When I was six years old my dad died. To this day, I only have two memories of it. The first is my mum balling her eyes out while she told us. The second was standing next to her at the front door while she told someone that my brothers and I would not be going to the funeral as, “it wouldn’t be right”.
Mum wasn’t provided for and had to go out to work. She was a nurse in private nursing homes and often worked nights, so we were the original Home-Alone-Kids. When I needed mum the most, she simply wasn’t there.
With mum not being around I thought I had to keep my pain to myself, so I began hiding. When I cried, I cried alone, and I cried a lot. So I would hide a lot. Not surprisingly, I developed a nasty temper that would see me fly off the handle at the slightest thing.
OUR HIGHER SELF
I believe we all have a Higher Self. A part of us that is perfectly joyful, peaceful and loving. This part of ourselves instinctively knows how we should treat ourselves and others. Whenever we behave in a way that is out of alignment with that Higher Self, I think we feel ashamed of ourselves – whether we realise it or not.
Every time I lost my temper I created more shame. As an adult whenever I get angry I can feel this and the recognition calms me down quickly. But when I was a kid, I was just too busy being angry to notice anything.
Yes, I had a temper because I felt alone and wasn’t sharing my pain, that much is obvious. But underneath all that I think it was the shame that simply created a cycle of temper – more shame – more temper. SHARE THIS!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I was a bed-wetter too. Right up until I was eleven years old. The shame I felt every time it happened was immense! Mum was just too busy and stressed to be kind and gentle about it. It was just something else the poor woman had to deal with.
The bed-wetting was probably exasperated by the ballet lessons. My sister was a professional dancer and I think they thought it would be good therapy for us(?!). We went from the time I was seven until eleven.
All the girls would gush over how cute I was. But I didn’t feel cute – I just felt stupid! And I told anyone who would listen. But to no avail. Everybody knew I hated it. But we had to go every Saturday for four years. I was dying of shame.
I think I stopped wetting the bed just after I stopped the dancing lessons. Funny that!
Making friends always seemed tough, and at some point actually became a subconscious choice. “Nobody wants me anyway!”.
As I grew into a teenager and young man I was surrounded by people who were having the most amazing fun. I was seemingly in the middle of it all, but actually felt disconnected from everyone by then.
I was surrounded by acquaintances, but no friends I felt I could rely on. I had built a wall around myself that Donald Trump would be proud of. I had at some point decided I was lonely, and that was that. My subconscious behaviour ensured it was always true. TWEET THIS!
It was even worse with girls I fancied. I fell in love at fifteen but she preferred my mate. I climbed back behind my wall, ate some more shame, and hid some more of my light. I fell in love again at seventeen. She preferred my mate (the same one!). More loneliness, more shame. There were plenty more broken hearts after that too, some a lot worse, others not so much.
I watched my mum struggle so much when I was a kid, and I swore there was no way I would ever do that.
I eventually discovered, at age twenty-eight, that there was a difference between a positive and negative attitude. I didn’t achieve a positive attitude. I just became aware there was such a thing. I set about, “making a success of myself.” But all I did was struggle, just the same as mum had.
Nobody worked as hard as I did. But it wasn’t effective action. It wasn’t goal-orientated, results-based action. It was hamster wheel action. Banging your head on a brick wall action.
I finally answered a calling and became a hypnotherapist in 2001. This brought much of my pain to the surface, and I began a magnificent healing journey that gradually introduced me to some much needed love and joy.
But business success continued to evade me. I was a really good hypnotherapist. I have helped hundreds of clients live happier lives, yet couldn’t stop struggling myself.
In all the decades I tried unsuccessfully to be successful I was completely stymied by the shame of NOT being successful.
I can promise you one thing above all else. It doesn’t matter what it is you want, if you feel shame for where you are – you will NEVER get to where you want to be. SHARE THIS!
Find your shame, root it out and heal it. If I had looked at my own shame almost three decades ago my healing would have been so much quicker and easier.
And if I had somebody in my life fifty years ago who could have explained to a six –year-old that what he felt was OK and that ALL feelings are valid, I would have avoided a lot of the shame altogether. Then who knows how different it would have been?
Instead, I have spent most of my life feeling worthless. At the deepest level I have felt I was a waste of space, unworthy, not good enough, bad, useless, unwanted and unlovable. I was even told as a child that I have “a lazy brain,” that “I’ll never amount to anything,” and “You’re no good” – and I believed all of it.
On the surface I have always been a cheerful, friendly person, but beneath that I felt such shame at being me that I couldn’t hold my head up high in ANY situation. I hated everything about myself. That shame produced self-sabotaging behaviour that kept me utterly paralysed in the face of everything that was ever important to me.
No wonder I could never get anything I wanted!
Yet since that fateful day in January 1989 when I discovered there was a positive attitude as well as a negative one, I have read every self-help book I could find, I have listened to tape sets and CD’s, I have watched films. I have had therapy. I have healed and healed and then healed some more. I have relentlessly pushed towards where I want to be. Albeit at a snail’s pace!
But it has only ever been my own shame that I have being pushing against. No mysterious outer force. Just me standing in my own way.
None of those things I felt about myself are – or ever were – true!
THE NEW ME!
In fact, it turns out that I am a beautiful, loving, lovable person. How about that? All my amazing uniqueness was hidden away beneath an all powerful shame that forced me to believe the lies I told myself.
Nowadays I am very happy. Really, deep down contented happy. With whom I am, with whom I’ve been and with where I am in the world. And the more I look my shame in the eye, talk about it and share it, the more I am able to embrace the amazing me that has been hidden for so long. SHARE THIS!
This has been the most liberating piece I have ever written. I sincerely hope that by sharing my shame in this way, it will encourage you to step out from yours.
John Freeman creates Unique Guided Visualisation Recordings that have the power to change feelings. He is also the author of Vivid Visualisation: Success without Stress!
He is committed to helping people make friends with their subconscious. You can find out more about his work by going to Vivid Visualisation. He lives very happily (and successfully) in Andalucia, Spain with his wife of 13 years and their beautiful little dog, Peggy.