So recently I have been enormously encouraged by Brene Browns work. As I read her books I would have an “Ah ha!” moment every couple of pages! It’s both exciting and terrifying!
When you begin to see things differently. When you see that what you once thought defined you, what you thought was your fault, what you thought was your problem, is actually not the case at all, your whole perception of yourself, your life and your world changes.
Brene, me dear, you have done that for me.
I have experienced a lot of shame namely because a lot of blame for things has been dumped on me and I willingly took it. As a result I was not very good at loving the person I was. If anything happened that I thought I was to blame, I would indulge in self pity…BIG TIME! Thoughts of hatred of myself ran rampant through my head and were enforced by negative words of others.
Until I came across and began to listen to positive, healing voices. People who not only believed in me but addressed my very issues. A lot of what others said and did were down to power over chandeliering, control, and emotional abuse.
I had given my self-worth and power over to another!
The day my eyes were opened to this truth was the day I took back my power and was set free. I absolutely value and love the person I am. Never again will I wallow in self pity the way I did before. As a result, the desire and belief to pursue my dreams and goals awakened within me.
However, in order to move forward I would, as Brene says, have to embrace the discomfort of vulnerability.
Lets use me wanting to take up running for an example. I have a goal and a dream to run in a 5k. Running for me symbolizes freedom and overcoming. Overcoming because at school I was always last and I was never allowed to take part in PE in primary school because I was born with a heart condition (I’m okay now!). When I run I can be me. But it involves vulnerability because I’ve failed at it so many times. When I try again I’ve had those words “What? So you are running AGAIN are you?” spoken to me. No support. No words of encouragement. Just words that invite those nasty little gremlins of shame to run riot in your head. They screech saying, “You’ll only give up again & look the fool.” “Yeah! Then what will people say? They’ll say “I told you so!” “You’ll fail again and you’ll become a laughing stock.” Then all the gremlins howl with laughter. Previously I’d retreat into despair and self-pity. But not anymore!
Now here’s where growth into a more whole person occurs. Growth into who we were born to be. Despite the shame, despite the lack of support and encouragement, I DO IT ANYWAY!
I am the one in the arena fighting. Those jeering with unhelpful comments are just spectators and because of that, because they are not with me in the arena, quite honestly their opinions and comments are irrelevant and void.
Excited about socks!
Yes, that’s right, I get excited when I buy a brand new pair of running socks. I have very few times bought myself clothes in the past. I’d focus on the children. So to spend £6 on a pair of socks is a treat for me. Not only that, they symbolize a fresh start, no pun intended!
I went for bright pink!
Next, I got my fluro pink running vest and hung it on my wardrobe door as a daily reminder to, in the words of Nike, “Just do it!”
And to top it all off I’m updating my planner to include a running progress chart. Next comes the actual getting out there and facing that discomfort of shame and vulnerability.
Once I do, and I get past the initial shame of failure and judgement, the gremlins come back and say, “People will see you and know you’re a fraud. You’re not a runner.” “You can never be one of them.” After getting out of breath quickly the voices pipe up like they do, “See! See! Seeeeeeeeeeee! Hahahahaaa! You couldn’t run far! You’re a fake A failure!” “You’ll NEVER do this!” This is where we silence those nasty little gremlins with self-love, self-belief, and positive thinking. “I’ve got this! One day at a time I can do this! This is for me. I will get there! At least I’m in the arena fighting it out!”
I’m looking forward to “Daring Greatly, as Bene puts it, in my my life. I’m very excited at who I can become, what I can do and achieve! The trolls and gremlins may try to stop us but they are cowardly spectators not willing to engage positively in life. Let their jeers be drowned out by cheers! Even if you are the only one cheering!