Oh GOODNESS, it is time to talk about self-worth and shame. Which is an absolutely terrifying thought and because of that, SO incredibly important for me to do.
I believe that something magical happens when we open up about the things we most want to keep hidden. When we speak our shame out into the world, we take away its power.
Through this process, our greatest shame and vulnerabilities can be transformed into our greatest strengths, but first we have to lean into them and own them.
So, here goes. This is me leaning into my shame.
I am ashamed of where I am in life. I am ashamed that I’m thirty years old and still don’t have a college degree or a real job. I’m ashamed that I can barely afford rent in this housing market and that I have student debt.
My story is that I have made ALL the wrong decisions in life. That I have no skills, no qualifications, no area of expertise, no money, and no idea how to make money. My story is that there is nothing I am good at (or will ever be good at). My story is that I will never be good enough or capable enough.
My biggest shame in life is not who I am, but what I have and have NOT done.
Well, yes and no.
Yes, because INTELLECTUALLY, I know better. Intellectually, I know that every moment has gotten me to right here and now and that in this moment I am exactly where I need to be. Intellectually, I know that the experiences I’ve had have all been an important part of my process, my journey, my healing, and my growth. And intellectually, I know that I’m pretty fucking awesome.
At the same time, it’s not so silly because what I’m feeling is true for me and it weighs on me, some days more than others. Wanting to add value to this world in a way that also bring ME joy and fulfillment is the thing I want most in this lifetime. And for the life of me, I still haven’t figured out how to do it.
As I’m writing this, I just realized that my very first blog post was titled “The Timing is Always Perfect” and I guess this is a lesson that I will have to relearn over and over, every single day. Either until I actually get it, or until my time here is done.
When I was in Tulum a couple of winters ago, I was out at a bar waiting to meet a man from Columbia whom I had danced with the night before. I was with two girlfriends and was feeling nervous and a bit insecure. This guy was dope and such a good dancer and I began to doubt the connection and chemistry I had felt the night before.
In other words, I had begun to doubt MYSELF.
Within just a couple minutes of listening to this, my friend Mo looked me straight in the eye and said “Riah, if only you could see yourself from this guy’s eyes. You would know how incredible you are. This guy is the luckiest guy IN THE WORLD.”
I’m not telling you this to boost myself up or to let you know how cool I am. I’m telling you this as a reminder that WE are our own greatest critics. And no one knows this better than me.
Last week, when I was having an (oh-so-attractive) emotional and spiritual breakdown, the incredibly kind and patient man in my life was holding space for me in an amazing way. He didn’t try to fix me or offer advice or make things better. He didn’t add fuel to the fire, he just listened.
And then he said something so simple and so profound, it rocked my world. He said, “Riah, the things you are struggling with are the hardest things in this life. The fact that you are trying to create a job that you love, that is creative and fulfilling, financially freeing AND having a positive impact on the world, is amazing. Some people don’t know that’s even an option. Some people aren’t even going to try. Don’t be so hard on yourself that you aren’t there yet.” (I think I paraphrased a bit, but it went something like that).
So folks, I just want everyone to know, that from the outside world’s perspective, we are ALL crushing it.
And, we ALL have shame! MINE just happens to be tied up in career and accomplishments. Maybe yours has to do with body image and self worth. Or maybe it’s relationship and communication. OR, maybe you’re ashamed of how lonely you feel or how overwhelmed you are or the fact that you feel depressed and anxious all the time. Or maybe you’re ashamed that you don’t have shame 😉
Whatever it is, it’s ok. It all just part of being HUMAN.
I think what I want to end with today is THIS. Please don’t let your shame eat away at you, please don’t think you are on the only one dealing with it, and please, oh PLEASE don’t give your shame more power than it’s worth.
Set it free!
Set your shame free. Shine light on what you are ashamed of and scream it out into the world.
In other words, set YOURSELF free and then watch your world transform.