Category Archives: Self-Relations

Live life at your pace

We move through life in lock-step through about the age of 18. Sometimes even 22.  We are born, we roll over, walk, talk, skip, move through school, all pretty much at the same pace.  For younger kids, if they aren’t moving through the milestones at about the right age, then there are problems.  Because so much of our life is moving through in lock-step, we start to think that is how life should be as adults as well.  We need to get married, have kids, have the right job, buy a house, etc.  The concept that if we haven’t met the adult “milestones” by a certain age creates anxiety and shame in so many people.
At some point we stop needing to do the same things about the same time. One person may have to leave high school because life got in the way, and finishes later in their own time.  The other may not get married until their 50’s because they didn’t find the right person. We each have a path that we need to walk.  For a while it may be similar to someone else’s, but ultimately we don’t have to keep pace with anyone.

There is a path in Austin called the Hill of Life.  It is ½ a mile, with 200 meters of elevation change.  It is the very first entrance to the Barton Creek Trail system that runs through Austin, about 8 miles long. It is rocky, uneven terrain.  It is a phenomenal work-out to walk up it.  And it is exhausting.  I have found, that even with all the exercise I do, I have to take the hill slow.  On a bad day I need to take breaks and can’t finish the hill in one go.  While I am huffing and puffing there are often people running up the hill, or even college students walking from the river-bed in flip-flops.  And I’m not in a race with them.  I don’t need to keep up, go the fastest, or even need to march up it without breaks.  I need to go at my pace.  I will get to the top of the hill, I will just take longer than the others.  And I will be faster than some. It isn’t a race.  We will all end up at the same place.
The ego tells us “You should be going faster”.  The ego has a very strong belief in how the world should work.  It believes that if you aren’t moving at the same pace as everyone else you aren’t good enough. You aren’t worthy enough to live amongst the decent people that are doing “better” than you are.  With the hill example, if I work to keep up with those that are doing “better” than I am, I will in all likelihood hurt myself.  I will exceed what my heart and lungs are capable of, or I will twist an ankle, or have some other sort of problem.  When I take the hill at the pace that works for me, I generally tend to make better time than when I try to keep up with someone else.

We all have the same finish-line.  No matter how quickly, gracefully, or easily move through life, we all end up at the same place.  If we try to live life at the pace we think we are “supposed” to often we feel inadequate, frustrated, and sometimes worthless.  We each get to find what works for us, the pace that is best for us, and find our own groove.  Push yourself, and at the same time make sure you aren’t just trying to keep up with the “shoulds”.  This isn’t a race, and if you treat it that way you may just end up at the finish line faster than you wanted to.

I was wrong

I was wrong. These are three of the most difficult words to string together in one sentence. Living in a blame filled society where being wrong is seen as being weak, or at times leaves us vulnerable to attack from the wronged makes it difficult to admit to our mistakes. It is also one of the best ways to resolve conflict.

We all make mistakes. We make mistakes in the way we act and the way we treat each other. Sometimes the mistakes we make dig deep holes. In order to dig out way out of these holes, most people want to hear one thing: “I was wrong. I shouldn’t have done that, and it wasn’t OK.” It takes a good deal of strength to say those words. It also begins a healing process.

Most of us want to hear the other person say that they were wrong when they have done something they shouldn’t have. It allows the forgiveness process to start, both with the wronged, and the person that committed the act. I know personally when I screw up I go through a guilt / shame cycle in which I work to forgive myself for behavior I did. The simple admission of being wrong lets me shift from shame (I am wrong) to guilt (I did wrong and am capable of doing better). It lets me shift from what a f$%k up I am to how I can do better next time.

The ego is the part of the self that regards itself as real. It is the part of the self that says “I can’t show weakness”. It is the part of the self that says “You suck, and always will”. Strangely enough, the ego is trying to help us fit in and make us be better people, but what it does is encourage us to either tear ourselves down, or tear others down to feel better. In reality, we all make mistakes. We all have the ability to change and the ability to do better next time. In order to do better next time though, we have to admit that we made a mistake.

