Recently when traveling between Utah and Salt Lake counties the alternative radio station I was listening to, slowly evolved from a Weezer song into an Evangelical Christian sermon. I didn't even notice at first, as my mind was wandering on to other things, but a simple quote struck me quite plainly into realization that my entertainment had changed. To my disappointment, I cannot recall the wording, but the quote was about shame, and it's effect on our perceptions of our own self worth - and it's negative impact on motivation.
I hadn't really every thought about shame before. Have you?
Shame is literally defined as a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.
I can admit here that I don't really face shame as result of guilt... and if we're being frank, I don't really face it as a result of impropriety either. So, use those wonderous powers of deduction and figure out where my struggle lies.
My heart sank a bit, if we're being honest here, as I realized for the first time that I was dealing with feelings of shame. This realization coupled with a realization that I'm not really as strong and independent as I'd like to envision myself, has had me in some sort of unsettled state ever since. Honestly? I was mad.
There are several factors in my life that impact these feelings of "not being enough". Some are self-inflicted, some are not. Some I can control, some I should be able to control better.
I'm not trying to be dramatic here, but it's something I think we can all help each other with. Here's my advice.
The internet is a magical thing and unless you and I don't know each other in the slightest, you know that I have a deep love for social media. But you know what else? Social media platforms make it pretty dang easy to compare yourself to other people. You can see 'likes' and 'fans' and 'connections' all on top of photos of happy glittery times, fancy foods, new purchases, new jobs, elaborate soirees, fun-packed weekends, and so so so much more.
Have you ever had this thought?
It seems everyone you know is doing something cooler than you.
Here's piece of unsolicited advice, #1. Remember that people are typically only posting highlights via their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. Consider the information you see there to be like "first date" information. It seems all glowing - but no one's life is without trial and tribulation.
Unsolicited Advice #2. Maybe you don't deal with shame, but likely someone you interact with does. Don't constantly mention that your house is too small - maybe theirs is smaller. Don't repeatedly verbalize that you think you're fat - especially if you're not - because they'll feel three times as fat as you. You get the idea where this is going.
Unsolicited Advice #3. Do whatever you need to do to cut yourself some slack. Other peoples' words (and actions)- especially those close to you - can so intensely impact our feelings of self worth that if they're causing those feelings to lessen, a reality check is needed. It's pretty easy to feel inadequate these days, and the people that are out there causing those feelings to intensify are simply, just miserable people. Don't let them win.
Unsolicited Advice #4. Inevitably there are going to be things you're naturally good at and inevitably some of your friends and family will not have those same strengths. Just because it's easy for you, doesn't mean it's easy for everyone. Perhaps something that seems so simple to you is someone else's biggest life challenge. Be patient. Be supportive. Be appreciative. Be kind. Notice other people's talents and let them know that you do.
I got some amazing advice from my oldest sister right before I started my freshman year of college. In summary she said, "Now that you're an adult there is no more single path to follow."
All I'm asking for with this post is that you succeed - the way you're supposed to.... not the way everyone else is.
Shame is sometimes used as a motivator but I attest to you that it is not. Shame damages, sometimes irreparably. Don't spread it and don't succumb to it, and most importantly don't let it overshadow your amazing-ness. Because, well... you know, you're amazing.