It’s rare that you get to hear someone open up about something that really causes them pain. Not external pain, but the kind of pain that we try to hide, the internal pain, the flashes of memories that haunt us when we are all alone, when we are weak. Shame usually rears its ugly head when we are struggling with confidence. Struggling with and even questioning who we are.
Today on the RRP173 “ask me anything” episode, Rich and Julie shared a story of shame. Personal shame. It was prompted by a question about dealing with the pain of a past decision, and what unfolded was Rich admitting to a mistake that he made a few years ago. You can tell that he feels that it was more than a mistake, it was a crack in his character. He has such a solid persona and always has fantastic advice for others, but this slip-up has obviously been eating at him for years.
When you ask big questions, set big goals, and start to pursue things that you are passionate about, you will inevitably hit some tough times. You will start to lose faith in yourself. You will mess up. You’ll make a choice that doesn’t align with who you think you are. You will feel as though you took the “easy” road, and you will feel weak because of it. But life will move on.
Later you will say something, or do something, or see someone and ROAR! There it is. Shame. A memory of an event from your past where you made the wrong decision, where you were presented with some options and you picked the wrong one. You copped out, you went against your character. You listened to the ego. You failed and most likely hurt those around you in the process.
Sound familiar? So what should you do? Rich says that you need to share your shame instead of burying it, and I agree.
When you start to work through your shame with those around you, with your friends and with your family, you will start to chip away at its very power.
In meditation there’s a concept of watching your thoughts pass, instead of resisting them, you’re supposed to just let them pass by. The grip of painful thoughts will strengthen if you struggle with them, if you resist them, if you push them down. By sharing your shame with others you will weaken the control it has over you. It won’t happen right away, but overtime you will be able to reduce the resistance and the shame will be diminished, forgiven, and even understood.
Then you will realize that the “easy” choice that you made wasn’t as easy as you originally thought. In fact, it was the hard road, and you are now stronger and wiser because you have journeyed down it. That journey is over, you are on a new path, and your internal compass is stronger because of it.
I don’t leave comments very often on the internet, but I couldn’t help myself. Rich and Julie really shared from their hearts and I wanted to thank them. Here is the comment that I left on his podcast page:
This episode is a raw and authentic expression of what it means to be human. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for shining a light on my path.
You guys came into my life about a year ago and I’m a better man because of it. You have inspired me to push my body, clean up my diet, and to enjoy the journey. That would be enough, but your message doesn’t stop there. In fact it goes much much deeper. Your story and example of living have shown me that the internal work is where truth and joy are found.