time, and that they can always count on me no matter what.  These 3 key elements make up the most fundamental  absolutes about me.  Equally so, I expect the same from the people in my life.  Not having commitment, trust and reliability are a deal breaker. Period! Done!

So back to my mom’s fortune cookie.  You know how when you are with other people at a Chinese restaurant and you read the fortune from your cookie and you realize that it has nothing to do with you?  So you say to someone else at the table, “I got yours,” and you give it to them?  Well, I wasn’t even at the table with my mom when she got this fortune, but I think it’s really cool that when she read it she immediately thought she got mine and texted the fortune to me.

It’s true what they say: “Nobody knows you better than your mom.”  She has also always said that she is my biggest fan, and I finally believe that one too!

As always, I welcome your comments and hope that you will follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and of course on my Punctuating Life Blog!


  1. I know that expression. It usually means trouble for me, but it’s so cute! Everything Michelle wrote in this post is true. In our house, you’d better bring your “A” game to any discussion or you’ll be toasted.

    Love you, Baby!

  2. I can relate. In my world I need Absolutes as well.
    “to shine is better than to reflect” ~ A quote that has been running through my mind since I read this blog yesterday. It is especially hard to be unique and do things differently when we are young. They put us into our ‘boxes’ that only a few will make through with a shred of that originality and ‘Shine’ that they brought into this world.
    I get the feeling you ‘wear who you are Proudly.’. It is a rare commodity these days.
    I am all about doing things logically. Regardless If it was the way I was supposed to do it. Sometimes there just is no room for Grey.

    1. Thanks for your comments Bon! I also think that it’s about moving forward rather than always looking backwards. This is sometimes difficult for me, as I am very analytical by nature and want to review where I have been before moving forward. That is not always possible or advisable. If we spend too much time looking back, we can get stuck where we are instead of where we need to be.

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