Our ego will yell at us when we go to admit to our mistakes, especially out-loud to others. It is also the best way to start the healing process. It has been found that a Doctors or clinicians that apologize and admit when they have made mistakes are less likely to get sued. That is clear, definitive proof that we just want someone that has wronged us to admit that they were wrong. It starts a healing process, both within ourselves and with others. Three little words that can help so much, but are amazingly scary. “I was wrong”.

Go Live!

No matter if you believe in YOLO or reincarnation, you are in this life now and it is yours to do what you please. There are many choices in this life about how you move through it. Yes, we are dealt a hand and have circumstances that lead to how we make decisions. And, that doesn’t keep us from living a full life.

What do you think when you hear that? “Live a full life”. What does living a full life mean to you? To many it means to find love. And I absolutely believe that finding love and intimacy is part of a full life. I also know that it is not the only ingredient to a full life. What else do you need to do to say: I lived the life I wanted to live?

Are you already doing those things? If not, what is keeping you from living that life?

We all come up with every excuse in the world. “I’ll do it when……”; “I don’t want to do it alone”; “I need this stress to be over first”

Yes, money can get in the way of achieving everything on your bucket list. My bucket list checks for Angor Wat and the Galapagos Islands are a ways off because of money. At the same time, should I die tonight I will be able to say I have lived a full life. I have lived fully. What do you need to do to be able to say that?

All of my experiences culminate in my fully lived life. That includes the work that I do, the trauma I have experienced and not only survived but thrived, the joys and the pains. The literal and metaphorical races I have run, all add up to a fully lived life. What do you need to do to be able to say the same thing? Some of you need to figure out how to thrive after trauma. Some of you need to finish the races you’ve always wanted to run.

Ask yourself: “What do I need to do to live a full life?” What can I do today, to say “I lived today”? It may be taking a new class, or trying a new food. It may just be going for a walk around your neighborhood and saying “hi” to someone new. The steps to living a full life aren’t always big! The important thing is to not let the little things keep you from living your life.

No matter if you believe this is your only life or one of many, you are here to live. You are here to experience. Yes there will be trials and tribulations. These are part of the experience of living. Find what you need to know that you have lived your life fully. Go live

Oh the tangled webs we weave

Oh the tangled webs we weave when we first practice to deceive….ourselves.

Some of the biggest deceptions are the ones we tell ourselves.  These deceptions can come in all shapes and sizes, from the little ones of “This bite of candy won’t hurt me” (after the 10th piece of candy), or “I’m fine” that we tell to the person asking how we are, to the big ones of “I don’t have a problem”.  So how can you tell if you are lying to yourself?  The first thing to look for is guilt or shame.  Reminder:  Guilt is knowing you’ve done something bad or wrong, and shame is believing that you, all of you, is bad or wrong.  If you are working to get rid of any kind of guilt or shame, there is a possibility that you are lying to yourself.  When you tell yourself that that one piece of candy won’t hurt you, but you know that once you eat it you will probably eat 10 more and you feel that little pang of guilt; you’re lying to yourself.  When you say those words of “just one more”, you’re probably lying to yourself.

The difficulty with guilt and shame is that they can be tricky as lie detectors.  Many of us have been conditioned to feel guilty when we cause discomfort to others, even when they need it.  So we feel guilty when we set limits with a friend or a partner, and wonder if we are doing the right thing.  We feel guilty when we punish or set limits for our kids that they don’t like, even when it is what is best for them.  But even then there are lies we tell ourselves.  We tell ourselves we can be fine if we don’t set the limit with our partner, we will be fine if we don’t tell them what is bothering us.  This is a pretty big lie.  We think that our kids will be fine if we let them go to the dance after they’ve been grounded, they’ll see that they are our friends and shape up.  Huge lie.

