Don't Give in to Shame.

I'm going a little deep with this post. Far deeper than is typical or maybe even necessary, but here I go nonetheless. My apologies in advance.

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. 


  1. Bless you, my child for writing this! This really hit home for me, Lindsey! Before I became so involved with social media, I believe I was more confident in who I am. It almost seems like a popularity contest at times and that I'm the awkward little girl who was filled with self doubt in my very early years. Where did I go in one simple year of blogging?! I will heed your unsolicited advice!Thx, sweet lady!

  2. Anonymous4:41 PM

    I really liked your perspective on this. I agree -- I usually wait to update my FB status until something awesome happens to me or one of my children. I don't put the crap on it since I don't see that serves any purpose either. But, I need to remember that's what other people are doing as well. Be excited for their good fortunes but know that you have your own as well. I love what your sister told you and I hope to remember to tell my children that later on as they prepare to leave the nest.

  3. I think you are an amazing person and I am proud to call you my friend :)

  4. Well, said!! Thanks for writing this, I needed it today.

  5. I don't know you, but I agree with everything you said and try to conduct my life accordingly. Shame is a wasted emotion in day-to-day life. Let's reserve it for those that SHOULD be feeling it (enough said there). We can't possibly do all or be all and I have accepted that long ago. I am happy that my friends have some happy times to share on social media, as many others don't have this. Such postings make people feel good about themselves in that moment, and that is a good thing. However, we all know the realities of life. I have one friend who has a very challenged life daily and I admire her for being able to pull a few minutes of happiness out of that to share with us. I'm sure it gives her the strength to carry on. Thank you for your lovely post.

  6. Love this. I will take unsolicited advice from you any time.

  7. I love the quote by Stephen Furtick, "We compare our behind the scenes to other people's highlight reel." So true. Comparison equals despair. Though I love that Social media is a great place to share our wins and victories, I agree that we should watch our bragging meter. More than anything else, I love that you reminded me that I need to be more worried about me than anyone else and that I can chose to take offense or not. I think that we (yes I include myself) can get easily bruised or offended when it's not intended and we should all be more forgiving and understanding.