I had trouble getting out of bed this morning. Yes, there was a part of me who simply enjoyed luxuriating in the softness and warmth of the bed – getting my need for touch met. I knew the surrounding sense well enough, though, to know that there was more to it, so i asked myself “what’s going on? what needs
of mine aren’t getting met?” Self-confidence bubbled up. And support and rest
. Then my eyes fell onto my white board and i read “i can stop beating myself up!” I had written that weeks before as one possible way of supporting myself. Instinctively, i knew that i had the pieces for an answer, so i got up to take a shower. While showering, i remembered all the little stabs i’ve been giving myself – beating myself up, undermining myself very subtly, yet steadily. I was nagging at myself for not reaching out to classmates in a class i am taking. I told myself that i wasn’t as good at giving empathy as others. And as a white ally, i really should know what white supremacy
is. And i shouldn’t want to get acknowledgement for the volunteer work i am doing because others are doing so much more. And i should be down at Occupy instead of enjoying the sunshine. I shouldn’t be critiquing the Green Festival because that’s just holier than thou. I should look at my own inconsistency. And the new friend who stayed with me was nice to me not because he likes me but because he’s planning on taking advantage of me. Because who would really like me anyways. And then i go back to this eery sense that deep down inside of me there is a dark secret that i need to hide because if people find out about it, they’ll run away screaming. And i’ll be all alone.
Brené Brown (39) defines shame as
the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.
With each self-doubt, with each self-criticism, i had been slowly but surely undermining my self-confidence, chipping away at my sense of self-worth, which i’ve been rebuilding over the summer. After all, i had shone a light into the dark recesses of my inner world to find that dark secret. Where i suspected a box was hiding there wasn’t anything. Somewhere i know that there isn’t anything wrong with me, that i am not flawed. Imperfect, yes. Just like everybody else. But not flawed. It seems as if the undermining has become more subtle. It built up until i crashed this morning. I am grateful for that crash. And i am glad that i now have the tools to dig myself back out! Even when it takes me a while to notice that i am sawing off the branch i am sitting on… Maybe as i fall i can learn how to fly. Or not. At least i might fall more gently, as i did this morning, actually.
Request to self: Notice those little jabs/stabs/nags more consciously and hold them with compassion rather than letting them build up. At least try to.