Despite our best efforts, life happens.
Plans come tumbling down like a stack of cards. I’m typing this on my iPod on the side of the road, dressed in denims, in an ultra religious neighborhood. Believe me, this was not in my plan!
But here I am, with a puncture and waiting for some person to come and assist me, for $50. The guy I called laughed at me because I actually used the call in number – Well, what the heck is it there for if not to be used? He said that today, women should know how to change tires.
All I could honestly respond was that I’d never been taught.
And that got me thinking.
How much do we beat ourselves up for our behaviors when truthfully, we knew no better? We’d never been taught any other way.
Two of my clients have recently expressed shame at their behavior in their late teens in relationships with boys/men. They both spoke of cringing at the thought of the inappropriateness of their actions. They both expressed huge disappointment in themselves.
When we spoke and I asked, “Did you do what you knew?”, they both immediately responded, “Yes!”
Neither woman/girl was being outwardly promiscuous. Neither was behaving out of their learned/modeled experience. In fact, like so many of us, this was really an attempt to get love and attention. And to experience our sexuality when we really knew very little about it.
A constant taboo area.
But that all being said and done, the troubling part is the shame they have continued to harbor within their Self. It is that shame which is the poison. It is that toxic shame that manifests later as illness, unhealthy relationships and self sabotaging behaviors to name but a few areas.
I know about this gunk. I’ve hung out in shame, hidden in shame, probably even wallowed in shame. And it served me not! And it serves you not! Listen up, big time:
You are on track. You are doing your best with what you know. Yes, there’s plenty more to know about absolutely everything but you really can’t ever attain all that info. That’s the vista on the drive of life. The mountains, valleys, deserts, lush forests of the trip.
And here’s the gigantic paradigm shift: Forgive yourself. Forgive your current you. Forgive your infant you. Forgive every splinter of you that you have been punishing for screwing up along the way.
On my first parenting course I learned that Behavior is Purposeful. Read that again. Behavior is Purposeful. You did what you did because it served you. You did what you did because nobody taught you any differently.
Darling Woman, Forgive Your Self.
Now here’s where the road takes a turn. When you recognize that old patterns and behaviors, born out of shame or otherwise, no longer serve you, it’s time to make changes.
It’s time to seek out new ways. It’s time to reprogram your responses. It’s time to seek out new teachers to grow from and evolve into a deeper, more authentic version of You. And chances are, since as the expression goes: When the student is ready, the teacher appears, if you are reading this, you are ready for change. You are ready to learn new ways.
So I lovingly challenge you:
- What is one memory or pattern you hold onto with shame?
- Where are you chastising yourself for doing your best?
- How are you going to move forward on your Journey and relinquish this unserving pattern?
Take the time to answer these questions. Share them in the comments below. Let’s open up a dialogue of healing. Let’s have the courage to share our stories, our pains so that others draw strength from this openness and navigate a new, empowered way of being. So that we all know better and can thus do better.