How to "Unshame" Yourself
Warning: This post contains adult language.
Another warning: I didn’t edit this, so there may be typos.
Is that even a word? Nope, nope it’s not. But fuck it.
I feel really unfiltered right now.
Maybe it’s the large coffee I’m currently drinking, or the fact that I’m still in work clothes at 7:17pm in a Starbucks about 30 minutes from my house.
Maybe it’s because I’m going on vacation this Saturday so I’m mentally checking out.
Maybe it’s because some days, I give less fucks than others.
Today is one of those days.
It’s not a reckless, impulsive type of fucklessness,
But rather a reckoning of self, a wave of courage, a moment of clarity.
I just pulled up a journal entry I had typed up at the end of July.
July was a tough month.
My ex and I broke up, I moved into a new apartment without our dog, I struggled to maintain presence and empathy for people I came into contact with at work, and oh yeah, it was the middle of summer and I thought I should have been on a beach somewhere, reveling in my pristine life.
I cried on the floor of my empty apartment.
I wailed in therapy, angry at myself and my decisions and my world.
I felt the intensity of grief, but also the awakening of the warrior that is, and always has been, inside of me; laying dormant during peace, and waking up for the fight when I’m in pain.
The first part of this journal entry that struck me was,
“I wanna write for myself because I know it’s super important to, but I almost don’t know how to not write for other people. Like, I want to write for my website but it feels weird now; I feel like I’ve been shamed for what I did with my website even though I reached so many people and it made me feel alive and purpose. Was I just seeking validation from it? I think that was a byproduct but by no means do I think that was all. I need to really lean into this concept of living my most authentic truth and not jeopardizing myself, my spirit, my voice, for anyone.”
Go Hannah, go! I am so fucking proud of my past self.
I remember really struggling with this concept. Granted, it was only 6 months ago. I was in a place of consistently second-guessing my gut, questioning my thoughts and feelings, and doubting my intuition. I was so much more caught up in what others thought about my truth than what I thought about my truth.
Writing has been the best exercise for me to unshame myself.
I’ll come back to that after I go on a tangent of some sort.
I continued with, while alluding to a vice I was seeking,
“I just hear Wendy [my therapist] in my head being like, “that’s a drug for you and it’s a means to seek a high and distract yourself” which is like yea okay I get it but I’m also like I’M FUCKING 27 YEARS OLD CAN’T I JUST LIVE? But I know the answer to that. No, no I can’t. Because my truth is louder than any seeking. My truth is louder than any defect/wound/impulse. And while I resent that right now, I’m grateful for it.”
I’m so glad I’ve strayed away from my old mentality of “I was so sick back then, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just acting out, I resent my past self, etc etc.” Because none of that is true!
Since day one, from my dramatic exit from the womb, I have simply been doing the best I could with what I had.
I wouldn’t look at a child that was raised by feral cats and say, “wow, that kid is so sick and maladjusted.” I would likely take their context into consideration and try to meet that kid at the level of his needs. He was doing the best he could. He will always do the best he can.
I can’t look at someone in active addiction and think,
“he should probably just stop doing that.”
THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS
(Saying it louder of the people in the back who aren’t educated about addiction).
Or someone who has clinical depression and say, “have you tried not being sad?”
(People really say that, by the way. That’s not empathy).
We cultivate empathy. Compassion. Understanding.
I hope we do, at least.
I try to.
So why haven’t I always done that for myself? Specifically, when looking at my past self?
I originally gleaned this insight from Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements,” a book I allude to constantly at work and in my personal life. I even got “remember the four” tattooed on my arm in French while in Paris with my ex and his sister almost exactly a year ago.
And I don’t regret it!
The fourth agreement is, “always do your best.” Ruiz goes on to explain that sometimes our best is 20%, 60%, 100%, and so on. All I can do is the best I can at any given moment. And sometimes, my best isn’t going to be that great. But if I take my best into context – going through a breakup, struggling to self-actualize, environmental factors, internal factors, etc., I am always simply doing my best.
I used to read past journal entries and scoff. Laugh at my former, more naïve self.
But how shaming is that?!
I don’t want to shame my past self.
I don’t want to shame my current self.
And I sure as fuck don’t want to shame my future self.
We grow up with shame narratives from the jump.
Not good enough, pretty enough, tall enough, successful enough, athletic enough, and so on.
It’s one thing to pursue goals and strive for our ideals, it’s another to live in shame and self-doubt. That’s not something I want to sign up for. Not now, not ever.
In that same journal entry, I remark,
“Therapy is hard because it forces me to look at this stuff and I struggle with straddling the line between self compassion/accountability, and living the way I want to/self will run riot.”
Isn’t that part of growing up?
None of us get the handbook on how to mature with grace and dignity.
None of us are truly taught that we can’t shame ourselves into growth, but that we can absolutely love and nurture ourselves into growth.
I can’t truly unshame myself until I forgive my past self.
I can’t unshame my past self until I practice that same empathy and compassion I would grant to any sick person, any friend, any loved one.
Essentially, we all just need to unfuck ourselves.
Not only will it set us up for more self-love and self-efficacy moving forward, but it will ease a fucking mammoth of a burden that we’ve been carrying for our entire lives.
I genuinely want to stand up and yell “UNFUCK YOURSELVES” in this Starbucks right now.
But I won’t, because out of context, that would be a little much.
But I challenge all of you to try it,
You are worthy of love, compassion, forgiveness, closure, and peace.
You are enough.
You are reading this now,
After all of the tangents and harsh language,
Because something in you is drawn to this kind of writing.
Something in you is seeking:
Seeking an answer, a truth, an experience that you want to connect to.
Connect to yourself.
I need to stop saying that now, but I can’t.
I’m really into it.
Happy New Year, my loves.