What are you ashamed of??
I remember being at a particularly low point in my life, struggling with depression, anxiety, and just an overwhelming sadness that I couldn’t seem to shake. Social media was not my friend then. I’d open up my news feed to see happy families enjoying a weekend away together, couples so in love and gushing over each other, people posting their highlight reel talking about how amazing life is. Oh c’mon, seriously? BARF. Talk about kick me when I’m down.
I compared myself to every singe person that popped up, why they were better then me, why I couldn’t be happy like them, it was a total pity party, and I was the guest of honour.
There are 2 very important take aways from this that I did not realize at the time,
Social media is often that, A highlight reel. Because I’ll be honest, I did it too, I posted fake happy so that people couldn’t see my sadness, but the thing is, everyone has their own shit. I don’t know why that was so hard for me to understand at the time, I literally felt like I was the only one out there struggling, I felt like no one could possibly understand what I was going through and that MY problems were somewhat unique and special from what anybody else might be struggling with.
I was jealous. I was judging other people because I was so envious of their “joy.” It hurt my heart to see people happy when I was so sad. I judged every single person who was in love and disgustingly happy with a cynical attitude of “yah, enjoy it now, just wait till he cheats on you with one of your friends and tell me how happy you are then.”
I was a cynical, pessimistic judgmental asshole, and although I hate to admit it, back then I would have much rather enjoyed your company if you were just as miserable, maybe even more miserable then me, it made me feel better about myself.
They say “Misery loves Company” and it is so true. When you’re down in the dumps there is a certain level of comfort we find in knowing that someone else has just as much, if not more, fucked up shit to deal with then you do. We hold those people close, feed off their drama, and walk away thinking that maybe our own life is not so bad.
Up until fairly recently I rarely shared my story with anybody, I mean sure it was no secret that I struggled with depression, that my marriage was on the brink of divorce, that my husband and I went through some really intense shit that would ultimately change us both to our very core, but I still kept it pretty vague, I still had so much shame.
I was terrified to tell people the whole story, that my husband had been having an affair with someone I was fairly close with, that I had been suspecting it for 2 years and he kept denying it, that I believed him every time even though I knew in my heart of hearts he was lying. That I actually started to wonder if I was fucking crazy because I just couldn’t seem to shake this “ridiculous idea.” I couldn’t let anyone know any of that. How foolish would that make me look?? How embarrassing would that be once people really knew our struggles, AND that I was going to stay and work it out. I couldn’t handle that judgment, I was doing a pretty good job at judging myself, I didn’t need it from anyone else. So I kept it a secret, too ashamed to confide in anyone, too broken to even say it out loud.
So why am I sharing this now?? Because I think it is so important for people to realize that everyone has their own shit, we all have our struggles and beyond the highlight reel is actual people just trying to make a go of this journey called life.
I post a lot of shit about finding your joy, about healing your heart, letting go, and moving forward. I do it not to piss you off, not to make you feel worse, but because I get it. Because I know how it feels to be so utterly disappointed in life and feel like you can’t possibly go on, but you can. I did, and so can you.
Even as I write this I still feel a sense of shame coming up. I have healed a ton over the last 6 years, and I’m not done yet. The purpose of this blog is not to look for sympathy, or to make my husband look bad, but to remind you that even the happiest, most positive uplifting people have had their share of struggles, and to compare yourself to someone’s highlight reel is an unrealistic and inaccurate perception of how much better off they are then you.
The shame I felt during this time was heavy beyond words, but when you think about it, what is shame really??? It stems from fear, fear of judgement, fear of what other people might think or say, It’s a trap designed to keep you stuck and right where you are. I kept my secrets to myself for a very long time, even my closest friends didn’t know the real truth behind my struggles, (some of them still don’t) why didn’t I turn to them for help??? Because I knew what I would tell my friend if she was in the situation I was in, and I didn’t want to hear it. I was afraid of the judgement, the looks and stares if people saw us out being happy together, they wouldn’t believe it was real and I wasn’t emotionally prepared to handle that judgement.
