Working with Shame

I have spent the last few months trying to understand how best to move beyond shame. This means that I have been reading, pondering, and talking to others about what I am experiencing. I have, of course, been reading and listening to Brene Brown. I have also been reading books on loving kindness.

After I was married we moved to Vermont. We lived in a small house in the woods. Once there I grew reclusive. I spent less time with other adults.  And I did something even important, I started to heal from the traumas of my childhood. In this quiet place, I could focus on raising my family and healing. It took me sixteen years to get to a point where I could join the rest of the world. Now that I am out in the world I am feeling even less capable than I have before. Every mistake and error creates more shame. Until I reached a point where the one thing that I loved to do above all others became filled with shame and has become a struggle for me.

This is where all the loving kindness and gentleness with myself comes into play. I know I am not the only person out in the world who looks in the mirror and remembers every mistake and pins it to my shirt for the day, reminding myself that I have failed. I have found countless writings and talks about letting the mistakes be what we build from in this life. I know that there are many ways I have learned from my mistakes. Embracing my mistakes as a learning tool does not come easy. Years of seeing mistakes as weights that hang off of me, keeping me from seeing my potential, have built a lot of baggage on my soul.

Days where I say, “I made a lot of mistakes and that was probably the worst writing I have ever done,” are more frequent than the ones that say, “Great job! That is perfect.” Okay, that last statement rarely happens. I am working towards it though. I think that the entire purpose of this post is to say that everyone has issues with self-worth. I struggle with it all the time. There are more days that I go to bed kicking myself than ones that I am happy with myself. However, the score is evening out.

I have found more of myself hidden beneath the layers of self-doubt and need than I knew existed. Even though getting through the day and finding a path through all the shame is hard, I am finding nuggets of beauty all along the way. I am also finding ways to work through the difficult pieces of myself. Those pieces are the hardest, and create the most depression while I am struggling with them, but they also give me the most growth.

To sum up, I have great shame to overcome, but I am finding more beauty and jewels along the path than I had anticipated.


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