Three years ago, when I was at my absolute lowest point in my life, I decided that from here on out I was going be candid, and honest with my kids, my family and friends, and my counselors. I would't sugar coat it and I wouldn't hide anything.
I was going to be an authentic me.
At that point it didn't occur to me how unrealistic and impossible a goal that was, because I wasn't being candid and honest with myself. and God and I were nowhere on that list.
Fast forward through the bumpy start I got and a few new mistakes that set me back before I could continue to move forward and here I am. FINALLY learning..I am learning that I haven't thought very highly of myself. I am learning that while I hope and believe that I have some good in me, I don't recognize it in my daily actions and I give myself little credit for it being there. I think I've accepted bad things that happen to me, because in some way I must have done something to deserve it. Roll your eyes if you must but it's true....this is how I felt
My awesome counselor Greg asked me a simple question....What is the difference between shame and guilt. So of course I told him what I thought (don't I always). Shame and guilt are the same things. I really had never thought about which one I was feeling because I felt like they were interchangeable.
In reality shame and guilt are too different things. I read a book by Helen B. Lewis, and she said explained in words that made sense to me, that the experience of shame is directly about the self, which is the focus of evaluation. In guilt, the self is not the central object of negative evaluation, but rather the thing done is the focus.’ While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one’s actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person.’”
The book goes on to explain why I have never "genuinely" felt "guilty" about any of it. I did feel something but it wasn't guilt. It was always something I did to myself.The DWI, the lying, the manipulating was all pertaining to me and how I felt about myself as a person. I didn't process how it made other people feel because I felt like I was doing it to myself. The deep shame you feel as a person clouds genuine feelings of guilt over what you did or caused someone else to feel. I would apologize to someone but it was more about making myself feel better not really about apologizing to that person.
Ouch! Very painful realization to come to......
Learning to let go of shame is a really hard thing to do. I feel like though, that at least I can recognize it now though. Instead of shame on me....
Sometimes this is me...
And sometimes yes, I own this one right here....
But I'm finding even more often...and authentically, honestly, wholeheartedly I know with out a doubt I know that I am this....
Loved by my father in heaven, although I fail him often he has never failed me.
Loved by my family, both of them (blood and not), maybe not always in the ways I thought they should but always in the ways that I needed.Some of the most profound lessons I've learned have been from my experiences with my family. And even though I didn't learn them as a child I am okay with having to wait until I was an adult. Because the point here people is that I learned anything at all..
Loved by a man who for some reason puts up with me, who gets me, who needs me and sticks around purely because of the person I am, and who we are together. He is immature and maddening and not perfect...which makes him perfect for me.
Loved by my babies who truly are the best thing I have ever done. Hands down they saved me..and continue to save me. I've learned so much more from them than I could possibly have taught them.
....to be continued