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Good people are like candles; they burn themselves up to give others light. – Turkish Proverb

My initial reading of this quote was to nod along emphatically, because I feel like I’ve spent my whole life burning up myself to light the way for others. If you know my “origin story,” you’ll understand that I was brought into this world to serve my mother, and then my father, and taught to sacrifice myself for anyone who would so easily claim my time.

There’s nothing wrong with serving others, if the end cause is just and worthy. But for my circumstances, the cause was to ease their lives into one where they have a servant to wait on them hand and foot. It’s taught me to subvert myself for their own benefit, a thing which I have been working hard to unlearn in my years of estrangement.

When I re-read the quote now, I see it in a slightly different way. I see it is in order to give our light to others, we must light within ourselves. Find our true happy self, accept ourselves as we truly are. Be the dynamic change, light ourselves to our full potential, and be happy. In doing this, we create a light that not only inspires and leads others, but lights and guides us as well.