I’m a big analyzer of my own thoughts. Maybe that’s what makes me such an introvert — I’m constantly in my own head having conversations. If I experience a new emotion or a new way of thinking (aka my life now) I’m immediately curious as to why I feel or think that way. And more likely than not I can get down to the bottom of it.
I’ve done a lot of thinking and reflection on the way shame morphs itself into our lives. It can come up with almost everything — why we do certain things, think certain ways, get hurt in different areas. How I picture it in my head is like a leash. One you would put on your dog for a walk. It attaches itself to us and pulls us away from freedom if we’re heading in that direction. It yanks us back reminding us of what people might think, tells us places never to go, and restricts us from ever being completely free. But the crazy thing is that we ALL deal with shame. Every person you’ve ever encountered has a leash on in different areas of their life.
I'm a big fan of Brené Brown. I remember the first time I ever saw her on an interview with Oprah right after her TED talk went viral, and I immediately loved this woman! For those of you who don't know her she's a professor at the University of Houston and has spent years researching courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame! I'm telling you, she's incredible and her books have most definitely changed my life. In my season of entering grief I've encountered shame in mannny ways and like a magnify glass I've dug deep into my heart and mind to figure out why. Enter reading Brené Brown's "Daring Greatly" for the second time. This time around the shame I was experiencing felt more raw... it was poking a special part of my heart, the part where my grief sits, which in turn is my extravagant, outrageous love for my daughter. I read this in her book last month and it spoke to me:
"...because of how you were raised or how you approach the world, you've knowingly or unknowingly attached your self-worth to how your product or art is received. In simple terms, if they love it, you're worthy; if they don't, you're worthless." Then she goes on to say, "Once you realize that your self-worth is hitched to what you've produced or created, it's unlikely that you'll share it, or if you do, you'll strip away a layer or two of the juiciest creativity and innovation to make the revealing less risky."
THIS is what was starting to happen anytime I shared the “dark side” of my emotions. The “tough to read” blogs as some people have told me. When it comes to what I share on my blog these aren't just ramblings and writings that come and go, they are directly from my heart. So sharing isn't always easy. I remember the night I decided to put up my entry called Nothing Will Be The Same. I was so nervous about sharing it and almost didn't but I thought "eff it! (excuse my french) this is my reality!!" and I hit post. That post was the one blog I didn't get much response on, or if I did it wasn't a thank you or good job writing that... it was a "that was hard to read". Then the next day I posted Seeing God For The First Time In My Pain and let me tell you! I got more responses then I could list off. "Amazing blog", "Such an important post", "People will be so impacted by this"... it goes on. Initially that made me cringe. How could so many people choose to validate my posts only depending on the hopefulness expressed... or the positive outlook? What about the darkness? What about the pain I experience every morning when I wake up as a mother with no child to care for? We need to be ok with the heavy words, we need to be able to listen and applaud those who are brave enough to expose the darkness they're experiencing! After I took a moment to breathe and remember all of this for myself I began to feel proud. Proud of talking about what others aren't. Proud of myself for speaking my truth no matter if it makes people uncomfortable.
While we were in Toronto for Christmas there were many uncomfortable conversations because it was an awful time for us (not being with my family, but walking through the holiday season). Celebrating Christmas without Sage ripped open our wounds all over again. My sister challenged our family with this... and it has stuck with me, "The more uncomfortable conversations you choose to have with people you love the more comfortable you'll all become with uncomfortable". Yes! You need to cultivate it. And we as a family have committed to that.
The people I would like to surround myself with are those who aren’t afraid of being uncomfortable in order to change something about their life. Whether it’s simply the way they see things, the way they can empathize or have greater understandings of people, or maybe it’s something deeper about their own emotions that they’ve carried inside their “don’t open”/ shame compartment.