My husband had moved out following our decision to separate and I was thrown into the world of being a single mother. I experienced shame anytime someone asked about him or told me that they had seen him while they were out. I experienced shame when I posted pictures of myself on social media and someone noticed that I didn’t have a wedding ring on my left hand. I experienced shame when I filled out school paperwork for my daughter to start preschool and I had to mark two separate addresses for her parents.
“I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” – Brené Brown
During this intensely painful time in my life, I found myself comparing my world to that of others. I would look on Facebook or Instagram and admire other families or couples. All I desired was to be wanted by my partner and provide a healthy and whole family for my children. What I didn’t yet know was that all of the power for loving myself and providing for my children was within me.
My first step in healing from shame began when I stopped comparing myself to others by freezing my Facebook account. As soon as I did this, rather than spending my evenings after the kids were in bed scrolling through social media while experiencing sadness and envy, I began to call friends, watch funny TV shows, and create vision boards. Little by little, things shifted. I began to see myself as worthy. Why? Because I enjoyed spending time with me, myself, and I! I joked that I dated myself and I was a really good partner. (Click here for 10 Self-Care Tips)
I started buying myself flowers, taking myself on dates, enjoying my walks all alone, and hanging out with my friends. I even said that I was dating a really cool girl- she liked all of my friends and never complained that we visited with them too long. Maybe this sounds ridiculous, but there was something real and valuable in these moments. I really fell in love with myself. Of course, this didn’t happen overnight and there were absolutely ups and downs in the process, but what mattered was that I was taking little steps that made my life better. When I started to feel lighter and more at ease I realized that I had healed myself of the shame I was feeling.
If you are struggling with shame, take a look at yourself and ask where it is coming from. It may be a result of societal of familial expectations about who you are supposed to be. Ultimately, your value is in you. Change the story. You have a new story that you can write for yourself. You are worth it. You can also check out Brene Brown’s Ted Talk about the listening to the shame in order to heal.
How We Can Help
If you want additional support, we offer some different options:
Tribe Mind Body
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Phone: (303) 351-2364Email: Emily@TribeMindBody.com
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