How I said goodbye to guilt and shame

shame

There’s a chubby, embarrassed, terrified little boy who lives inside me.

I didn’t want anyone to know he was in there, so for years I tried to hide him.

Because I was ashamed of the things I endured as a kid I created masks and coping mechanisms that were great for compartmentalizing and compressing, but terrible for healing.

I connected with him few years ago and we’re cool now.

Shame is made out of guilt, regret, embarrassment and feeling worthless and unwanted.

Shame shapes, stops, cripples and unfortunately, sometimes, seemingly breaks us.

It may be born out of that thing that happened to you.

The way you were treated as a child.

That thing you never talk about and carry as a secret.

Perhaps you’re ashamed of where you come from or the choices of those closest to you.

It might be the embarrassment and regret of your own choices.

It’s like a boulder we carry.

Will you put it down for just a minute?

Seriously, if you need to pick it up for a bit longer you can, but for now set it down.

Good.

Now let’s look at it.

You couldn’t really see it that well while you were carrying it.

What’s it made out of?

No surprise that it’s heavy.

It’s heavy and it’s expensive.

What has it cost you?

How has shame kept you from being who you really want to be?

How has it held you back from doing what you really want to do?

Have you had enough?

If you just thought “yes”, here are some ways to get free.

1.  Recognize that you have choices.  You can’t change the past but you can stop it from eating away at your future.  If you find yourself always behaving like a victim and looking for ways to be easily offended, then the shame has found a nice home for itself.

2.  Be honest about the ways you have used shame as an excuse.  Do you have a mission or purpose that you are afraid to fulfill and have you used shame as a place to hide.

3.  Forgive:  the person who hurt you, he teacher who was horrible to you, yourself, your ex, the kids that bullied you in school, your dad and your mom.  Forgiveness is not about saying what happened was ok.  Forgiveness is about saying it wasn’t ok, while finding the strength to let go and move on.  Forgiveness does not require you to put yourself in harms way again,  but it does provide a light for the road ahead.

4.  Seek redemption.   Whatever you have been through, someone else is going through it right now and they need your help.  Think about where those people are and go to them.  That thing that you have been so ashamed of might become your life’s work.

No, this work is not easy, but there is a powerful, amazing life waiting for you on the other side of your past.  I invite you to engage the process of healing from your shame today with the hope that the steps you take will ultimately lead to brighter tomorrow.

For one on one coaching with Jim Trick, email ThatLifeNow@gmail.com or call 978-994-0431

Follow Jim Trick on twitter @JimTrick

Life coaching is the deliberate process of helping people identify and achieve personal / professional goals.    Coaching tends to focus on the present moment with special attention to a desired result.  Focused conversations create an environment for growth, purposeful action, and sustained improvement. Coaching brings a myriad of benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence.

Fat people are funny!

 

A man sits on a wall in the Canary Wharf financial district of London, April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Simon Newman

Fat people are funny!

Nineteen years ago, in a tiny, dark studio apartment I sat and ate a large sausage and extra cheese pizza by myself.

The electricity had been turned off because my financial life was as out of control as the rest of it.

I had already had dinner with friends but like many of us who are or were morbidly obese, dinner with friends always looked normal.

It wasn’t what I ate at dinner that caused me to eventually become 430lbs.   What caused me to get that large was what I ate secretly, alone, in shame and on this night, literally covered in darkness.

I ate the last slice and called the electric company.  Shortly after the lights came back on, but things were no brighter.

No one knew…

Food wasn’t the only thing I was hiding and the amount of energy I put into being someone I thought others would want to have around was exhausting.

Years ago, when I reclaimed my life and transformed my body I lost more than weight.

It was in the process of saying goodbye to unwanted lbs that I was able to say goodbye to the part of me that felt it needed to be more ,in order to be loved, accepted and included.

In my case “more” equaled funny…

As my body changed, countless people said the following.

“Wow, you look amazing! Are you still going to be funny?”

Seriously, countless and usually before I even opened my mouth.

Others, after random conversations would say “You look great, but you’re not as funny as you used to be”.

When it became clear that this was going to be a common theme, I called my friend Gina and told her about what people were asking and saying.

“Gina” I said, “people are telling me I’m different now… They are saying that I’m not as funny anymore”

“Thank God!” she replied.

At the heart of her exclamation was the fact that being a clown all the time was not the full measure of who I really am.  She made the point that not being my authentic self was not only not good for me but also not good for the people with whom I was connecting.

She reminded me that what people really needed was for me to be real and that in being real I would free others to do the same.

That is my encouragement to you.

The part of you that feels it needs to do more, be someone else or put on an act so that people will love and accept you, serves no one.   Getting free and discovering how to be the real you is a gift to yourself and to the world.

