So I logged into WordPress for the first time in a long while, and found this post that I wrote back in May and never published. Many things have changed over the last six months, and yet the essence of my thoughts and struggles with shame and courage are still relevant. Especially as I finish up a long-ish update I’ve been working on to answer some questions I been receiving but haven’t been ready to answer before now regarding my family. So in the meantime…
Have you heard of Brene Brown? I promise you won’t miss the 20 minutes of your life you spend here:
I was first introduced to her work through my therapist about two years ago, when she invited me to participate in a “shame group,” using Dr. Brown’s curriculum. Understanding how shame and vulnerability work in my life have been life changers for me. And I mean real change. Allowed me to risk judgement and failure for the sake of knowing others and being truly known. Allowed me to risk loving deeply. Being who I was created to be. Not perfectly…but increasingly. Perfection is a dirty word. The dirtiest. The “F” word has nothing on the “P” word. We just don’t always have our crap together. And isn’t that okay? Everyone has a different standard of perfection, and if we are living our lives striving to be perfect for everyone, we are doomed to think that we fail all over the place. Every. single. day. We are always letting someone down if we live that way. I got a little handout from work recently, that said that based on my personality type (INFP, if you care), one percent of the world views the life the same as me. Well then. I should just stop right here in trying to please everyone…right?
And I think that’s where I’ve been losing track of myself lately. I’m just me. And over the past couple of months, my life has been stripped. Stripped of some material things. Pets (except Hogan), dual income, the comfortable monotony of everyday life…like coming home, making dinner, taking kids to sports, being a wife, teaching (and practicing in community) yoga, and not having to make an effort for companionship. My son’s violence has escalated into a place of crisis, I’ve missed a ton of work because of it, and I’m navigating unknown territory with heartbreaking decisions to make for him. I feel myself turning off my emotion, or turning it on in full force. Being super buttoned, or super free. In my inability to do everything, and having to admit that I have physical and emotional limits, shame has ever so slowly crept back in. Shame whispers “you are a failure.” Too open or too closed. Too spiritual or not having enough Jesus (I feel some writing coming soon about this). Shame whispers that I am not enough. Or that I’m too much. Shame causes me to hustle for worthiness. Shame eventually hardens my heart. Shame keeps me wondering what someone else thinks about me.
So yeah, it’s time for some things to change. Where went my courage to live imperfectly? Where went my…courage? In general? All I know is that I need to send shame packing, so today I’ve been thinking about who I want to be on the other side of this transition. I can’t fully control the difficulty of my days, but I do get to choose how I lead myself through them. So my plan is to be a little less. Yes, I said less. Not more. Being less has always brought me to center. Allowing things into my life that add to the beauty of it, and being okay with letting the rest go.