Another detector is when we have multiple people, in multiple parts of our lives telling us the same thing.  We wonder, “why does everyone think this when it isn’t true?”  Well, it is probably true, we just don’t want to admit it to ourselves, so we lie and say things like “if they really knew me” or “if they knew what my life was like”, or “They’re all just crazy” to ourselves and others.  The hard truth is that if multiple people in multiple parts of our lives are saying the same thing, then it is true no matter how much we want to believe it isn’t.

The final things to look for are the “buts”.  When we start saying to others and ourselves the word but a lot, then we may be lying to ourselves or to them.  The word but is used for justification of a behavior.  “But I have these reasons for what I did?”  The big question always is “does that make the behavior OK”?  Often when we are using the word but, we are digging a hole for ourselves.  We tell ourselves and others “but I had a reason for what I did!”. Others may or may not nod their head, but often in the back of their mind they see the liar as crazy and frustrating.  These lies often make situations worse.  Those of you that have kids just need to look to your children to know this is true.  You see them dig holes deeper every time they try to use a lie to get out of trouble and won’t back away from the lie once caught.

We use lies to feel better about our lives and the things we do. We tell ourselves harmless little lies that we don’t believe like “broken cookies have no calories”.  And we tell ourselves big lies like “No one understands this, if they did they none of them would act the way they do”.  The lies we tell others are often small, little lies such as “I’m fine”, or “It doesn’t matter”.  Sometimes they are bigger.  But often the biggest lies we tell are the ones we tell to ourselves.  We think we are doing it to make things better.  We think that we will keep the peace, or that we can fool ourselves in to believing the lies.  And sometimes our conscious does believe them.  But a part of us always knows the truth.  And the part of us that knows the truth is miserable, and often angry.  It can create resentment in others, low self-esteem, anger, and even hatred.  The truth will set you free.  We’ve heard that so many times in our lives.  It may not make us happy, and at the same time when we quit lying to ourselves we are more free.  We are free to be clear in the choices we make, we are more free to be honest with others, and often we quit digging holes for ourselves.

Finding our awesome!

I want to be one of the awesome ones.  I know at times I’m not.  I want people to get their come-uppance, and at times I want to show people that I see as ignorant and hateful exactly how small they really are.  And at the same time, I want to live in a world with awesome people.

Every day we get to make choices.  We get to decide how we interact with the world around us, and how we respond to the love we see in the world, along with how we respond to the anger and the hatred we see in the world.  Every day, in big and in little ways we get to either add to the love, or we get to add to the hate.

In the video you’re watching a hockey game where they have a tradition of having people throw out teddy-bears after the second home-team goal of the game.  You watch an outpouring of love and kindness that is literally overwhelming.  At one point you can see the players rolling in the bears like one would in fall leaves.  I can guarantee that there were many faiths, beliefs, wants, wishes, hurts, angers and class levels at that game. And for about 15 minutes they were all one in kindness and giving.  They were all one together enough so that they broke a world record and collected over 28,000 teddy-bears.  The sight brings me to tears.

It reminds me that we all pretty much have the same wants and needs.  The want to be loved, to be accepted, and to be seen as acceptable.  We all have the want to be seen as enough and worthy.  There are times that we can do very kind and loving things to get these needs met.  When we are showering an ice rink with teddy-bears, we know that we are giving and kind, and that we are doing something to make someone’s life better.

The first step to being awesome instead of horrible is working to find the common ground.  The other person has the same wants you have; to feel lovable, worthy, and enough.  Their fears and anxieties aren’t the exact same because they aren’t the same person.  They are do come from a similar place of just wanting to belong.  When we are able to humanize the people around us we are less likely to be nasty or ugly to them.  We go back to the golden rule : treat others as we wish to be treated.

The best moments are the ones that we all come together to create something awesome. These moments are amazing and remind me that underneath it all, we are good, kind, loving people.

