I’ve had some incredible opportunities come my way lately and I should be excited. I should feel like doors are opening, like I’m on track, like I’m moving forward.  That’s what we all want, right? To start on a path and feel like FINALLY, I’m getting somewhere!  But, there is something that is holding that excitement back like when you stand up too fast and realize the room has a low ceiling.

I meditated for several days trying to get to the source of this fog that was clouding what should be a celebratory time.  Why can’t I enjoy this moment? Why can’t I enjoy this achievement?  And the answer was shame.  The shame from the disappointment that accompanies failure.  You see, I’ve been here before taking this risk on myself, my talent, my dream and I fell.  Actually, “fell” might not be the word; “plummeted” might be more accurate.

By all accounts, I had started a great career as a professor teaching what I love – music.  My parents were proud, I was proud and most of all I was safe but, that dream of mine kept tugging. So, I gave up my noble profession to give to myself and at first there was a lot of promise… and, then there was nothing. So I tried to be safe again, found a great job (not as noble as my last but good enough) but, yet again, my dream kept tugging.  This time I said, “Yes, I can do this.  All or nothing!”

I expected to work hard.  I expected to have to wait for opportunities.  What I did not expect was this “shame” ghost haunting me at the first sign of real progress.  Shame, I am learning is just another manifestation of fear.  Shame tells you don’t be too happy because what if it doesn’t work out? You know, like last time.  Shame keeps your joy at bay so you don’t “go back down that road” (as if you didn’t learn anything from your failure).

Shame is the extra-long leash that attaches the dog to the property.  You know, like that one cartoon where the dog is attached to the tree in the center of the the yard.  it appears as though you can venture out into the world and as soon as you go to far, you’re yanked back.  That’s because Shame remembers how much trouble you caused the last time you were let loose.

So, what do I do? Keep going.  I was first praying for my shame to be healed, but I quickly learned, you CANNOT heal shame. It is a byproduct of fear and so like fear, it needs to be FACED.  You face shame by taking a step forward in spite of it and you find the strength to take that step by forgiving yourself.

Have you had this experience? Anyone feel me out there? Let me know in the comments! :-)

– Queen D. Scott

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Photo credit: Rob (https://flic.kr/p/C3ijo)

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