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!

If this post was helpful like it, share it, subscribe and live it. 

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.

Thick skin = the key to creative greatness

leaving-your-fears-insecurities-behind-1090x614

Nearly a decade ago I brought some lyrics I had written to a friend.

She’s a wonderful songwriter whose work has always resonated with me.

It’s nice to have friends that you can also be fans of.

When I approached her I told her that I wanted her opinion.

What I was really looking for was for her to say  “amazing job Jim”.

What I got was something very different and yet a thousand times more valuable.

“Can I be honest with you?” she asked.

“Of course you can” I replied as my heart sank.

I was really thinking “please don’t”.

She went on to tell me she loved my lyrics but that I didn’t write melodies that ever made her want to listen.

Ouch!

You have felt ouches like that before.

How did you respond?

For most of us that’s when we become cry babies, throw tantrums and start to spin.

Some of us get so shut down from the slightest criticism that we become paralyzed.

She didn’t stop there.

“You need to slow down, think about how your melody supports the theme and consider how heavily your musical influences are influencing you.”

Easy to hear?

Nope, not even a little bit.

Was she correct, kind and courageous in service of my work?

Completely and utterly.

Did her suggestions work?

100%

Your greatness will expand in direct proportion to the thickness of your skin.

You can be precious, protective and insecure…

You can be in search of perpetual pats on the back.

You can be insecure in a way that will forever keep you from getting good.

Not being able to get to good means having no shot at becoming great.

If you see yourself in any of this, here are a few items to consider.

 

  1.  Ask for what you really want.  If you are looking for critique ask for critique but if what you really want is encouragement then ask for encouragement.

 

  1.  Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are asking.  How many people can you imagine are asking them for advice in a typical week?  Can they do it better than you?  What is their schedule like? If they are a professional,  are you willing to pay for their time? Before you get upset about not getting a response or not getting the response you want, see your request through their eyes.

 

  1.  When it comes to your creative pursuits most of your friends and family will not usually be honest with you in the way you need them to be.

 

  1.   When it comes to your creative pursuits most of your friends and family will assure you that they are being honest.

 

  1. Remember, you are the artist.  In the end it is your name on the project.  Know when to stand your ground.  Part of having a thick skin is about humility but the other side of that coin is confidence.

If this post was helpful like it, share it, subscribe and live it.  Follow Jim Trick on twitter @JimTrick  Are you ready to try life coaching on for size?  Email ThatLifeNow@gmail.com today!