I know that I want to be seen as competent, lovable, intelligent and worthy.  I also know that when something comes along that challenges me being seen as lovable, competent, intelligent and worthy there is a strong instinct to lash out.  In general, we all will have an instinct to make the person that challenges our worthiness, or our intelligence, or our value look as small as we feel.  There is documented research that says almost all of us try to make others look small when we feel small.  I know this isn’t how I want to live my life.  I don’t want to live my life trying to make people look small because I feel small.  I want to find the place inside of myself that knows I am competent, lovable, intelligent and worthy so others can’t pull me off center.  I want to keep from needing to pull others off center.  I want to shower the world with teddy-bears and kindness.

My own worst critic

No matter who you are, there are parts of yourself that you wish were different.  Suzie Q wishes she were thinner, Johnnie wishes he could run faster, Bettie wishes she could speak in public better, Billy Joe wishes he were better in bed.  We all have something, that sometimes we have a hard time even admitting to ourselves that we wish were better, different, bigger, smaller, etc.  We move through our daily lives doing the best we can, but always wishing
we could be or do better.

We also project a belief that everyone else in the world believes the same thing.  That we need to be thinner, run faster, speak in public better, or be better in bed.  In our heads,
we know for a fact that our partners, friends, co-workers, teachers and bosses believe the same thing we do.  So when someone utters a comment that hits on our self-critique, we become easily angry and resentful.  We are hurt that the other person’ couldn’t just keep their judgment to themselves.  Or if the friends say something that counters our image of ourselves we are unable to take their statement at face value.

Often though our judgment of our-self is overly harsh and critical.  The majority of my teenage clients have body-image issues.  Every girl that I work with is either at a healthy weight, or underweight, though they believe they are fat. These criticisms of ourselves lead to depression,
anger and resentment.  The majority of the adults I work with see their perceived flaws instead of their strengths as well.  I hear “I wish I were more outgoing”, “I think I’m too much of a push-over”, “I’m not organized enough”.  Though these may or may not be true, focusing on the weakness instead of focusing on building the strength ultimately creates difficulties.

It is important when we find that we are in a harsh, critical phase of our lives that we re-evaluate.  That we work to move our thoughts away from how horrible we are and more toward who we want to be.  Pain and trauma are not good motivators for change.  Often when we look at ourselves and see that we are too fat, too stupid, too whatever it drags
us down instead of pushing us forward. Yoga is something that I have been practicing for several years.  It is also something that I continue to struggle with as my body moves through states of doing well and doing poorly.  When I am doing poorly  I start slinging arrows at myself;  I’m not flexible enough, I don’t have enough endurance, my body doesn’t look good in the poses…etc etc etc.  What this does is take  me away from the practice, take me away from my breathing, and takes away from many of the benefits of the practice.  Accepting that my body is where it is and allow it the time to learn the movements and the poses and gain the endurance will ultimately strengthen me and allow me to move forward more quickly.

It is a balance between accepting ourselves for where we are at, and still wanting to make progress and grow at the same time.  Growth will always happen faster when we can allow our critiquing self to quite down some.  It is OK to wish for growth.  It is unhealthy to never be able to see the beauty in yourself. 

The nasti-gram – What they’re really saying

We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat down at our computer and started to type something akin to “you suckity suck head. You should know you really suck, and this is why.” I know, your nasti-gram was significantly more articulate than that, but when it boils down to it that’s what you’re saying. In fact I wrote one about a month ago. I was articulate, focused and directed in what I wanted to say. And looking back the letter said “Hey you stupid suckhead. This is how much you suck, why you suck, and how stupid you are.”

I had attending a meeting in which I felt I was not listened to. I was trying to advocate for a client and not only was the caseworker seemingly deaf to what I had to say, but her attorney was as well. I went home and stewed. I knew I was meditating on my anger, I knew I was on the crazy train, and I just couldn’t get off. So I wrote an email “advocating” for my client. I wrote several drafts until I had one that I felt was acceptable enough to run through my filter (my husband) to see if it was professional and acceptable. And I did what any professional should do; I called a colleague to triple check myself. And of course she told me what I needed to hear; knock it off. We’re here to teach clients to advocate for themselves, not fight their battles for them.

