By Marla Keller
Have you had hopes and dreams that were shattered, causing you to believe that it’s not okay to ask for more in life? Has life deposited hope and peace into your heart (love/acceptance), or has it brought only turmoil and pain (fear/shame)?
How often do you experience a sense that there is a foundation of joy, peace, empowerment and love that you can live into consistently? This may be your honest desire - but it can turn into the loss of hope and tranquility when you seek love and acceptance (approval) through work, food, mind-altering substances, service, busyness, relationships, or religion.
Emptiness like this can be palpable with every breath you take, and your foundation of shame brings you more abandonment, isolation and bitterness. Your shame also deposits you on the floor in a heap of solitude and fear.
Why solitude? Because you're tired of being what everyone expects you to be, so you have separated yourself from everything. And why the fear? Because you know 'where your place is' in the world. If you dare to venture down new paths, you might suffer more heart wrenching rejection and pain. And that shame might be exposed to those around you, as in "if they really knew me…”
Is it time for you to step down off your faulty, cracked, broken foundation and create a beautiful new foundation of LOVE (peace, joy, empowerment, humility)?
1. Stop 'shoulding' on yourself and others
According to Brene Brown, when we think or verbalize the word should, it always comes from a place of shame. Shame is the secret hiding behind most all broken behavior in our lives.
Brene says, “There's a huge difference between shame and guilt. And here's what you need to know. Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders. And here's what you even need to know more. Guilt, inversely correlated with those things. The ability to hold something we've done or failed to do up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It's uncomfortable, but it's adaptive.”
What does releasing 'should' look like? Every time you are tempted to start a sentence with “I should” or “I shouldn’t,” cancel it out and replace it with a positive expression of your desire. Instead of saying, “I should be a better mom” say “I desire to be a better mom.” It’s that simple!
2. Practice mindfulness
Start observing your thoughts from a distance, without judging those thoughts as being good or bad. Consistently check in with your thoughts to see what’s going on in that brain of yours, without you even being aware of it. This is an amazing practice that will allow healing for yourself and for the relationships around you.
3. Allow your hope to grow
“What you focus on expands. So focus on what you want, not what you do not want.” ...Esther Jno-Charles
Focus on your hopes, and release your fears.