I knew it. I’d known it for my whole life, but I felt like anyone could smell the ripeness of this truth on my skin that day and for many years to follow.
I wasn’t smart enough, thin enough, young enough, energetic enough, independent enough, and spunky enough. The list was endless.
I wasn’t enough of so many things that would make it possible for someone to love me unconditionally. Of course someone who possessed everything that I wasn’t would appeal to my husband and who would want me?
It was my worst fear confirmed.
Everything that I had hoped would never see the light of day was now blinding me.
We all have those places that we try to keep hidden. We feel like imposters when we get a certain job, we feel vulnerable when we wear a bathing suit (or terrified), we fear that we ARE too sensitive and no one will love us just the way we are.
We don’t work hard enough or we work too hard.
We are too fat, or too bony, or too loud or too awkward.
We are not enough and too much of something all at the same time. If someone finds out and worse, someone we love or someone that our livelihood depends on-we’re laid bare and will be turfed out on the street, smeared with shame.
We fear that our inadequacies will be brought to the light and we will drown in their truth.
What if that’s all a lie?
What if it is our vulnerabilities that make us beautiful and unique and true?
What if it is our quirks and sensitive souls that actually fill this dim world with light?
What if, while we are so desperately tying to fit in, we may stumble upon the few with which we belong. What if some extra pounds and boisterous personality is just what makes us deliciously loveable and more than worthy of desire and true love?
What if when we allow ourselves to show up and be seen for who we really are we shine a light into the world that only we can?
What if, by living out loud, with all the lights on, in the most brave and courageous way, we give others courage to do the same?
After my ex husbands affair I thought of writing a book with the first chapter being called “Cellulite and Wrinkles”. I thought it was fitting as that was all I could see; what I thought were flaws, all that made me clearly unlovable. I would use the chapter to write about my ‘uglies’ and I would feel redeemed by hoping to shine a light on my shame.
I did a lot of work to climb out of my pile driven shame hole that I quite frankly had dug most of myself.
We weren’t meant to be perfect, we were meant to be us.
Flaws and all.
Cellulite and Wrinkles.
Shame is a liar, it whispers that we aren’t enough, it yells from a mountain top when we’re about to apply for a new job, go on a first date, deal with a terrifying health diagnosis.
YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH!!!
Hide, shrink, shrivel if we must, but don’t risk the vulnerability of being seen.
When the truth is, the vaccine for shame’s ‘taunts’ are self compassion that warmly rubs your arm and says “Oh honey, of course you're afraid-this is terrifying, but so are so many good things, show up and at least try”, and the salve of empathy from another courageous soul that walks alongside and says, “Me too, I know that darkness, that slimy pit of ‘not enough’, but you’re not alone”.
Suddenly shame’s grip is loosened and its chokehold is not so tight. Perfectionism; shame’s sultry side kick, suddenly not so appealing.
Just because things don’t always go our way and we are clearly not perfect and beautifully and belovedly imperfect-we are enough. We are smart enough, good enough, worthy ‘enough’ to live a life of courage and truth and as we own that others will walk alongside us in the brave marriage that is courage and vulnerability, to create a small revolution of brave warriors that make a new whole hearted world.
Let’s lay down our shields, lay down our swords of perfectionism and lower our defences. Real life, rich living and true love are on the other side.
Take up courage, embrace bravery; show up and risk being seen-that’s where real living begins.
Will you join me?