Looking back at the email that I did not send, it was professional and made the point I wanted to make. It also was meant to make the attorney feel small ignorant, and unprofessional. When the above meeting was over I felt small, inarticulate, and powerless. These are some of my major shame triggers. I don’t have the trigger of not feeling smart enough; I know I’m intelligent. Because of my childhood where sometimes no matter what I said someone was going to be pissed, I struggle to feel articulate. Because of that same childhood I frequently felt powerless and helpless. I felt powerless in that meeting and watched a client feel helpless, where even her attorney wasn’t helping her. I wanted to make him feel ignorant, and small, and stupid. It was a very professional nasti-gram.

When we sit down at our keyboard to write our nasti-gram we are trying to make the other person feel as small, as ignorant, as hurt, as powerless or hopeless as we feel. We are trying to take the shame we feel and throw it on to them, instead of calling what we feel what it really is. I even struggled to write this blog, to call my shame what it was and speak it out loud. It is especially difficult to speak it here as I know several of my clients read this. But speaking our shame out-loud lessens its power.

How you want to make other’s feel when writing the nasti-gram, or when trolling, is how you really feel in the moment. The hateful angry email may help you feel more powerful. It also helps you meditate on your anger, and what we meditate on affects us on a cellular level. Anger increases cortisol and adrenalin, and makes your body thing you’re in life-or-death situations. It doesn’t do nice things.

When I hear the shame stories of friends and colleagues I am usually shocked. What triggers their shame is usually something that I see they excel at, and have no idea why they would be ashamed. I’m pretty sure that some of those that know me and have read my shame story are shaking your heads as well. Our shame triggers come from our past, they are our “baggage”. The difficult thing with shame triggers is that usually other’s don’t know what they are. Unless you are in a very unhealthy relationship (or have children) no one is trying to intentionally trigger your shame gremlins. No one is trying to make us feel that way, and we all have triggers that will be hit. In general there are common triggers for women and common triggers for men, and at the same time our history is always going to give us unique triggers.

When we are hurting our first instinct is to lash out and make the people that hurt us feel the same way we do. It is not healthy, and leads to the “eye for an eye” concept. This was one of the most quoted parts of the bible I heard when I was a child, and then when I was older I learned that that was only part of the quote. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” is the whole quote. It is actually OK to write that email. In Word, or whatever word-processing program you use, not on your phone or your email. It keeps you from accidentally sending it! Then if you find that you need to or are required to for some reason respond, start running the response through your filters. Through your own filters, and through the filters of those you respect to help you write appropriate emails (not the friends that are going to help you skewer the other person!). Getting the nasty draft out does help. Sending it does not. Start your meditation on how to communicate, even if it is to yourself what trigger was hit, what your needs are, and what your wants are. Ultimately it reminds you that your trigger is your trigger. It is yours to feel and yours to manage, not the other persons.

We all have triggers, and we all have those moments when we want to send that nasti-gram. They don’t help. Let yourself see your nasti-gram without sending it, and identify what trigger was hit. Then take a moment to recognize that it is your trigger. Don’t send the first email and do double check, triple check, and maybe even quadruple check yourself. Nasti-grams may be fun, but they don’t make things better. Making someone else feel small and stupid never makes anything better.


Crossing Finish Lines

One of the main complaints I get from people is a frustration that it is “too late” to start, or to finish, or to try something again.  We create races we want to run and then reasonable create a course and a plan to cross the finish line.  Then life gets in the way.  Something happens, or many things happen and we have to put the goal on hold, and after a while it just starts to feel too late to get started.    Very often the concept of “too late” is only in our minds.   We have a set concept of when things are supposed to happen by.  All of the “shoulds” that run through our mind about when things “should” be done by, or how they “should” be done or who we “should” be.  If we don;t cross the finish lines of milestones when we believe we “should” we get frustrated or ashamed.  These milestones come in all shapes and forms; graduations, relationships, children, jobs….  We create a concept of how and when things “should” be done.

