Do you know what I struggle with more than any single other issue?
It walks around in my day to day life masked as other things of course. Things like “being healthy” or “being good at this thing or that thing” or even “being enough”. But at the end of the day, I am ashamed. I am ashamed because I don’t measure up to a standard that doesn’t exist in reality. Or at least it doesn’t exist in my reality.
A standard of what? Beauty, motherhood, marriage, friendship, business, you name it. If I am doing it, shame tells me I’m not doing it right. Of course, I know this to be stupid and based in lies. But the lies are sometimes the loudest.
And you know what the kicker is about shame? Shame says I’m not even good enough at shame because I shouldn’t feel those things. That I have it so good with kids and a husband and friends and an income that my insecurities shouldn’t matter because someone else has it worse.
So I am ashamed of feeling ashamed.
(insert eyeroll here)
But it’s not all bad news today. Because I am being active about this and the truth is, the answer doesn’t come by mastering these feelings and overcoming them. In fact, what I am learning is the beauty is in letting the feelings breathe. Instead of being ashamed to be human, I am starting to accept the failures as a part of me rather than trying to cut them off like a bad spot on an apple. Of course, I have always succeeded and failed in my lifetime. We all have. But I am happiest when I can be ok with the failures and mistakes instead of clobbering myself senseless with guilt and shame.
Until the next day when I am back to feeling totally underwater and I have to do it all over again.
Shame is a spiderweb that clings to you. Even when you think you finally shook it off, there is some strand on the back of somewhere you thought you had already cleared. It’s sneaky and invasive. And it’s something that I am facing once and for all.
And I will face it again tomorrow.
As a very goal-oriented person, I really struggle with cycles. I want things to be linear, with a clear beginning and a clear end. I want highlighted expectations and progress reports. I am far outside my comfort zone when there is any gray area . But the gray area is where I live right now, and for whatever reason I am learning how to live and love outside of my control.
I might be terrible at it. But that’s ok.