Trapped, powerless, and isolated most certainly describes how women feel when living with shame.
As I am preparing for an upcoming Authentic ME! Workshop for women, it occurred to me that shame has been the thread woven through the fabric of the women in my family for three generations. Until now, I had only stopped to think of my personal shame, not that of my mother or grandmother.
Breakthrough and Reconciliation
This week my mother and I have had a breakthrough and reconciliation. Why? Because I was willing to risk shame and be vulnerable. So was she when she opened up for the first time and expressed feelings kept inside for my entire life. This opened the door for me to be empathetic, which freed me as well.
A few years ago, I asked my mother why couldn’t she love me. Her response was not what I expected. She asked, “What is love?” That should have been a clue for me that she needed something never given to her – love. If she could not define it, then it was not her reality. All I could think about at the time was myself and how it made me feel. I failed to think about her core message. She did not know love. She could not express love, and that was final.
I expected what my mother was supposed to be like my whole life. I judged her by an unfair standard. As a child, I could not reason with her men’s choices or why we ended up in domestic violence situations. I could not make sense of her alcohol abuse. I saw my mother as weak and difficult to understand. What did I understand about the issues she dealt with? Very little, until I began to experience my own adult life.
When I stop to think about her life and all that I know she experienced, it is heartbreaking. Sometimes, I wish I could take her back to her younger years and help her make different choices. Of course, I might not have ever existed if that were to happen. When I think of my life, I do not get sad or have regrets. Why? I understand all of how I can grow and develop my life. I embrace the notion of true self-help. My mother is of a generation that does not subscribe to it the way we do now.
Therefore, I am empathetic to her situation and will be much more patient when interacting with her.
Connection with Others
Authentic ME! The community of women I serve has allowed me the opportunity to grow immensely, both by sharing my stories and listening to theirs. As we explore our identities, what we have overcome and accomplished our lives become connected in a way that enhances our personal ability to live a better life. This is my mission. To see women live their best life and reach their highest potential.
The Next Authentic ME! workshop will be Sunday, April 25, 2021, at 2:00 PM PST. The focus is on shame. We will: work to understand how to recognize shame and understand the triggers, practice mindfulness to enhance self-awareness, and use writing and intentional creativity to excavate some feelings that need to be put in a healthier perspective to enhance your emotional well-being.
If you are currently a community member, you have access to the workshop Zoom registration information. If not, go here to become a member of a safe growing community.