What a shame...
Do you know which are the most annihilating emotions, emotions that affect your life, from which you try to escape in every way by engineering the most varied and sometimes unconsciously complicated strategies and solutions? Humiliation and shame.
When for the first time in your life you are humiliated, either physically or psychologically, you lose your sense of wholeness and you start feeling vulnerable; this is a feeling so intense and so strong that it takes your breath and your power away. It drains you and, in that moment, something breaks inside you. Your relationship with yourself changes forever.
Humiliation and shame mark you with fire. From that first time you change the way you deal with anything. You become shy, or arrogant and overbearing, you defend yourself or learn to hide behind excuses, justifications or lies. In all cases the strategy you build has the same purpose: to avoid falling into such annihilating and devastating emotions again.
Try to look back or to look inside and tell me if this hasn’t happened to you as well. There's definitely a moment in your life when you've stopped feeling unassailable and at peace with yourself. Before this point you felt so; then, in that moment you had to start dealing with the fear. The fear that it could happen again. The fear of again experiencing a situation where someone else has the power to make you feel so vulnerable, so small, so defenceless.
I do not think I have yet met a single person who has not gone through an experience of humiliation and shame. The scar is usually deep, but more than this, the scar reflects the sense of inadequacy that this experience has left. It is from this that the lack of esteem begins to sprout, the lack of trust, the sense of powerlessness, the feeling of being incapable of something, the phobias. And sometimes these things grow to become anxiety and depression. Humiliation and shame are the roots of the biggest lies we believe: that we are unworthy, that we are not enough. The very nature of humiliation and shame make us fall headlong into these convictions because we are unwilling to talk to someone about that terrible feeling, and so we keep it all in, we continue looking at it from a thousand angles, feeling worse and worse, drowning in it.
How different would your life have been if, from the beginning, someone had taught you not to believe this lie. The lie of your inadequacy. No one is inadequate, we are just confused because instead of looking inside and learning to understand who we really are and where our personal power originates from, we look outside and we compare ourselves with stereotypical and often inappropriate parameters that make us feel unworthy and inadequate. The problem is the trust we place in listening to the rules of the world instead of the rules of the soul. And this happens simply because we have learned to do it, listening and copying what adults around us have learned and modelled for us.
You need to listen to something else.
You need to understand how you really work. Your personality is not your deep identity. There is a difference between who you learn to be and who you really are. And the measure of the distance between personality and identity is called happiness. When your identity is reflected perfectly without any compromise in your personality and in the life you are creating, you are happy. The wider the distance, the more you leave space for the personality to dictate the rules of the game, the greater the sense of disconnection, lack of meaning and unhappiness that you feel.
It took me years to acquire the ability to see and understand the roots of my identity and I will probably use my entire life to manage my thoughts and emotions so they do not take me to certain dead ends. But it is absolutely wonderful and so powerful to understand that there is nothing inadequate in me, even if I don’t match any obvious benchmark accepted by others. There is nothing wrong with me, even though I often feel alien to what surrounds me. There is nothing that does not work in me, even if I am not able to do what many others do.
Everyone has her reason for existing. Even if the others around you cannot grasp it. Your true job is understanding this reason and playing it to your best.
(Pic by Caleb Wood for Unsplash)