When we get rocked to our core, when our whole worlds come crashing down around us, there’s this weird sense of relief, there was for me anyway, it was as if I could finally breathe, like I knew what I knew, I wasn’t crazy, and now, I finally had control back of my life.
I could have chosen to play the victim, to wallow in this poor me mentality (And trust me, I did) but I chose not to stay there. I chose to take this experience and really get to the root of it. To look at it from all angles and see what this shit pile really had to contribute to me.
When we run from our problems, or point fingers and place blame, we don’t really grow. I mean sure, I could have left, I could have slandered his name, got a divorce and meet a new man of my dreams. But I’d have been slightly more damaged, built up new walls and likely recreate the same situation in a new partner, because that’s what happens when the universe delivers lessons, if we don’t learn from the experience, if we don’t grow from it, we don’t pass the test, and then, we just have to take the class over again, and guess what?
It’s likely even more difficult the next time around.
This experience is what started me on my spiritual journey. It is what caused me to look into alternative healing, desperately searching for ways that I could “Let Go” and what I came to realize was that, all my wishes, everything I had been hoping and praying for, was showing up, it was showing up. In the most fucked up way possible, but it was showing up!
I had been asking the universe for a stronger connection with my husband, I had been praying for a more loving relationship, a deeper understanding of one another, I had secretly wanted that mushy gushy gross love crap this whole time, and yet, I could never allow myself to be vulnerable enough to tell him that. (Vulnerability is another important topic but it’s an article all on its own that I will save for another time!)
This experience, fucked up as it might be, was an absolute blessing that has changed my life in some of the most positive ways imaginable. Sure I could have done without the heartache, but then, would I have really grown without it??
It allowed my husband and I to finally tear down our walls, to take off our tough guy masks and just be real for a change. It forced us to talk about our fears, our insecurities, or deepest most darkest experiences that had messed us up long before we had ever met. We had been together for 4 years at that point and this was the first time that I think we really bared our souls to one another. It was our shame that had built up all those walls in the first place, and yet, here we were, just adding to the pile without even realizing.
Whenever we feel shame, regret, guilt, and even blame, it will keep us stuck and stagnant in this perpetual loop of more of the same. Holding on to our shame and regret keeps us in this sad story, it keeps us from seeing that we have a different choice. We can’t change the past, and to be honest with you, even if I could, I’m not sure I would. I have learned so much and come leaps and bounds from the person I used to be because of it. Do I wish I could have learned the lessons without the intense heartbreak?? Of course, but if I had to go through that heartbreak to get to where I am now, then I would choose it again in a heartbeat.
We have all made mistakes, some bigger than others, but really, how would we ever learn and grow without them??? If you did everything right, made all the right decisions every time, and never had any moments of poor judgement, you would be the exact same person you had been 20 years ago, and I can imagine that’s not even close to the person you are today. Without these experiences, we have no reason for growth, and in my opinion, if you’re not growing, you’re dying!
This is just one instance of learning the hard way that I’ve experienced in my life, and trust me, there’s a lot more where that came from! But I’m no longer ashamed of who I am, I won’t hide what I’ve been though, or where I’ve come from anymore because it’s shaped my character in ways I am so proud of. So when you see my FB blow up with inspirational and optimistic jargon and you feel like you want to reach through the computer and throat punch me yourself, remember, I’m on the same journey of life as you are. I yell at my kids when my patience runs thin, I judge my body as not being thin enough, I have falling outs with friends, and I sometimes pick fights with my husband for no reason other then I think I’m just bored. I am human and I make mistakes, and the more mistakes I make, the more I learn and grow, and the more I learn and grow the happier life gets.
Hold your heads high my friends, there is no shame in who you are or what you’ve been though, be proud of every single shitty experience you’ve ever had, it has moulded and shaped you in to who you are today, and who you are is amazing. Don’t ever forget that.