Having a timeline for goals is a good idea.  Timelines help keep us focused and add direction.   Rigid timelines are a different story.  When we can’t be flexible we get stuck, and start digging ourselves holes.  The shame spiral that is created starts dragging us down, a weight on our ankles as we try to stay afloat.  The rigid timelines don’t account for the roadblocks that get thrown our way.  I’ve spoken before about dancing instead of falling.  The concept of flowing with the world as it pulls and pushes us in directions that are unexpected and problematic for our goals.

Another difficulty is when we have the “how” set in our heads.  I see this often with college students, though all of us create the “should” of how.  There is a specific school we need to graduate from, or a specific path we need to take to get where we want to go. If that path closes off, for whatever reason, there is a feeling of helplessness.

We all have goals.  Either we created them ourselves, or our society sets the goals and creates the expectations of when and how. Then life happens.  Illness, tragedy, difficulties, all of these get in the way of the when and how.  Sometimes goals get put on the back burner, or even in the freezer.  Once we’ve stepped away from the goal for a while the shame gremlins get involved and start to tell us that we will look foolish, or pathetic, or stupid if we pull the goal out of the freezer and put it back on the burner.  The true question revolves around what we need, not what society thinks.  Hundreds of things can come along and derail a goal.  Sometimes we have to alter the goal in ways we never even thought we could.  People who want to be parents have to look at adoption instead of childbirth.  People who wanted to graduate from the University of Texas may have to go to a different college.  Setting in stone how or when a goal must be met makes it difficult to keep the goal alive when life just gets in the way.

It is never too late.  Some goals have to be adjusted and shifted to meet the available resources, times, or needs.  Ego’s have to be gotten over, shame overcome and unfortunately other’s perceptions need to be let go of.  If you have decided there is a finish line you need to cross, don’t let go of it.  Let the goal shift as necessary, let go of the musts, but find your way through.  We all need finish lines.  Don’t let go of yours.



There was a movie when I was a kid, made from a book about a little girl named Pollyanna.  In this movie a young Haley Mills is orphaned and moves in with her dour Aunt and Uncle, in a dour little town.  Believing that anything can be over-come with a positive attitude and pragmatism she proceeds to win over the town.  Until the end when she falls out of a tree and is paralyzed from the waist down.  Then the dour little town comes in to remind her that a positive attitude can save all resulting in a happy ending.

I will be the first one to tell you that a poor attitude results in a poor ending.  If you go in to an adventure in your life believing you, or it is going to fail you create a self fulfilling prophesy.  Consciously or sub-consciously you will undermine yourself leading to almost certain failure.  Walking toward life with a belief that you are enough to move through the fires and pains that can be thrown at you give you an edge over those that have a “Half-empty” point of view.  Pollyannaism is more than a glass half full view of life though.  It is a tendency to ignore the problems in life believing that ignoring the problems will make them go away. Those I watch struggle with this often fall in to traps of failure and difficulties that they could have seen coming if they hadn’t been lost in a constant state of Pollyannaism.

Pollyannaism includes ignoring the pit-falls and red flags that life is putting in your way, as well as sweeping the lessons of past difficulties under the rug in an effort to feel safe, ignore feelings of shame or worthlessness, or in an effort to avoid pain.  It is a tendency to paint a pretty picture on life when it isn’t always that pretty. It is standing in the rain telling yourself and everyone else that the sun is shining.

