Self-Care Tip #219 – Check your read. Be a friend to yourself.
I’ve been reading the comments on suicide, thinking and reading and starting who knows how many posts for today, but just couldn’t pull it together. I spent my time rather drawn to the same words that I hear so many others say as well in clinic, in church, on the street, in the home. Instead of seeing them find their place in me like I normally do with this kind of crowd, the words kept their space; word-snobs – crutch, selfish, dependent, moral and other words, dusting and reapplying in their reflection.
I had to think, “Why? Why am I staring like this?” And so the rest of the day, I perused those thoughts, licked my finger, flick, next, paper-cut and so on. After all, this is SELF-care I’m talking about, implying I am starting with me.
At last, after rereading yesterdays and past comments, I found the shame I was avoiding. Why I feel shame about these things isn’t important in this post. (Maybe another post. So if you have nothing else to keep you reading, you’ll have that dish to bait you.)
Shame comes when implied or direct judgment creeps into our space. It herds us. We are bullied and lose our personal boundaries. It touches and violates. That is what shame does. Any time our perception of freedom feels threatened, it is normal to want to defend ourselves. Separating from stigma is a normal response.
Claiming the shame, however, isn’t forced on us. It is our choice. Once we own the shame, then wanting to get away from reminders of it, of course, is natural for anyone. But jog back and see. The perception of shame was never forced on us. We are free. We are free to feel, to perceive, to believe, to choose or to stop rubbernecking at the sparkling drama.
He made me so mad…!
She really hurt me.
You ruined my life!
I don’t want to take medications because my husband makes fun of me.
I take Prozac but I don’t have mental illness. I’d be ashamed to…
It is a normal response to not want to be in the space where we feel these things. That is natural and what many have thought worth fighting for. But what if our perception, our Sixth Sense, wasn’t getting a good read? A war might have been avoided. Our lives might be lived differently.
We really are free, already, to choose.
Question: How do you see shame affecting your ability to be friendly with yourself? Or others? How have different perceptions put you in a place that felt more free and safe? Please tell me your story.
- Run Away, Run Away, Run Away Home! (psychologytoday.com)
- Dealing with Shame in your Daily Life (faithallen.wordpress.com)
- Leah Anthony Libresco: In Defense of Shame (huffingtonpost.com)