Shame resilience (Dr. Brené Brown) is something I think about constantly. To paraphrase, it’s the ability to override that negative shit-nugget voice in your head and DO THE THINGS ANYWAY.
Self-loathing, doubt, and judgement are constant nags for many of us. This voice feels SO real and true and familiar, but it’s only chanting hot pain into our skulls. If we build up resilience, construct a barrier within us that holds back the hateful static, develop a sense of self that can’t be penetrated by our own/others critique of us, it’s a LOT easier to live in our heads, and we can’t be stopped from striving toward our goals.
It’s a very narrow, VERY narrow, path of faith in myself I’m walking right now, and because my shame resilence barrier is more of a mist than a brick wall currently, there’s very little lining my path to stop me from stepping back into the self-doubt and loathing. It’s like the “floor is lava” game kids play, if the lava is self-hate. There are acres of lava, that awful feeling that pings my gut and tightens my throat and makes me feel the need to apologize and backtrack, all around the path. And, the thing is, I’ve been living in the lava for most of my life, so it feels, definitely not comfortable, but familiar. My foot hits the lava and it takes effort to pull it back on the path, because in some ways, the lava is easier, it is known. The path is foreign and so thin. It takes a lot of mental energy to stay on it.
I have gained and lost shame resiliency many times over the years. Somewhere in the last year and a half of pandemic parenting, moving, losing career and letting go of our business, losing and leaving loved ones, and so much of my stable footing slipping, my resiliency wore out. It got to the point that every single thing pinged my shame and anxiety, and I wasn’t even bothering to try to defend myself. It was all lava.
But…a path has emerged. So now my job is to keep it on high ground and build some solid walls around it to keep the lava back. One brick at a time. One quiet, thoughtful reaction to my shame triggers, one moment of grace for myself, a small forgiveness, a hand out for help, one day at a time.
Imposter syndrome is the other facet of this. Weeks (on years) of self-work have permitted me to declare out loud that I plan to write and will keep pushing until my words are read. I put it out there to the universe…but as soon as I did, I thought, “Oh, God, did I put the cart before the horse? The intention before the production? Am I just bullshit and soon everyone will know it because I dared to draw attention to my wants?”
And then I breathed and raised my chin and read this poem and put myself back on my path. One tiny step at a time.
Our Deepest Fear By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness That most frightens us. We ask ourselves Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small Does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking So that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, As children do. We were born to make manifest The glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.