How will you rescue you life from the stranglehold of Shame?

How will you stop letting Shame drag you into places which smother, throttle and silence you while you watch your unlived life drain away into the abyss of undefeatable If Onlys?

As I type this, a part of me attempts to reassure me by saying, “Oh, but the shackles that Shame forces upon me are mostly imaginary. They don’t exist in reality. I imagine the censure that I feel directed towards me. Moreover, what I feel is something everyone feels at some time or the other. Just because most of us feel that way doesn’t make it real. It is still imaginary.”

The other part of me recalls that very luminous (and my favorite) Harry Potter quote:

“Professor? Is it all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?”

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry! Why should it mean it is not real?”

~J. K. Rowling

In other words, real or imaginary, as long as I perceive something as real, I must do something real to deal with it. Shame does exercise a powerful and life-altering (more like life-throttling) influence over us. To brush it away as inconsequential will be counter-intuitive and dangerous.

Only when we defeat Shame, can move on to worthiness and from there ascend to the final pinnacle of Wholehearted living.

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connecting to wake up in the morning and think: No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking: Yes I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

~Brene Brown

At the core of the thing that drives your Shame and pushes you over the edge of vulnerability is the thought of being Never Enough. It seems logical therefore, that to blow the entire edifice of Shame and Vulnerability away, you must truly, deeply and irrevocably believe that you are Enough. You must believe that you were born Enough, you are Enough in this moment and that you will always be Enough no matter what you do or do not accomplish in your life or how many times you fail to reach the finishing line.

Never shy away from opportunity and wholehearted living. Never be fearful of putting yourself out there. The courageous may encounter many disappointments, experience profound disillusionment, gather many wounds; but cherish your scars for they are the proud emblems of a truly phenomenal life. The fearful, cautious, cynical and self-repressed do not live at all. And that is simply no way to be in this world.

~ Anthon St. Maarten

Worthiness and being Enough is something I can discuss intellectually forever. I can agree with the concept in a detached, dont-touch-me kind of way and give you superbly valid arguments for why it is the best (and only- since you deserve the best) way you must look at yourself. I can go on about it until the cows come home… or you are blue in the face. Whichever comes first.

But to believe it myself, for me; to let it set up a permanent camp in that place which is only a conflicting mess of emotional extremes and approximations, is a far cry. Agreeing to something logically is very different from accepting it emotionally. To accept something emotionally is to turn over the vulnerability rock and expose the slugs there. And I haven’t really the courage to do that. Not always. It feels safer to crouch in the darkness. At least there I know what to expect.

But I have hope because at least I have agreed with it logically despite all the roadblocks my fears tried throwing in the path. Hopefully, the rest will seep in someday too.

Perhaps, after a while, I will notice, for the first time, a camp n the middle of my inner war zone, set up in chaste serenity. Who knows, I might even see a day when, unbeknownst to me, I will find that the bloody wars are over and the swamps drained away. And a vast field of daffodils stands bobbing their boisterous heads in smiling wisdom. Secretly, I live for that day. I want it so much!

To reach that state of joyous existence, Ms Brown recommends the following three thoughts to become a relentless, daily (and hourly) chorus in your head. That…

1. I am enough. (Worthiness versus Shame)

2. I have had enough. (Boundaries versus One-uping and Comparison)

3. Showing up, taking risks,  letting myself be seen is enough. (Engagement versus Disengagement)

~Brene Brown

If you are anything like me, I bet you’re rolling your eyes. You’re scoffing at yourself and saying, “Who are you kidding dude?! Enough? Yeah, sure you are enough. You’re enough of an ass (or any other uncomplimentary adjective you habitually use for yourself)! You really are the pits! You’re even lying to yourself now! How pathetic is that?”

If you’re anything like me, therefore, here’s what you must know about the three lies truths listed above.

A long time ago, I read that anything we say about the future is a lie. This is because strictly speaking, truth is only a verifiable fact. Since the future has not yet happened, there is no way it can be verified. Thus any statement about the future cannot really be the truth. Hence it is a lie.

Further, the writer argued that since every statement we make about the future is a lie, why should we not make a statement that builds us up and gives us courage instead of draining us of it? In other words, instead of saying, “Oh, I’m never going to finish that” why should we not say, “Oh, I’m going to finish up quickly”? If the latter is a lie, so is the former. No prizes for guessing which of the lies gives you more courage.

Some serious course correction will be needed if you want to live Wholeheartedly. You know that already; you’ve heard it a million times. You’ve read it until the words make you sick. Yet, it has made nary a dent into your armor. That’s because you think such thoughts- excellent for others- are not for you. The whole world may deserve redemption; to live unfettered, joyful and free; but you don’t.

That’s the biggest lie of all- and you know it!

You are Enough; always were and always will be.

Daring Greatly- Enough
Picture Credit: Mine

Daring Greatly: Enough