I can think of times where I compare myself to others and if it seems that there is someone better at what I want to do, then I don’t try at all. It’s sometimes an arbitrary, snap judgement I make. I have been in new situations where my self-talk has kept me from meeting new people. I would hang back and wait for people to come to me. It brings to mind school dances where you’re waiting to be asked, but then there’s that one person that just doesn’t care and just goes out and dances by themselves and soon everyone is just dancing and having a good time. I was never that person.
I remember riding the school bus and being very shy. My brother would come back and sit behind me and whisper to me – “nobody likes you”. It made me cry and would make me even more shy. Even now, I assume in any group situation that no one really likes me, I’m forgettable and will be passed over or abandoned.
Recently, I decided to leave a volunteer situation. I assumed no one would really miss me and that I didn’t make that much of an impact. As I was leaving for the last time, people were coming up to me and telling me how I made a difference to them, how they wished they had gotten to know me better. I was surprised because in my mind, I was forgettable and passed over. That was part of the reason I was leaving. I didn’t really feel like I mattered. In some ways it was gratifying, but in some ways frustrating that I only was told as I was walking out the door. It also made me wonder how I assess my impact and assume certain things that maybe aren’t true. What if the shoe were on the other foot. Are there other people in my life that I appreciate but have never told them and they are feeling unloved and passed over?
Other memories that shaped me:
Being picked last for sports teams
Being laughed at when singing
Being invited to an outing and when the plans changed, I wasn’t told. I showed up to what I thought was the location and no one was there.
My shyness (not being talkative or outgoing), I was overweight and clumsy as a kid.
I felt I would never be accepted or loved. When I did have positive attention, I felt normal. I remember when I would feel rejected being confused and not knowing why someone was picking on me or laughing at me. I was just being me. I didn’t see that I was any different than anyone else, I was doing the same things.
I remember being very young and being happy and content. I would follow my brother around and do whatever he did. I didn’t understand why he didn’t want me around and he would tease me and would say mean things to me. It was weird to not feel safe around someone I was around all the time. I was quiet and took on the opinion that it was a bad thing. I ended up trying really hard and probably came off as awkward.
I think the more I meditate and learn to hear my own soul voice, the better I feel.
I remember being laughed at for trying on different things, or speaking up in a new or different way. That experience usually put me back to just fitting in. If I said or did something unusual or wanted to do something that was not approved of, it was a source of ridicule until I gave it up. I’m learning to be more courageous and OK with being myself. I’m learning to listen to my own inner voice, but it’s not as loud yet as the voices in my head of my parents. I find myself teasing myself if I dream of doing something else.
In the SOS meditation I had a never ending supply of things to beat myself up about, but I’m finding that I get bored with it after a while. Maybe that’s the point. I’m finding that I’m more inclined to take action, more than I have in the past, instead of waiting for something outside of me to present an opportunity or give me permission somehow. Instead of waiting until I get invited to participate in something, I just jump in a little quicker.
Now that I understand Shame as something we all carry around, I see it everywhere. It seems that most of what goes on in the world, the wars, politics, even the art and music expressed seems to be expressing different forms of this. It really is apparent the great healing that is needed. I guess first, the awareness is needed before the healing can take place. Are people open to seeing something that they are trying so hard to cover up?
How can we bring more awareness and let people feel safe to see and heal what is there?
I see how I have held up a perfect image of what I think I should be and have been self-judgmental against myself for not living up to a pretty unrealistic ideal. I’ve also tried to fit in to a mold that I’ve realized just isn’t me. At work, for example, I’ve not been inspired and have judged myself as lazy when it’s just not something I believe in and have been trying to live up to someone else’s expectations that I bought in to in order to fit in and be “acceptable” or “normal”.
Now I’m much more mindful about the expectations I have, when I think I’m not measuring up, to take stock to see if it’s my expectation and heart’s desire or something that I’ve bought into from someone else’s, or society’s messages of what I think I should be or want.
I’m learning to just sit and listen and get to know myself. It’s a process and it’s been quiet and enjoyable, and cozy. I think learning that it’s OK to do what I want and be OK potentially not fitting in. That’s a new thing for me. I see the hustle and hassle now that we get caught up in – the rat race and pursuit of some outer reward. I’m contemplating a much simpler, slower lifestyle now that I can choose what pleases ME!
I want to help others, and will use this freedom to find a way.
I realize I have placed so much emphasis on external feedback – how I perceive how others treat me or I project how they are treating me to how they think of me, whether they respect me, like me or don’t even notice me.
This Shame chapter has opened me up to see things in a new way, to touch on a more universal sense of myself.
Emotional Liberation student 2015 Course