After every launch, event, workshop (every corporate or business birth, basically) we go through a low period. The adrenaline goes, the excitement washes off and we're left naked, open, raw, exposed to a crowd of one or thousands, vulnerable and real.
That's when our ego (or as Layla Saad cleverly calls it: SHEgo) charges up, taking one swing after another, pushing just the right bottoms to get us to shut up, to go small, to stay confused and purposeless. To forget why did we raised ourselves, why did we spoke at all. At least for me, that's ALWAYS the case.
So, on the Sunday following my first Sacred Womanhood Tribe meeting I was crushed. Ironically, starting these new program with a focus on Vulnerability meant I basically spent 1 hour talking about my eating disorder, my weight and body acceptance issues and, prepare to be amazed, my extensive plastic surgery (before you wonder: tummy tuck and breast enhancement) and how all of these experiences are shaped by vulnerability and my fear of not belonging, by how much I worked on altering myself (both physically and emotionally) to fit into a mold made for me by society and a culture I thought was my cage.
Once the buzz of a Saturday connecting with powerful and beautiful souls, once the noise of their prayers joined with mines had vanished and my mind started to be quiet, I felt slowly and steadily full of shame and regret. “I shouldn’t have said so much” I started to think. “How will the see me know now that they know?” My thoughts continued and grew and within hours I was feeling it hard.
The funny thing is that I KNEW this was going to happen. I knew it because it was always the same for me, so much that even #MrB asked me about it. But knowing what was coming didn’t make this process any easier or painless. It only gave me a little awareness.
Sunday morning, full of shame and darkness inside, as I was getting dressed to drive Matt to school, I started pinching and poking at myself. “I have gained weight” I started thinking. As I kept going through my closet time and time again in search for anything that could cover my body, I looked at myself and finally said: “I feel fat”
This was the turning point.
You want to know why? Because this was it. THAT phrase was the key. Not only because you can’t FEEL fat. Fat is NOT a feeling. Fat isn’t even a status. Fat can be many things (let’s face it, our society loves to use it to destroy lives and careers every day, right?) but it isn’t a feeling at all… and you can only feel feelings.
But, moreover, I know this phrase all too well. You see, after over 2 decades dancing around with shame and humiliation about how I looked, ‘I’m feeling fat’ is the queue I give myself when I’m feeling broken, when I’m feeling exposed and vulnerable, when my SHEgo feels too bare and unprotected and she wants to keep me safe, small and quiet.
So, I chose comfy clothes, kept my shoes flat, decided to skip the makeup and bold accessories and went into the world, “feeling” fat but pushing through it, going against the (dis)comfort zone I left a while back but go back to every so often. I went out and dared the voice in my head, my SHEgo, my old stories and inner lies and every part of me to continued through this, to move forward with my plans and ideas, to keep doing what I’m meant to… even when I’m scared.
This was it and I’m SO happy to have it all done and over with at this time in the year. Because 2017 is MY year, with or without pain, shame and sadness.
Do you have these issues too? Do you have the oh-shit moments after big exposure or rawness? If yes, trust me… You’re not alone. I know many of us Sacred Women go through it with every business births, because our SHEgos want to keep us safe and protected, because sadly society has programed us to make ourselves small and silent, to stay numb and purposeless.
But we must go forward. We must charge up, push through the discomfort and pain, through the fear and shame and dare to shine our truths, to be ourselves and work our magic, to find our purpose and make them our realities, to connect and nourish our tribes and ourselves, to change the world on our own terms.
Easier said than done? You bet it is. However, you’re not alone in this path, and here are my top 5 steps to recover from post-exposure shame so you can go back to do what you love:
- Discover your triggers so you can see it coming – Let’s face it, it’s easier to know you’re in danger zone when there are clear signs, right?
- With that clear, learn to recognize your own Sham-tra (Shame-Mantra) – We all have it, the sooner you know which one if yours, the best!
- Be kinder to yourself in the aftermath of a shame attac – Take it easy, breath, repeat your positive mantras and know you’re more than your old stories.
- Listen to the shame, allow it to exist, don’t fight it (trust me, is pointless) and then move on.
- Dare some more – Push through the fear and discomfort and DARE. Dare to do what you love doing, dare to expose yourself more if that serves your purpose, dare to retreat a bit longer if that’s what your soul needs. Define what is it that you need to do and go for it. This is YOUR journey.
That’s it. It has been a tough process and, after 2 weeks or so, I’m still healing and recovering. I have taken big steps forward and some others back, but, hey, that’s life, right? But anyway, I’m still moving and that’s all it matters.
Hope this helps loads and, if you need to, send me a note, I would LOVE to be able to support a sister out on her own shame journey.