That's a loaded word, isn't it? So many of us feel shame on a regular basis. Shame is our constant companion. It follows us through our day to day life and we sometimes don't even realize it. Shame can come from a lot of places but if not dealt with it can absolutely hold us back from living the life we were created to live.
When you're dealing with shame you always feel like you're less than worthy. It has a way of creeping in and ruining what should be joyous occasions.
Maybe you don't feel like you're a good friend, spouse, sibling, maybe you haven't been to church in a while and not feeling worthy, maybe you're addicted to something, maybe you're fat. Whatever the reason, you're never enough.
Where does this shame come from anyway? Something someone has said to you? Something you've constantly said to yourself?
Somewhere along the way you started to believe you weren't good enough, that you're flawed in some way, or a lot of ways, that you're not worthy. And as crazy as it seems, I think after a while we start to use shame as a crutch. We hide behind our shame. We use it to explain other peoples' behavior toward us.
"No, they can't like me and it's okay because I'm fat, or ugly, or I'm a horrible friend, etc"
We also might use our shame to protect ourselves from the outside world.
I think shame can send us on a never ending cycle of self loathing. We don't value ourselves so we don't expect anyone to see our worth either. It's like we are projecting the hate we have for ourselves onto someone else. Before giving anyone the chance to form their own opinion, we're right in there making it clear that "it's okay that you don't want to be around me, be seen with me, it's okay that you bully me because I accept that I'm a piece of crap. It's okay for you to ignore me. It's okay because I'm too ugly, shy, fat, careless, or lazy"
We need to STOP it.
I'm a big believer in the law of attraction and if we keep letting these negative thoughts lead us, how far can we possibly get? What kind of people are we going to attract into our lives when we feed ourselves these lies about not being good enough.
Maybe we ARE fat.
Maybe we aren't the best parent.
Maybe we aren't the best looking.
So? Why does everything have to be a contest?
Confidence is the key to overcoming shame. Not caring what other people think and getting past caring so much, putting those voices inside your head to rest. The voices that say you're not good enough, you know the ones I'm talking about. How do you drown them out?
I guess you just do what you have to do and don't worry about it. It's scary as hell to think about but I don't see any other possible way. You have to expose yourself to situations that make you uncomfortable. You have to keep pushing forward even when you feel like everyone is laughing at you, looking at you with disgust. Keep going.
Whitney's TEDx Talk really spoke to me because she said something about confidence that totally hit home. She said Confidence comes from action. You don't all of a sudden wake up full of confidence one day and then everything is better. You build your confidence by facing things, taking things head on, realizing that the focus doesn't have to be on you. Inside our heads we are pretty important but in reality we're just a tiny blip. We barely register in the overall scheme of things.
No, I'm not saying we're insignificant or unimportant but we need to get over ourselves.
There are going to be times when we think we've done everything right but things still go wrong. That's life. There are too many variables in any given situation to keep placing all the blame on yourself.
There will be times when you give someone or something everything you have. You pour your heart and soul out, blood, sweat, tears... but it's still not enough.
Keep going. Don't let anyone determine your worth.
Listen to Whitney's TEDx Talk about Shame & Confidence.
Browsing through Facebook posts this evening I came across this certain text image that made me stop and think.
For days now I've had the feeling that someone out there somewhere is having a difficult time. Someone I'm connected to, maybe a reader of my blog, one of my pages on Facebook... I'm not sure but I can't shake this feeling.
And then this evening, I read this:
The automatic assumption of many is that EVERYONE has a "Home Team". It's assumed everyone has a support system to turn to when things get rough. It's a nice idea but unfortunately, it's not true. Not everyone has a home team to turn to. I know because I haven't always had one. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Maybe they've distanced themselves from friends over the years, maybe they have too much pride to reach out and ask for help. Maybe they're so introverted they really don't have any friends, or maybe they suffer from social anxiety so intense they've secluded themselves and shut everyone out. Maybe they don't even know how to begin piecing together a support system. It happens.
Movies and books often romanticize the loner persona. Honestly, there's nothing romantic about it. Being alone, feeling alone, especially when you need to reach out to someone, when you need someone to just listen or when you need a helping hand, well, it just sucks.
I tried to convince myself for the longest time that I didn't really need anyone but we're social creatures by nature. We might appreciate our alone time but there's that overwhelming instinct to congregate, to find our people, our tribe, our Home Team.
Needing other people isn't a sign of weakness, as some may think, it's simply natural. Don't be afraid to reach out. Of course it takes time to build a support system but there's nothing wrong with taking baby steps, being selective of who you choose to add to your circle. It's definitely a process but I'm glad I decided to take that first step.