We all strive to be happy and to live a fulfilling life. This means following your dreams, speaking your truth, daring to be authentic and stand up for who you are and what you believe in. Speaking your truth even though some may not like it.
That takes courage!
Courage – cour means heart in french. Courage means to listen to and follow your heart. Go out and do whatever it is you have to do to follow your heart, even when your knees are trembling and your heart is racing. That is daring greatly.
I know that feeling so well – don’t you? When it comes I remind myself, if I want to live a balanced fulfilled life I must, listen and I must dare.
When I am too scared to do it I really feel I am betraying myself and it creates imbalance, I feel discontent. Not that I always get what I go after, but I have to try.
Trying is a success in itself – because even if we fail, at least we tried. We feel the emotions that comes with failing, we let go and move forward.
“It is hard to fail , but it is worse never to have tried to succeed” Theodore Roosevelt
Dr. Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. When I think of courage I think of her. In her books she puts herself out there. She tells the world about her shame and her vulnerabilities and she shares from her heart.
Her new book Daring Greatly is about the courage to engage wholeheartedly in our lives. About embracing vulnerability and imperfections. About Daring Greatly.
Springtime is full of new beginnings. It is time to let the light in and and the darkness out. Its time to breathe in the fresh air and the new life and let ourselves bloom like the flowers in the garden.
But there might be things that are holding you back from the full bloom or to from spreading your leaves out.
Try to look within and see if there are any old grudges laying around, shame, fear or pain that need to come out in to the light and be embraced, loved and be set free. In fact the things we have felt the need to suppress and store, are the things that need the most love and compassion.
Sometime we store experiences and the accompanying emotions inside in a corner of the soul, because it was too painful to deal with them at the time. But those emotions are still in there and draining us of energy and new life.
I am not telling you to forgive, forget, move on and pretend. We know it doesn’t work to suppress and pretend it robs us of health and happiness. It is important to feel the emotions of the experiences we have had in order to truly be able to forgive and move on. In fact, forgiveness comes naturally when we have felt the emotions.
I encourage you to look in, be gentle and compassionate with what ever comes up. Is there anything that is causing you pain or regret? Write about it, talk about it, feel it, share it with someone you trust – do what ever it takes to finally set yourself free.
” And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin
The truth is:
You are worth it You are lovable You may speak your truth You may feel and have all emotions You may be YOU with all there is
I love this poem by David Whyte – Questions that can make or unmake a life
if you move carefully
through the forest
like the ones
in the old stories
who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
So what has shame to do with health? just Everything! Just think about it. How do you feel when you feel shameful, hurt and angry. Your body is tight, your shoulders are up around your ears, you have a knot in your stomach and a tightness around your chest, your breath is shallow, your thoughts are dark and maybe the big hammer is hammering away with messages like – “Gosh you are so stupid!” “Why did you do that?” “Will you ever learn!” “You are so fat!” “Why can’t you never do it right” …ad nauseam…
And how about “old” shame? Stories that have been in our families — maybe for generations? Addictions, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect – shame we feel deep inside, shame that makes us feel different and inherently defective, flawed and bad. The feeling of shame we hide from the world, we want no one to see it, we keep it hidden in the darkest corner of our soul. We overwork not to feel it, we overeat and drink to numb it out, we sabotage ourselves, we criticize ourselves, the world, our children and our spouse. We pretend to be happy and hide our vulnerability.
It affects us deeply to feel shame, on a cellular level, it even affects our immune system. It affects the choices we make, it affects how we sleep, how we eat, how we show up in the world, how we love, how we parent. When we feel shame it is easy to chose to comfort ourselves with red wine and creme cake. Shame rubs us of health and happiness. It takes away our energy and focus on life. We are caught up in a web. All suppressed emotions – are not just suppressed, they actually build up in the body causing havoc inside – stress, depression, anxiety, addiction …….
In my life it was addiction and abuse that was my secret shame. I never talked to anyone about it, I hid it from the world and smiled while I desperately….desperately, tried to hold the shame down so no one could see it or find out that I was actually flawed, defective and not good enough.- But it was like a beach ball it kept coming back up.
Shame works like a really effective defense mechanism. While I was “busy” thinking it was me who was defective and flawed, focus was away on my true feelings. Feelings of anger and pain for having been abused and for having had an addicted mother who could not be there for me.
But shame can only live in the dark, shame thrives in the dark – as soon as we bring it out in to the light, talk about it to someone who will listen with empathy and without judgement, it dissolves! It is not about blaming or acting our feelings out! – It is about feeling those emotions connected to the experiences we have had, sharing them, going through them, having a benevolent witness to those feelings. When we do that, we feel like a ton of weight has been lifted from our shoulders, we forgive, we feel love and connection, we feel joy and we move on.
When we feel shame it’s like an alarm clock – it’s time to stop up and figure out what is going on. We are not born with shame – feeling shame is just telling us something is wrong – something needs our attention. We need to shine love on it, be gentle with it and reach out for help and connection.
Vulnerability is not a weakness, it’s a strength and it’s beautiful- it’s here we come from the most authentic place within us.
Dr. Brene Brown is a researcher in shame and vulnerability – she is such a great inspiration and I absolutely love her. I have devoured her 2 books ” I just thought it was me, but it isn’t ” and “The gifts of Imperfection”. I recommend her books wholeheartedly! Find them in Anne’s Favorite’s
Be positive – is something we hear often or even say to others. However it is very hard to be positive in an authentic way if there is something underneath that is bothering us or even hurting us. It is like a beach ball, if we try to hold he bugger down down under water, but it keeps coming up to the surface as soon as we let go of it. Shame, pain and worry are all signs that we need to find a place where we feel safe to talk – share how we really feel from the heart with someone who knows how to be compassionate and listen.
Quite often when we find out that we are not alone shame disappears and the pain dissolves – feelings are not dangerous. They are there to guide us.
When we suppress our needs and feelings, it creates an imbalance that we may experience in many different ways: lack of sparkle, stress, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, overeating or addictions etc. These symptoms are also the body’s way of getting our attention to the fact that something is wrong – that we have become disconnected from ourselves.
Underneath dissatisfaction, stress or low self esteem are feelings. Many of us have had to disconnect from those feelings because they were not accepted where we came from when we were little. That is totally natural and in fact very wise, we needed to survive. The problem is If we cannot feel them we will not know how to protect ourselves, set boundaries or feel what is good for us. Feel what it is that we need to do in order to feel content again. The feelings have a message for us and we need them in order to navigate in our lives. Feelings are our personal GPS they are part of our true nature and when we start to sense them again, we receive balance and harmony in return, a sense of contentedness and freedom. This is where positive and happiness comes natural and not as a thing we try to pretend we are.
Jung said: Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens
If you feel there is something underneath that stops you from feeling content and happy I recommend:
Meet with a trusted, supportive and compassionate friend and share
Consult your diary – diaries are great. Here you can write anything and no one needs to see it. Pour your heart out on the pages
You may want to find a good therapist, coach or psychologist
Be compassionate and mild with yourself
Meditate, take some time to be alone
Even if we are not quite sure what is bothering us talking, sharing, writing and meditating are all ways to heal.