Updated: May 5, 2019
It’s so interesting how everything comes full circle. Last week I was speaking with my therapist and I mentioned to her that I am a perfectionist. I said it with such pride you’d thought I was a military vet wearing a badge of honor. She smiled when I said it and that made me beam even more! She went straight to her phone and I began to question, “what is she doing?” I thought. She started speaking about perfectionism briefly and then stated she wanted me to hear something regarding the topic. The YouTube video started and before I knew it, “it” was staring me in the face again. I listened as Dr. Brené Brown spoke about perfectionism and its correlation with shame and fear. I wanted to melt in my chair. Surely, if I could have magically turned into one of the animal crackers I was snacking on – I would have gladly settled for any one of them. Yep, the monkey with no legs or tail because all three pieces are in the bottom of box – I’d be that just to get out of the room at the time. Why, you ask? Let me explain.
For a very long time I struggled with unwavering shame – never feeling good enough or worthy enough. It’s thought provoking that I’d even write the word “enough” in this post, as if I could only achieve the lowest level of worthiness – if there even is such a thing. Why not just “worthy?” …To be honest, I can’t completely recall when this warped way of thinking began but it’s definitely haunted me since early childhood. I’m sure it’s haunted many of the people reading this post actually. In fact, some are still haunted and mask it with material gains. I’ve spent years covering and masking my shame in accomplishments. I was an honor-roll and “principles breakfast” (old school Scott’s Branch ish! Lol) student throughout early childhood; I added the mask of high heels and make-up by the time I reached high school; in college I was a dean’s list student, an active member of several campus organizations and graduated as the campus ambassador holding the title of Miss University of Maryland Eastern Shore. I continued my education and obtained my masters degree. I became a licensed Social Worker prior to graduating in May of 2017. I’m now gainfully employed and have a successful business along with other creations yet to be birthed. I’ll preface this next comment and say I know and acknowledge that not every successful person is masking shame – however, every single one of those accomplishments was simply a moment of my ‘run.’ While I am blessed to have accomplished many things, my conscious suppression of the issue aided in my unconscious development of self-destructive behaviors – those being counterproductive to the achievement of my truest desire, love. I have been running from the shame instead of addressing it and today God said enough. God literally made me face the shame I had been running from for a very long time.
There I was, in my office at work trying to focus on my assignment but struggling because all I could think about was a phone conversation I had just ended. I felt beat-up and attacked. I couldn’t understand why this person was literally shaming me out-loud. What happened? How did I mess this up? Why wasn’t I “perfect?” The inquires for myself were taking over. It was there and I couldn’t run from it. It permeated my work-space to the point that I couldn’t concentrate at all. I called my best friend and explained what happened searching for answers to all the questions swirling in my mind; I even went into the story with a trusted colleague/friend to gain new insight. Eventually my best friend needed to hang up and my colleague needed to get back to work, which left me alone with my thoughts again. I felt like I was going to go nuts sitting in the hot seat of shame. Desperately I searched for something edifying to feed my mind. I opened my YouTube app and there she was, Dr. Brené Brown, staring at me from her TEDtalk entitled “Listening to Shame.” “No breaks!” I screamed out-loud to God. I’m sure my employees thought I was talking to them lol. I was hesitant and nervous. Fear wanted to paralyze me and my flesh wanted to allow it; my spirit knew better. My spirit knew this was God divinely orchestrating my healing. So I intentionally faced it for the first time and I pressed play. Instantly, downloads from God began rushing my soul. It was as if light bulbs started coming on rapidly one by one. Not only was I having a growth experience, I was witnessing it! I was conscious about what was happening as it was happening. I literally began to have somatic responses wherein my stomach began turning in knots and my breathing became shallow. My flesh hated every second of it, but my spirit felt free, and THAT’S how I knew for sure it was a growth experience. My spirit soared and felt the cool breeze of God-given freedom. I had found peace in my broken place.
Know that for the next level God is taking you, you must experience transformation. The woman that you are becoming MUST shed people, places, things, behaviors, and thought processes that no longer serve you; but the only way to shed something is to first acknowledge it’s presence. Choose her over everything and shed intentionally knowing that God is faithful. That experience in it’s entirety lasted 3 days. It was one of the most painful experiences I can remember having in quite some time; and while I felt defeated initially, I thank God for the experience because I got exactly what I needed – to face my shame and grow.
Love and Light!
Brittany 7.0 Brittany 7.5
“God I’m grateful for your divine intervention, for your marvelous works, and for your unfailing love.”