I was having a conversation with my friend, Paula, telling her about an exchange I had with another woman. The woman started throwing these insults my way that I just could not understand why, or what she was trying to tell me. Paula made the remark that she sounded like she had a lot of self shame. I had never heard this term before, so I asked questions and then set about my own investigation into this new and intriguing behavior.
What exactly is self shame?
Self shame is just like self esteem. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Both are based on your feelings for yourself and both are based on the perception and opinions that others have of us. Self shame is obviously a negative connotation, but self esteem can also be negative if it’s considered low.
Both are your own manifestations of self, based on what other people think of you.
How freeing it must be not to care what someone else thinks of you?!
How about to not care what anyone thinks of you?!
That’s a movement I can get behind, within reason. I would like to reach that goal, but with decency and decorum foremost in mind. In other words, it might not be a great idea to go shouting, “SCREW YOU!” to the world while you go your merry way, not caring what anyone thinks of your newly found carefree attitude. I’m pretty sure you can make it to Nirvana without pissing everyone off along the way.
Here’s where I tell you, “It’s easy! Just do this!” Except I maybe don’t have those easy answers this morning. I am even considering that it may even be a hard path for me to traverse, but I am willing to give it a try.
Based on what I have written in my blog over the last eight or so years, you would think I had evolved past that caring stage, right? You’d be wrong. I am not so bad as I used to be though! When I first started writing about the trials in my life that were deeply embedded under my skin, what people thought about me was the biggest one. I was so butthurt over so many incidents I felt I was suffering through and they were all about gossip I was told or insults I perceived as directed towards me. If I were as evolved then as I think I am now, I could have saved myself a whole lot of time!
Here’s the real thing…all of those perceptions broken down into truths were simply that person’s own insecurities and fears about themselves. What did any of that have to do with me? Was any of that really my business?
Recent gossip about my mother-in-law hating me, found me confronting the woman that said it, only to find out her mother-in-law hated her too. Naturally it felt good to her to find someone else in the same boat, except I wasn’t keen on the whole gossip/deflection/humiliation side of that conversation. It made me feel ashamed to have to explain that to someone that didn’t know me, didn’t know my situation and probably didn’t give a crap to find out either, considering it came to me as gossip anyway.
There it is, folks.
I read quite a few articles on this topic and the one thing they keep coming back to is the difference between perception and truth. Perception is not always the truth of a situation. What someone thinks is not always a fact, however they have the right to think it and even to tell other people what they think. You have no control over that.
Let’s face it. A huge segment of your world are people and many of them are small-minded, Gladys-at-the-window-peeping jerks. They are always going to be looking for that one crack in your armor they can exploit in order to make themselves feel better about their own cracks.
Do you really want to know how you can stop caring what they think?
Stop looking out your own window.
If you’d like to follow an incredible soul to learn more about how you can have a happier and more fulfilled life, consider checking out my friend Paula. She is the angel that sits on my shoulder. Love. Life. Om
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