What’s your story? What are the parts that make up your life? Do you love some parts and hide others? Do you try to make up another one that you want others to see? Do you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live? Are you tired of the results you’re getting in life? Your family? Your job?
You have a unique story of your life and your experiences are not like any others’. You’re the only one that has lived those unique experiences. Other people, including your family, have lived many parts with you yet you are the only one that has experienced it in your own skin. You have created beliefs about your experiences that may or may not be true. What do I mean by that?
You’ve had challenging experiences that were or are still unpleasant. You may have difficulty overcoming certain parts of your life that you’d like to change such as an addiction, poor view of your self worth, overweight or perhaps a sour personality. You may not feel good about your role in certain experiences and you’re not proud of yourself. Because you don’t measure up to how you think others want you to be you start to make up another story in the hope others will accept you. You hide your true self. You fear letting others see the real you because you believe they will turn from you and may not like you. This whole process may even be subconscious and you’re not even aware you’re hiding your true story.
What causes you to hide your true self? In a nutshell it’s shame. Shame you carry deep inside that has a nagging little voice and is pulling you from joy, happiness and abundance.
The truth I’ve discovered is how far reaching shame has gone into the fabric of our society. A society “dripping with words like perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity” according to Brene Brown. At the root of this is a feeling that
“I’m not good enough as I am, so I need to be something society says I need to be.”
Shame Based or Wholehearted Living
I’ve learned that people can actually be placed into two broad categories. The first category are those who have a bruised inner child and do not think they are worthy of love, belonging and acceptance as they really are. These people hide their true stories and make up a different story for every person they know. Can you imagine making up different stories for every person you know? How much energy would that take?
Everyone has a need to connect with others and those in this shame based category that hide their true self believe they are not worthy of connection just as they are and have to make up stories in order to have others accept them and hopefully be able to connect. But connection to others is the key to a rich life. Shame draws you away from this lifeblood that connection provides.
Ever do something like this? “I better not let Suzi know how unorganized I am because she’s the most organized person I know. If she knew she would hate me.” Or what about this one. “I’m going to wear this oversized dress because I don’t want anyone to notice that I’ve gained a lot of weight. I really hate my look and so does everyone else.”
According to Brene’ Brown, Ph.D in her book, “The Gifts of Imperfections” people in this category live in some form of shame. She is a shame researcher and story teller at the the University of Houston and has compiled literally thousands and thousands of stories from people that led her to this conclusion.
Shame Words (The Don’t List): perfection, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgment, and scarcity.
She also discovered the other category of people. Those who do believe they are worthy of connection through feeling worthy of love and acceptance just as they are. She even coined a name for this group. They live Wholehearted lives.
It’s hard to always hide your true self (pretending to be organized for Suzi when you really are not). It takes a great deal of energy to be something or pretend to be something you’re not. It’s takes courage to be vulnerable and let your true self be seen. But that is exactly what living wholehearted does. It’s scary to be yourself because there is a chance others will not accept you (if Suzi will not accept you because you are disorganized then it’s time to remove Suzi from your life).
If you’ve developed the unhealthy belief in hiding your story (shame based living) you must pass through the dark of letting others see your true self in order to find the light of wholehearted living. For me and others who have challenged the dark and found the joy of the light, has discovered it’s way easier being vulnerable than being fearful (I care about Suzi but I accept that I’m unorganized and will let it be seen. I hope she accepts me for who I really am). I did say it’s easier being vulnerable but I didn’t say it wouldn’t take courage. It will take a great deal of courage to let your true self be seen.
It’s being authentic. Brene’ Brown defines being authentic as “The daily practice of letting go who you think other’s want you to be and embracing who you really are.” It’s having the courage to accept yourself. It’s working daily to overcome the feelings of inadequacy and comparison in order to believe you are worthy of love and belonging just as you are. It’s reconnecting to your inner child and healing the abuse and pain it feels from negative experiences that helped it believe it was in adequate.
Wholehearted words (The Do list): worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, gratitude, and creativity
You are enough just as you are and it takes dedicated work to learn to understand that. Regardless of the story you either made up or hid behind to connect with others in the past, you are worthy of belonging just as you are. Your inner child is there waiting to be nurtured from the time it began to be abused. The deep connections you’ll now make by living wholeheartedly will give you great joy. I discovered that it’s way easier being me instead of the make believe pleaser, performer or perfectionist. My inner child is awesome!
How to Begin a Wholehearted Life
You are Worth a Life of Wholehearted Living
I love you for exploring this topic! You are worth living a wholehearted life without the baggage of shame. You are enough! You are worthy of love, acceptance and belonging!