So, I have this list.
It’s a list of things that keep me from being my creative self, namely writing. Because the truth is I haven’t written much in weeks and I’m feeling the need to confess this sin.
The list I have is long and I’ll bet we all have some of the same ones. Here they are in no particular order of importance:
High Expectations of myself
This list isn’t extensive, nor do they represent everything that gets in my way. I’m also certain that each reader could add their own. The main issue is that these are the excuses that keep dreams from happening.
The Real Culprit
I have discovered recently that the real culprit isn’t any of these things listed. Oh, sure most of this stuff probably needs to be done and checked off that to-do list but that isn’t what holds us back.
For me the real culprit is shame.
Shame is one of those emotions we all have, yet no one talks about.
Shame is that emotion that, given enough time, wears away at your self-concept, your self esteem.
It is insidious and ugly and we can’t escape it.
The Good News
Yes, there is good news.
According to Brene Brown, shame cannot survive the light. Shining a light on the areas of shame in your life can be the beginning of healing.
Brown states that the best way to combat shame is to have compassion and empathy for yourself.
Sounds simple, right?
Nothing is as simple as all that.
The Game Plan
Brown’s definition of shame is:
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”
The translation for me is when I tell myself I am a terrible person because I didn’t get my To-Do list complete and things aren’t perfect around me.
To combat this is to bring awareness to the messages we are telling ourselves.
Here are some examples of messages that often float through my brain:
“I am a horrible person because I can’t even keep up on my to do list”
I’m learning to make statements like this:
“My life is full and sometimes overwhelming, so if I don’t get everything done today,
I’m okay. I can work on it tomorrow.”
Or, one of my personal favs:
“Hey, I managed to get the clothes from the washer to the dryer in the same day – Yay me!”
I have been using a lot of my emotional energy beating myself up for my “failures.” Now that I’ve realized that I’ve been living in the land of shame, I can direct these energies toward more positive and productive endeavors. And, maybe get something checked off my To-Do list.
Working on the Problem
Which brings me back to those things that keep me from writing. Finding grace for myself when I don’t accomplish those tasks for myself is important.
Being compassionate when I don’t have the energy is another way to combat shame.
When I have compassion and I allow myself grace, I find that my energy increases and I can do those things I want to do.
I’ve found this process can create a snowball effect. Awareness brings a change in energy which then rises allowing me to accomplish small things. Counting the small victories gives way to the bigger victories (like getting a blog post out in a timely manner). The more progress and victories, the more shame retreats into its dark corner.
Until next time, when the process begins all over.
Hopefully, this time, the light won’t be too far behind.
Until next time,