Here are a few steps towards greater authenticity.

Check yourself – By becoming self aware we are able to discover where we feel most ok.  Begin to notice when you naturally feel at ease and connected without putting on an act.   Also take notice of when you feel on edge and find yourself putting on a show.   Those cues will enable to you know when you need to pause and connect with the real you,  you long to be.

Know who your friends are – Spreading yourself too thin relationally ensures that people will get less of you.  Deep friendships are a two way street where you give but you also get.  One sided friendships are not real and will drain you if you are the exclusive giver.  In a balanced relationship you are more likely to be real and from that place you are free to serve your loved ones better and ask for what you need.

Free yourself to fail – For me, trying to be funny all the time was my  way of making up for people having to be friends with me.  My opinion of my true self was so low that with humor I was trying to apologize for who I was. Not only do you have nothing to intrinsically apologize for but by being honest about where you actually miss the mark you will find a way to heal the parts of your relationships that  need it.

 

Are you ready to try life coaching on for size?  Email ThatLifeNow@gmail.com or call 978-994-0431 today!

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Follow Jim Trick on twitter @JimTrick

Life coaching is the deliberate process of helping people identify and achieve personal / professional goals.    Coaching tends to focus on the present moment with special attention to a desired result.  Focused conversations create an environment for growth, purposeful action, and sustained improvement. Coaching brings a myriad of benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence.

How to lose a bunch of weight & make a bunch of money! Part 1

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A schmear, by yiddish definition, is a little bit of something tasty applied to something big and tasty.  (a bagel with a schmear of cream cheese for example)

When you ask for a schmear of chopped liver on a pastrami sandwich at the 2nd Ave deli, they will translate that into about a quarter lb of some of the best stuff on earth on a sandwich the size of your head.

Continue reading

Don’t get over it, go through it.

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This post is the 3rd in a series based on the well-known poem “The invitation” from Oriah Mountain Dreamer

“It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow.
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed  from fear of further pain.”

My mother’s voice was shaking with sadness and shame when she told me about Herman.

Our beloved dog was elderly and very unwell.

When she found him unable to walk to his food bowl, she knew she had to make the brave and difficult choice to end his suffering.

I cried and cried when she told me and although I was only in the sixth grade, I knew she had done the right thing.

She is as strong as steel.  In many ways she filled the role of mother and father for me after my father  suffered a stroke.

I always knew there was nothing life could throw at her that she couldn’t navigate with grace, strength and wisdom. That’s why it seemed unnatural when she said that she would never have another dog.

Saying goodbye to Herman and making that decision was too painful.

Losing a pet is terrible, but as you read this your own moments of deep sadness, loss and betrayal may be coming to mind.

The friend that let you down…

The loved one who left too soon…

The lover who stopped loving you…

The tragedy so tragic that you are still haunted by it all these years later…

What contracts have you signed based on your pain?

What vows have you taken?

I will never:

trust

love

volunteer

perform

or _________________ ever again.

Perhaps you made your version of that agreement without even realizing that you were doing it.  As if the feelings and activities associated with your heartache got put into a box, stored in the back of the closet never to be opened.  Sometimes you may see it in there but you always quickly look away.

If this is you, I have good news.   The contract you made with your heartache is revocable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not proposing that you can just “get over” whatever put you in this place, but I am saying that if you have made an agreement with the actions and behaviors attached to your heartache, you do actually have a choice.  Here are some tips for next moves.

– Work to  “touch the center of your sorrow.”

This may be best done in the presence of a professional, mentor or wise and committed friend.   Whatever support network you choose, connecting with and leaning into your pain is important.

Robert Frost was on the money when he said, “The only way out is through.”  (No Alanis Morissette did not come up with that line on her own.)

–  The practice of just sitting with what “is”, is powerful.

So is learning not to hold on too loosely or tightly, but rather observing the full range of thoughts and feelings that come up when you choose to be with things that are hard to be with. Go slow.

– Understand that no feeling is final

Your behaviors attached to the event don’t need to be either.  Sure, initially that thing you swore off might not have been right for you. In the same way that your feelings have evolved, your behaviors most likely could as well.

– If your heartache is associated with loss, consider how your new actions serve your lost loved one as a living tribute.

– Ask yourself what trying to protect yourself from further pain is costing you, and what you have to gain from taking small steps in a new direction.  

No one knows what its like to walk in your shoes, but in today’s post I hope you know that you are not walking alone.

The love that’s in between

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Between the Creator and the world

When your feelings are hurt

Love

When you are offended

Love

When you are lonely

Love

When you are angry

Love

When you are afraid

Love

When you are frustrated

Love

When you blow it

Love

When the end is near

Love

Your

Self,

without shame, confusion or excuses…