Beliefnet
You Can Sit With Us

http://www.ellentv.com/videos/0-j563y6g8/

 

Well, it was the end of the year kindergarten party at my son’s private school and I could feel the anxiety welling up in me as I pulled into the school. I finally found a place to park amongst all the Mercedes, Range Rovers and Lexus. Who I am to judge, I drive an Audi? However, I just did not really enjoy these parties and I thought to myself as I was making my way to the front door of the school, Why? At first, I just chalked it up to” Well, Shannon, you are an introvert and introverts don’t like small talk or really socializing with (in reality) complete strangers.” Yes, that is it! I proceed to walk out on the play ground where they had a gigantic water slide set up, the kids all lined up and each one having a ball flying down this big slide. Then, I see the mother’s standing on the side lines. I notice that some are talking to one another and some are standing by themselves, smiling at their children. The closer I get, I notice all eyes on me. I smile and say hi and proceed to the area of what must be other awesome introverts. I thought it was me who just feels like this….

After the party was over, it really got me thinking about why I dreaded these gatherings so much and believe me, there will be many, many more.. Soccer parties, birthday parties, school parties..UGH. I told myself just take it one day at a time because the thought of all that was in the future was just too overwhelming.

My research began with my close, very small, inner circle, You know the one I am talking about? Your soul sisters, your life line, your support system, your drinking buddies. The ones you can tell anything too and it will never leave that inner circle. I called the first one up and said, “What it wrong with me? Why do I dread going to these gatherings so much? I feel like I have nothing in common with these other women? The couple of other girlfriends I spoke with all said they felt the same way too, but why? I needed to get to the bottom of this because these posts are for you, awesome women and I do not ever want you to feel alone so if I have to be the geuine pig, so be it.

Shame is what causes those feelings of not measuring up. That word just sounds awful but it is an epidemic in our society that we don’t address and very much need to. Shame is something we all experience and if we don’t talk about how it affects our feelings, thoughts and even our behaviors, the more power it exerts over our lives. Most people assume shame is only for the unfortunate who have “survived” some type of trauma according to researcher, Brene’ Brown. However, every single one of us is dealing with shame on some level. Let me give you some real examples that I gathered from others who were willing to share their shame they hide away in the dark corners of their minds…

 

  • I feel like I can’t relate to other women who are married because I am divorced. I feel I am being judged even though they have no idea the pain I have endured.

 

  • I am 42 and I am still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I feel like everyone else around me, has it all figured out and I am left alone, trying to make sense of what I am doing and who I am?

 

  • I look around at all the mothers at my daughter’s school and think, why can’t I get it right? I am the mother who is always late and my kid is dishelved compared to all the other little girls with bows in their hair and dresses pressed.

 

  • I am always comparing myself to other women physically. I think sometimes I look Ok but most times I feel inadequate. I am always finding what’s wrong instead of what is right with me.

 

  • My husband and I are sleeping in separate rooms and our marriage is very broken but we both put on a fake smile for the world.

 

  • The “popular” girls at my school are always giggling and pointing and I just know that they are laughing at me. I don’t understand and I feel so out of place at that school. It makes me very sad.

 

  • I am a single mom and I’m terrified of the future because I don’t have a plan, a home of my own, a savings, or insurance. I feel like no one understands what I am going through.

 

  • I question if I am good enough, everyday and it haunts me.

 

  • Why does it seem that everyone else has it together but me?

 

  • I feel like women don’t really want to be real so we all walk around pretending and that makes me feel shameful. Sometimes I want to scream and say, it’s ok we are struggling but then I realize, they will think I am crazy so I stay silent.

 

 

  • My husband and I don’t have sex anymore. I feel like he is not attracted to me and wonder if he is having sex with someone else.

 

  • I am lonely!

 

 

These are all examples of shame not guilt. Shame is self focused while guilt focuses on the behavior. Shame is what prevents us from going for all that we want in our lives from our dreams, to our work, to our relationships. Shame can be, if we allow it paralyzing because it says…

 

You are not good enough

You are not smart enough

You are not talented enough

You are not financially secure enough

You are not pretty enough

You are not loved

 

Because of shame we have to mask and follow the ridiculous rules of our world’s view that says you must do it all, do it perfectly, look sexy, and never let them see you fail.

 

What is so crazy is how backwards society has it! Did you know that Failing is actually a good thing? Yes! But people don’t view failing as a positive because of shame.

 

Some of the most successfully people in the world have failed miserably over and over and over again but the difference is that they did not allow shame to take over their entire being. They kept getting up and trying again. Shame is not something we can totally remove from our lives but we can begin to recognize it and put it in it’s proper place. Failing gives us strength, it humbles us, it allows us to have compassion for other’s who are not seeing the results of their efforts.

 

Shame for women is a bunch of conflicting emotions of who am I suppose to be but for men it is only one and that emotion is shame = weakness.

 

When we finally get the courage to be open about what we are going through we get the crap beat out of us and most of the time ladies, it is by each other. So therein creates more shame.

 

How do we start breaking down the walls or stop” freezing” each other out? By being vulnerable, less judgmental, and more real with one another. Life is so messy but each and every one of us is going through some type of storm and wouldn’t it feel so freeing to know that you are not alone? When we are willing to let go of all preconceived notions and begin to be honest in our deepest struggles, that is where the real treasure lies. That is where the blessings are…

I want this post to start a discussion among women so we stop pretending to be someone we clearly are not. How can we ever reach our full potential if why don’t start being honest with how very difficult this life is? Vulnerability takes great courage and courage is where your breakthrough comes.

 

Shame is not of God, Shame is of the enemy!

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood , but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness- Ephesians 6

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