You’re Not Alone.
Monday morning October 15, 2012; started off very similar to every other morning of this past year.
On Monday morning my eyes opened and my brain said; “Good Morning Sir! What a Lovely Day to be Alive.”
I rolled out of bed, turned on my computer and went into the kitchen to boil water for my Mr. Coffee French Press. When Mr. Coffee and I returned to my desk; emails were checked, newsletters were read and notes were taken.
It brings me great joy to watch Lectures via YouTube on Mondays. On October 15, TedTalks grabbed my attention.
I don’t know how you do it, but I usually click on one of the related videos and navigate my way through YouTube.
Some days I sit and scratch my head and wonder “How the hell did I get here?”
Other days, I go from video to video soaking in the knowledge that feeds my soul and opens my mind.
The third TedTalk of the day was given by Dr. Brene Brown; research Professor at the University of Huston.
During Minute 12, the cheerleader in me felt pretty darned good.
Dr. Brwon describes calls TedTalks the “Failing Conference.” Her reason is that almost everyone shared a story how they had a vision, saw a need and took action. The action usually resulted in a failure. But, the unique thing that each presenter shared was that they regrouped time and time again until the original intent of their vision was achieved.
I thought to myself;
“YEAH! You’re really good at failing! Nice Job Tim!”
Dr Brown shared “The Man in the Arena” quote from Theodore Roosevelt
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
My excitement grew. I thought;
“Dude, that shit is sooo you! Keep going man. Find a better way today.”
I even started thinking about a YouTube Video with me discussing how the first edition of my book was so horribly edited that I have over 700 copies sitting in a room at this very moment.
I had no clue what was about to happen.
During minute 13 Dr. Brown describes how when you walk up to “the arena door” and put your hand out to enter a little voice starts playing one of 2 scripts in your head. She called that little voice “The Gremlin.”
The “Gremlin’s” 2 Scripts
1. Never Good Enough
2. Who do you think you are?
As these words made their way through my headphones my heart sank.
I felt my whole being cave in on itself. My Gremlin spoke and I heard
NOW THAT’S YOU!!
You SUCK! You’ll never amount to SHIT!
You can’t do this.
You’re going to always be alone.
NO ONE LOVES YOU!”
A Pit of Shame opened up inside of me.
I watched, listened and cried as Dr. Brown finished her talk.
Then, I just sat here and cried some more.
The shame spoke to me a script that hasn’t been heard or felt in such a long time.
As I look back on the journey since 2009 I can pinpoint over 30 moments that my behavior was a direct result of the “I’m ashamed to exist” script in my brain.
Before I continue with this post, let me be very clear I am not ashamed of the man I am today, nor am I ashamed of the moments that got me to this point. But, none-the-less, shame spoke to me on Monday Morning.
I needed to address it, clear it and move on.
Thankfully I have the tools that allow me to sit in the shame and learn what needs to be learned and get back to the loving self that I am.
After sitting in it for an hour or so, I did a meditation to center myself. I listened to that part of me that feels ashamed and I smiled it as I gently brought myself back into love.
I can’t remember a time in my life I have felt freer than I do at this moment (Friday evening of the same week).
If You’ve Recognized Yourself in this article then Great News! You’re not alone.
Four Steps to Clearing Shame
1. Identify the problem.
In this case; Shame
Do you feel it?
Here are some questions to help you check yourself.
Are you demeaning when you label yourself?
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you have a need to be needed?
Are you tolerating some form of abuse?
Are you addicted to approval and validation?
Do you easily project your anger?
2. Honor the Feeling.
In the TedTalk Dr. Brown suggests that Shame is like the swamp of our souls.
You’ll want to go in and wade around a little, but please don’t set up your home there.
Just feel the feeling. Let it rise. Cry it out.
3. Take an inventory of your daily activities.
Are any of your activities just sly methods of avoiding your own shame?
I found a few.
Hi, I’m Tim I’m a Facebook Addict.
I love social media in general, but recently I realized that I’m wasting way too much time scrolling through feeds searching for cool stuff to read, consume and share. So, I blocked myself from Facebook this week.
I actually had a little withdrawal. I felt like checking in a few times. But, as I fought the urge I kept asking myself.
“Why is this important to do right now?”
After watching the TedTalk I realized how invisible I feel some days.
My being craves connection, instant gratification, to be seen and validated. For some reason my brain got confused to believe that those feelings came from interactions with the world.
Take a moment to label the feelings you derive from the activities you do each day. (let me know if you need some help with that step.)
4. Connect with those feelings in yourself.
If you are feeling a sense of shame start by knowing that I feel it too. So do most people. Be comfortable with that.
Now USE it! Own it. Grow out of it.
Those feelings you’re searching for from the searching and consuming of things and ideas out in the world are present within you now.
Spend some time to connect with YOU.
Sit Still for 3o minutes. You don’t have anywhere to be. You’ve already arrived.
After recognizing this feeling I’ve ramped up the meditation. On Thursday I spent over 4 hours listening to guided meditation MP3s. I made a commitment to at least an hour of meditation time each day.
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
Nutrient deficiencies have emotional impacts on you. Please be mindful of what you put into your body. Make eating an act of love more often than not.
Support a friend or a stranger.
Go out in the world today and Be vulnerable, open, and supportive. We are all in this together.
Look around you.
You’re not alone. Other people sometimes feel ashamed to be themselves too. Think about that the next time you see someone acting like a complete idiot.
They may be masking their shame the best way they know. Noticing this may help you find a new reason for compassion.
If you know anyone who could benefit from reading this please share it.
If you’re brave enough to share your thoughts, I’d be honored to read them; Comment below.
Dr. Brene Brown’s talk that broke me wide open. (Her Website here)
Next week I will send you a video highlighting the manner in which I failed my way to this point and show you how you can become a successful failure as well.