What the Voice of Shame Says
This is your small life. This is what your decisions have created and this is all that you get.
You see other people’s lives and they look full. But those other people haven’t made the decisions you’ve made.
Those other people also are too good to be in your life.
Some of them are supposed to love you. Family. Church people. They try to love you at times. They really try to love you.
But they eventually won’t. You are too much work. Too much disappointment.
It’s one wrong text message.
One tone you didn’t mean to speak in.
One decision you made for yourself but that person gave you a look.
One conversation you wonder if you said too much.
It’s a text unanswered that sends your mind wandering.
Why can’t an unanswered text be an unanswered text because the one is busy? Or sleeping? Or on a 24-hour break from his smartphone? Why does the unanswered text have to be about what’s wrong with me?
That person who gave you the look maybe it wasn’t directed at me. Maybe they had an itch. Or stomach discomfort. Why can’t I even be able to discern what that look is? Why does any odd look at me trigger the shame I feel pressing against my chest?
Why does everything in my life feel so hard for me?
Self-doubt. Questioning. Analyzing. Overthinking.
It’s the waiting for people to leave me.
It’s sabotaging something before it even begins.
It’s living without expectations.
Why would anything good happen to me?
It’s having something good happen to me. But I believe I don’t deserve it so I end it. I create a fight to sever the relationship. I don’t finish the job assignment so I get myself fired.
Better I wreck it before life wrecks it.
Because life is always wrecking things for me.
Is life really doing that? I cannot get my bad decisions out of my head to give life that much credit.
I have ruined my life. This is all that I get.
It’s the nights that keep me up tossing and turning. Wondering why I can’t have love. Wondering why I can’t have success. Wondering why God is so far away and is not personal to me as I’ve heard in so many stories from the people in my life.
It’s in those night moments when I feel the possibility of what my life could be. It haunts me because at that moment I want to believe that I can have that life. That I am worthy of who say they love me. That maybe tomorrow could be the first day of a normal life.
But then I wake up and I already know that I am a failure. The hole I got myself into is so large that I don’t want to try today.
So I keep my expectations low. I do my best to not be seen.
If someone sees me, I will only disappoint them eventually.
When I haven’t heard from someone in a while, I know why. They found out who I am. I have disappointed them. Even though realistically they have no reason to be. But surely they are. I have the list inside my head.
I apologize often. For things I don’t need to apologize for. I just do. But maybe now this person won’t leave me.
But they still will. They can see the fraud that I am. Eventually they will get tired of the fraud that I am.
I am so tired performing all of the time just to keep these people in my life.
I have people who say they love me but I doubt them. These just aren’t random people. They are people who have visited me while I was incarcerated. They can’t really love me.
So I push people away who I really want to stay. Are desperate to have stay.
A good person like that really can’t like a bad person like me. I’m not good for them anyway. I’ll stain them. I’ll drag them away. So it is best that I push them away.
Even though I don’t want to. I want these people to love me and say to me, “You are okay.”
I want to believe that if I could hear those words everything will shift for me. If only…
Then I realize I have heard those words and I don’t believe them to be true. Even if someone tells me those words with tears in her eyes. Those words aren’t true for me and they aren’t going to change my life.
Because I know the truth of me and I am not okay.
I feel more shame for even wanting to hear those words. Why can’t my small world be enough? Why can’t the protective world I created be enough for me?
Why do I think I might get to live some sort of normal life?
For two weeks I try. I try to live normal. I try to meet expectations. I try to believe that people really want me around. That maybe these people really do like me. That maybe their words are true about me.
I perform again for two weeks. Really really really trying.
Then something random happens and I know this life I tried to live will never be mine.
It is better for everyone that I not be seen.
. . . . . . .
Shame is your story stealer lying to you that you are all these small things.
Shame is what you know. Shame is your comfort.
Because to believe the truth about you is scary. Risky. Vulnerable.
Shame keeps you comfortable in your misery.
Shame tells you that this is all you get out of your life.
Shame tells you that you are unloveable.
But if you dare to see your life you’ll realize the people who matter haven’t gone anywhere.
And that God is personal.
(photo credit: Misho Gugulashvili, Pexels.com)
Read the book
A small book about being the people that hurting people need.
“This is the book that I wish I had had for people in my life that have suffered and needed me to be that compassionate friend. This is the book that I wish others in my life had read before they dismissed my pain, or compared it to theirs, or stumbled horribly through trying to lessen my pain because it was actually really about THEM not feeling comfortable with it.”
Order here: https://bravester.com/new-book-from-bravester/
Trackbacks & Pingbacks
[…] small group? This team? You must have this in your life to live with bravery. Find this safe place. Shame thrives in secrecy. Shame will not hold you back when you can share it in your safe […]
[…] shame puts up a second wall. This is one we put up ourselves. This is the wall we hide behind. This is the wall we use to keep people away. To keep Jesus away. We have lots of excuses for this […]
[…] many adults still resemble the 12-year old that they were. Shame starts in middle […]
[…] a lot of anger. I ask you to stop both of those patterns right now. I never want to introduce more shame to […]
[…] does shame cause you to armor […]
[…] right? Now you can add regret and shame to your loneliness. All those emotions mix together into one soup which makes one’s life quite a […]
[…] is a liar. Shame distorts the truth. Shame survives by convincing you that you are alone. (Read that voice here.) And that God hates you. Or is at least distant to you. Or is meh towards […]