2016 is my year to shed shame! It's one of my top goals for the year because it's in my way. Shame is in my way to achieve all the things I want to achieve - personally and professionally. Shame is in the way of every relationship I own.
Shame has been my constant companion for as far back as I can remember, but not my friend. I think shame thinks of itself as my friend. Shame thinks it's helping me, doing an important and thoughtful job by keeping me small and "safe." But shame is no kind of friend to have. Shame gets between me and everything, and everyone. Shame messes with my relationships. It messes with my self confidence and joy, and it messes with my personal interactions by making me feel resentful, jealous, and defensive. It gets in the way of my desires by making me feel unworthy, afraid and unsure. It's time for shame to go.
So, what do we do? How do we shed shame? We do what we do in any relationship. We greet shame. We are honest with shame and recognize it with open eyes and an open heart, and then we talk to it and tell it this relationship has run its course; it's over. This relationship is no longer serving us so we'd like shame to leave. It's been a long and deep relationship, so shame is not likely to go that easily. It will call, stop by, surprise us when we least expect it and try with all it's might to hold on. Shame is determined. It has false purpose and resolve.
But we'll set boundaries and be more determined, unequivocal and kind, and shame will slowly release it's hold and drift away. When shame rears its ugly head, feel it for a moment, acknowledge it, thank it for it's time and say a no nonsense, clear and concise "good bye."
it's a process. Shedding shame will take time and practice, but it's worth the effort. In the early morning hours, cold and dark, a bus driver flashed her lights at me. - a universal signal to turn on my lights. With shame as my co-pilot I'd have been miffed. I'd have said to myself, "Who are you to tell me what to do? I'll turn on my lights if I darn well please, when I'm darn well ready and maybe not at all. I'll decide if I need lights!" If I were coming from a place of shame I'd have been embarrassed, shut down and defensive. But I wasn't. I had shed shame for the moment. My daughter was my co-pilot, not shame. So, I smiled, waved and flicked on my lights.