shame and love
If you WANT something you’ve never HAD before, you have to DO something you’ve never DONE before…
This is a lesson that took me FOREVER to learn!
How would I know how to find positive, caring love if I had never had it before? Obviously I was doing something wrong, but what? I found the problem was I had never learned how to trust myself or others properly.
But how do we learn these things when we’re 40 or 50 years old? First we must unlearn the bad lessons we have learned in our past.
As discussed in my recent book, How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust and Your Own Inner Wisdom, I interviewed hundreds of midlife singles and found that:
“most of us have a back story which strongly impacts how we see ourselves, and what we deserve when it comes to love. You know, those bad experiences from decades ago, when you felt so ashamed and rejected, and you knew that love was not for you…
Deep down in your unconscious, lurking quietly, you may have persistent and unfriendly voices which repeat over and over again to never, ever trust another again with your heart.
Sometimes it feels like a permanent certainty that you do not deserve to meet someone who has the potential to love you unconditionally. Or perhaps you feel like you have done everything you can to improve yourself, but everyone else seems damaged beyond repair.”
It is essential that each of us re-visit our abandonment or betrayal stories, and especially the lessons we think we have learned from them.
How has your perception of that story changed over the years? How about the deep shame you may feel from previous breakups? Do you need a reality check?
Does that old rejection story hold far more power than it should in your present world?
New research says America is the land where numbing out is much preferred to being here now. Did you know more Americans are now dying from prescription drug overdoses than car accidents? Vicodin is the most prescribed drug in America today!
The present adult cohort of Americans is more in debt, addicted, obese and medicated than any previous cohort in U.S. history. In other words, choose your addict whether it be shopping, food, or drugs, we apparently cannot handle being present for our own lives. And BTW, those past age 40 are also more depressed and suicidal than ever before also.
WHY? I have my own theories on why we much prefer numbed to feeling fully alive and engaged. What is numbed? Having no feelings about our lives and where they are headed. Too many of us have decided that we no longer want to feel anything, because feeling fully engaged in our lives might mean that we would have to feel ashamed, vulnerable and perhaps unworthy at times. But when we give up on feeling the “bad” feelings, we also lose access to all the great feelings we might feel today, feelings like joy, gratitude or simple happiness. When we are numb we lose access to our own power to change the world!
I have learned through my own personal transformation process that working through your own feelings of shame and unworthiness is the only path to authenticity. Yes, there will be times when you feel like a loser or inadequate to the challenges life brings your way, but these feelings are all workable. You can change your feelings about yourself and your life and move on to become the author of your own life.
Shame is such a big issue in our culture today. That’s why I chose to write my masters thesis on it and study it in depth. I also included shame theory as an essential component in my new book, because most of us need some instruction in how to free ourselves from strong feelings of guilt and shame.
You are NOT simply the sum total of everything anyone ever told you you are. Midlife is when you summarily discard all the trips anyone else has ever laid on you, and finally decide who you want to be in the world. It is a time to realize your own power, to be strong enough to find the courage to become exactly who you are, and then finally let that light shine in the world for all to see.
Think of all the ways you could make a difference. Believe in that vision. Living the life of the numbed is no way to live! Decide what you must do before you die and take your first small step towards that goal today!