One of the most common places we do this is in relationships.  You are dating someone that you have come to care about.  For the first 6-9 months it was bliss, though with a few red flags.  Maybe the other person had a quick trigger, or put others down, or was mean to animals or people less fortunate to them.  And in the haze of love that clouds judgement for the first several months these behaviors were ignored or dismissed.  Then after the haze starts to wear off, you notice these behaviors occurring more frequently, or even occurring toward you.  This has become someone you are emotionally, and possibly financially invested in.  You are used to having companionship, and know exactly what the dating scene looks like now.  So as your partner starts showing more and more red-flags they are swept under the rug.

In the above example, which I have watched several times, the person often becomes anxious, despondent, or resentful.  Sometimes all three.  The relationship is spiraling the drain but slowly swirls around and around, never getting better and only causing misery, but a pretty little package is wrapped around it to keep it looking pretty on the outside.  Pollyanna.

Calling poop fertilizer doesn’t make it smell any better.  Sometimes life stinks, saying differently doesn’t make it any better, and it doesn’t give you the opportunity to make changes to make it better.  Optimism is being able to see that the sun will shine again.  It is not ignoring the fact that it is raining.  It keeps you from using an umbrella to avoid getting soaked.

Shame vs Guilt – what we need to know

We need to have a discussion about guilt and shame. Often we don’t know the difference between the two. We hear or are told from a very young age “They should be ashamed” or “you should be ashamed”. From a very early age guilt and shame are treated the same, and often behaviors are shamed by our parents, our community and our religion.

The difference is that guilt is feeling bad about something you have done. You cut someone off in traffic, and you feel bad about that. You told your partner that you hate them, and you feel bad about that.   Shame on the other hand, is believing as though you are bad, who you are, who you always will be is bad. When therapists work with people to find empathy, we work with them to find a concept of guilt. We want people to feel bad for things they have done that cause pain to other people or things. Without guilt we would have destroyed each other long ago as we wouldn’t have cared if we hurt someone or they died because of our actions. Guilt is what let us survive before we had all the technology to keep us alive and we were roughing it out on the planes, just us, our intellect, and our capability to care about each other against a very hostile world. Shame on the other hand does nothing but cause suffering.

When someone is ashamed or shamed, the belief is that they are all bad. Well, if someone is all bad, then they can never be good. There is no chance for change, for light, or beauty. There is only darkness and will only ever be darkness. Can you see why shame is a big problem when it comes to healing and recovery? If we feel guilt, guilt means that we did something bad but can do something better in the future. There is an inherent belief that we are overall good, and that even though we make mistakes we can do better in the future. It is a belief that we can learn from our mistakes.

Shame cripples. It is 1000 pound weight tied around your heart that keeps you from being able to recover and move through life. Shame not only keeps you from being able to see your own beauty, but it keeps you from being able to see the beauty of everything around you. It keeps you from feeling a sense of belonging. Brene Brown said “Our sense of belonging cannot be greater than our sense of self-acceptance”, and our sense of self-acceptance will be hindered by our sense of shame.

We all make mistakes.  Every one of us is an imperfect being that does imperfect things.  At times these imperfect things impact ourselves, and at times they impact others.  They key isn’t calling ourselves and idiot, or calling ourselves stupid, as these imply that we are too stupid to ever do anything else. The key is in noticing what the mistake was and learning from it.  When we see our mistakes for what they are and learn from them, we can let go of the guilt once the lesson is learned.  We keep the concept that we are good people that have made mistakes clear, and with that we can let others see that we are good people.  It is easier to let people see our imperfect selves because it is OK.  It is easier to see other’s imperfect selves, because we know they can be imperfect and still be a good person.

We all want to feel as though we belong somewhere.  Whether that’s a family, a community or a religion we not only want to fit in, but feel as though we are accepted.  In truth though we can’t feel as though we are accepted by others without believing within ourselves that we are acceptable.  That means we have to ditch shame and focus on guilt.  When I let myself feel guilty I can know that I did something wrong while still being a good person.  I give myself more room to find myself acceptable when I make mistakes.  Truly, when you see yourself as acceptable even with your imperfections, you can finally let others see all of who you and finally feel as though you are accepted and as though you belong.